The Family that Plays Together

When you blend a family of 6 with special needs ranging from heart defects to ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, OCD, impulsivity control, executive function deficiencies, divorce and Eating Disorders, you can have some very intense dynamics from time to time. While there’s no end to the depth and breadth of our “conditions”, the  DSM-5 really has no diagnosis for what we are, an average American family.

We have found some things work for our family (staying active, for one) and what doesn’t (Electronics and sleepover and sugar… OH MY!). In June,  we designed a summer trip with this in mind and came up with the perfect escape: A RV Trip to the Grand Canyon. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

Nature? Check 
A compact pod that takes 7 minutes to clean top to bottom? I’m in.

The kids were on board and very excited but there was a twist that we were afraid might not go over so well: no electronics. We all know how integrated technology has become in our lives, even more so for families where assisted technology is an essential tool for communicating with youngsters. I was determined to get to the roots of who we are, as human animals, in one of the few untouched areas protected from urban sprawl.

We started our trip in Las Vegas, and with its glitz and lights, it really whet our appetites for serenity and sunsets.  There was the expected bickering about who is breathing whose air and whose turn it was to go first this round of the Magic: The Gathering card game.

What I didn’t expect was that over the course of this week, four needy kids transformed into whole, curious, loving, supportive, young people and grew as a family.

While I can say that it has never been my dream to hang out in a hot RV, the only female, with 4 young boys and their accompanying smells and noises for a period of 8 days, after watching these remarkable creatures run free, meet challenges and thrive, I can’t wait for our trip next year.


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