Wednesday, May 19, 2021

We are not a fire pit family and we are still pretty great

Like many people, we got a pandemic fire pit last spring. It's a pretty round hammered copper one, and I even bought concrete pavers for it to rest on and a cover to keep out leaves and dirt. It fit nicely in the corner of our backyard by the shed, and a neighbor who was moving gave us some chairs to put around it. Cozy, that it is. 

I think we've used it twice. Maybe three times? I'm not sure. Turns out we are not much of a fire pit family, as much as I'd like to fantasize that we are. Sabrina, Dave and I would happily sit around it and bask in its warmth. Ben, not so much (he's not one to sit in one place for more than 20 seconds). Max, even more not so much: He just doesn't care for it. It did come in handy during Sabrina's Sweet Sixteen in January, though.

I've certainly had plenty of other stuff to ponder throughout the pandemic other than the fact that we are not a fire pit family. Like: We also didn't get a pandemic puppy or even a pandemic goldfish or purchase a pandemic PlayStation5. Which makes me and Dave big old pandemic party poopers, I guess? 

Over the years, I've had the occasional pang of regret about the family that we weren't, especially during Max's early years when we didn't go to restaurants, movies or shows together because Max had sensory issues and couldn't handle the din, noise and hustle and bustle. There was one exception: Manny's Texas Wieners, a greasy-spoon cafe near the house that Max tolerated going as long as we got the table all the way in the back, by the bathroom. A.k.a. fine dining at its best.

While Max grew out of most of his sensory issues, we've never been a family who could hike together. Or do activities like Escape Rooms or game night or puzzles together. Or go shopping together (Max gets bored, unless it's Costco and he and Dave would zoom around trying the samples, womp womp, no more.) Often, we split up to do activities—Max roams around with Dave (his BFF) or Dave will take both boys to yoga at his sister's studio. Or I'll take Ben on a playdate. Or I'll go somewhere with Sabrina and Ben. 

Mostly, I've accepted that we are our own kind of awesome family, cookie-cutter version of togetherness be damned. We have plenty of fun (and I'm not talking about the kajillion hours of TV we've watched this past year). We are a family that likes going to local parks, pools, amusement parks and boardwalks. We get a kick out of finding new sushi restaurants to try. Once in a while, we bike together. As often as possible, we travel—last summer we went RV-ing, which was superfun.

It's been a chilly spring, and the fire pit has been sort of taunting me. I remind myself that it all comes down to the same thing I've learned about raising a child with disabilities:

Life may not be what you imagined, but it can still be great.


  1. You may not be a fire pit family but you have done so many amazing and fun things together. Like the RV roadtrip last summer, which still seems so cool when you bring it up. Family vacation goals for sure!

    I definitely find that to be the case with our family. Not quite what we expected and wished for but it also ends up being more or different than we could’ve wished for at the same time. Life is always full of surprises.

  2. This hit my heart in a different way. Thank you so much for your posts. They keep me sane. Make me cry and remind me that we are not alone. Thank you.


Thanks for sharing!

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