Monday, September 10, 2012

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Earning The Merit Badge

The Boy Scout Motto is Be Prepared. It's short, it's sweet, it's to the point. And, to be quite honest, should be the motto for every parent- whether special needs are involved or not. I've had a lot of reason to think about being prepared in the last few months, with various things going on. And I just can't stop thinking of all the ways in which I lack preparation. I don't think I'm quite ready to earn that merit badge.

This summer, there were wildfires. We scrambled around to get laundry done, gather medications and important documents, and really hoped we wouldn't have to evacuate. We didn't, thankfully, because we only had enough gas in the car to go about 4.2 miles down the road. We were not prepared. I had not thought ahead and purchased foods Logan could eat in the event of an evacuation. After all, this is civilization! The grocery store will be open in the morning, right?!  I let his epi-pen get to the end of  the expiration month before calling to renew the prescription (last week).

We teach our monsters to think ahead, to anticipate circumstances. And yet, here I am, the hypocritical Momma that I am, caught with my proverbial pants down. So, this morning I asked all of YOU, through facebook and twitter, what things you would have to have in the event of an emergency. Here are some of the responses:

  • external battery for iPad/iPod
  • allergy friendly food, water
  • emergency meds
  • baby wipes
  • weighted blankets
  • favorite stuffed animal
  • extra underwear
  • iPad/iPod/Nook
  • names and numbers of doctors/pharmacies/therapists
It's important also that monsters know what will happen in the event of an emergency. Practice makes perfect, and you know our special needs monsters need repetition and familiarity, so start working on alternative evacuation routes from your home when there is nothing going on, plan together what will go into their grab 'n' go bag, where it will be at all times for quick access, and where to take it.

I'm not one to stir the pot and scream "THE END IS NEAR!!" while standing on a corner wearing a sandwich sign. I'm not purchasing a quanset hut somewhere in Idaho, sewing black out curtains, rationing water, or teaching my children to walk around with vintage gas masks on their faces. But, I have to say, it really puts things in perspective to look at a forest fire and hope I have everything we need, while knowing that I don't.

It's not just natural disasters that constitute an emergency. Last Monday, I went with my mother to Grand Junction, CO to get my father out of the hospital and bring him home. He had been driving a truck to deliver a load in Denver, when he became ill, had to stop and be transported via ambulance to the hospital. Grand Junction is 383 miles from home, one way. That's a lot of gas. I didn't have any funds in savings to cover the trip. It took 19 hours when it was all said and done, and none of us had a clue it would be so long and slow. We figured it out. But.. I wasn't prepared for an emergency of that kind in any way, shape, or form. Are YOU?

Don't flip out!! Do not speed to Costco and the nearest military base and start buying cases of toilet paper, water, and MREs. Do NOT rack up three grand on your Visa buying a huge ugly tent at the Army surplus store. Plan. Make lists. Know what your family needs. Prepare to prepare. Then start working on it, one task at a time. Know what you have. Know how to use what you have. Know what you need. And then, when things go nutty? Wonder of wonders.. you won't have to panic, wondering if you have enough gas to get more than 4.2 miles down the road. You won't do a mental head smack because the epi-pen expires in a week and you're being evacuated without allergy friendly foods.

Don't be the hypocritical Momma with her proverbial pants down! Earn that merit badge, people. Be prepared. Make me proud, all you "Boy Scouts"!!

Be Prepared Scroll by Boy Scout Trail via Google, checklist via Google images, vintage gas mask image by Airminded via Google

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