I Can’t

I can’t look at you right now.

I can’t let you see how I’m really feeling.

I just want to stop still for a moment.

We have stepped away from the safe location of home and the barriers are down.

We always go here, to this holiday vacation, it’s something we know.

It’s never easy, but it’s manageable with enough adults all working from the same script.

A place I usually don’t want to leave.

Now, it’s getting harder and I can’t find a moment to recharge the batteries.

I can’t do this anymore.

The meltdowns are building daily at a tumultuous speed. There is no space to breathe. To recover. To gather my thoughts.

I’m in the airport queue, surrounded by hot and sweaty people, as my PDA’er flies into a feral rage.

I’ve been bitten, slapped and spat at. She growls and pushes into standers looking by.

She swipes at me and sends my glasses crashing on the tiles.

I’m not built to be battered.

My mental state feels fragile once again.

I feel like a rag doll – she is so strong and overpowering in her mist.

My hands have been scratched and blood is piercing through.

My vision is blurry but I still can feel the heat from all the staring faces.

Stop looking at us. There is no escaping.

She can’t take it. I can’t take it.

I’m left no choice but to restrain her in a safe place.

The bags are scattered, our two passports are lying disused on the ground.

My other children have gone through passport control with their grandparents.

They are all waiting.

I can’t look.

Please make this all better.

Take it away.

We had everything planned, we used our strategies.

The unprecedented environment, the location, has taken control of any skills I had.

Her screams are guttural and her throat is scratched.

I use my voice to try to calm her.

She’s fighting against me and with a bolt of strength my knee bruises against the floor.

The people have gone.

We can’t go through until she is out of this manic state.

I see a plane back on the runway.

I want to be on it. I want a rest. I want to be alone.

But I can’t.

I have to carry on.

I try again to chant some words, soothing like a lullaby.

The space in the empty terminal is gradually helping the meltdown.

We finally attempt to recover our belongings.

They look at us, as I begin to sob, we give our passports over.

“C’est bon,” reassures the guard.

I can’t smile back at him.

He’s a stranger but I can’t pretend I’m a brave parent.

I can’t let him see me right now.

I can’t let anyone see I’m not a warrior right now.

I can’t.


  1. Sarah

    You did it though, you pulled through and both overcome the dip in the road ready for the next step whether it be a climb or a hurdle. Just remember you are braver then you think and stronger then every single on looker. Much love xx

  2. Stephs Two Girls

    There are many who have been in similar situations, I know that. You can do it you know. You’ve done so much already. The strength is there somewhere. Probably need to try and do a little less for a while though? x

  3. Tracey

    You ARE a warrior and a leader of your tribe and you have the strongest tribe I know. Hang in there, breathe, take time to cry. You ARE strong enough but take my strength if you need to right now. 💕💕

  4. Sam

    On holiday at the moment with my younger two children, one adhd and Aspergers (and suspected PDA) and the youngest is undiagnosed adhd. They’re both in their teens. The youngest is generally not a problem but her brother…. no meltdown at the Airport but we had the police out the night before we flew due to him running away. We literally didn’t know until the day we set off for Spain who would actually go on this holiday. He’s been ok here. He doesn’t involve himself with us that often and makes ungrateful comments about “not wanting to go on an excursion anyway” after we’ve paid for it and had a good time…. We’ll survive this time and probably another time in the future. I feel sad that it can’t all just be fun and a happy experience. We’re never going to be “that family” though. You don’t always feel like a warrior but you are. Xx

    1. pdaparenting

      Thank you Sam, you are so right when you say that we won’t be that family. What a stressful time you had before you even left. I hope you can manage to enjoy your time away xx

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