by Colleen Berlingieri
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what is means to me!…”
As my plane slowly descended onto the runway at Detroit Airport, I found myself humming this Motown classic. I was returning from a rare long weekend in Nashville with my husband and NO KIDS!
As I looked out the window of the plane, the song’s chorus kept repeating in my head. I closed my eyes—took a deep breath—and pictured myself on stage rocking a sequins dress and belting out the tunes. And just like that, I was the Queen of Soul, but my version went something like this:
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB
Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)….
I smiled to myself and pushed up my seat tray – it was no small feat, but I had done it. I had gone away with my husband for three whole days!
It was two weeks before D-Day and to get away I had to figure out what to do with my kids. The planning would be intense, strategic and executed with military precision.
The mission included: two sleepovers, a trip to the grocery store, a hair appointment, a church run and a dinner out. The dog had to be fed and exercised, homework had to be done and showers had to be taken.
The assignment called for seasoned professionals, so I called in the BIG GUNS and assembled my team:
Michelle – my go to girl in Michigan. She is a great friend, has 24 years of experience as a Mom and is a dog person.
Kathy O. – AKA Michelle’s Mom and Special Needs Grandma extraordinaire. Noni doesn’t take any nonsense and my boys know it.
Next up is my neighbor Darcy – Friend. Comrade. Logistically, she’s closest to the action and could be called in for backup at a moment’s notice.
And finally, Rachael – Sweet Rachael. Young. Energetic. Bold. Barely 5 ft. tall, but her skills as a community support worker tower over the brightest and the best in her field.
And there I had it – the ultimate respite A-Team.
Strategic Planning and Sabotage
What followed was a rapid-fire volley of texts, a dozen lists, and more than a few second thoughts. At times, I found myself sabotaging my own mission. I would say things like, “Is this even worth it?” or “It feels like an act of congress coordinating all of this just to go away for three measly days.” And each time I faltered my A-Team kept encouraging me with, “Just go” and “You deserve a break.”
Finally the day of departure arrived:
- Emergency Phone Numbers? Check.
- Kids’ Meds? Check.
- My Meds? Double Check!
I am here to tell you that when D-Day arrived I boarded the plane and didn’t look back! In Nashville my husband and I ate gelato, while strolling around the gardens at the Opryland Hotel; listened to blues at BB King’s Blues Club; and enjoyed bluegrass gospel, while eating a gourmet picnic lunch at a vineyard in Arrington.
We had a blast! The weekend was a success and everyone (including the dog) had a pulse when we returned home.
So, fellow sojourners – who’s your A-Team? Have you made time lately for a little
I would love to hear about your latest mission and encourage you to GO FOR IT!
That’s it for now. Wannabe Queen of Soul – Out!
Colleen Berlingieri is a Mom, & Disability Advocate . She lives in Plymouth Michigan with her husband Tony, her two sons, (Geo & Jake), & their rescue dog Andi. Their family owns the FATWHEELS brand that makes adaptive training wheels that enable individuals with balance issues to ride a typical bike. Colleen’s dedication to raising her family & empowering individuals with disabilities is her life’s work and the driving force behind her company & all that she does .