Spring has finally arrived here in upstate New York and one of our favorite spring and summertime activities is to have cook outs!

We usually have our barbecues at home rather than at an outdoor spot away from home because our daughter Bethany, who has special needs is just not an ‘outdoorsy’ kind of a girl!

Anytime we've tried to have picnics in the park, she's refused to get out of the car or participate in any way, shape, or form.

She even refused to eat anything, preferring instead to lie down in the car, looking pitiful and forlorn while asking every five minutes if it's time to go home yet.

Despite our past failures however, this Memorial Day we are determined to give a picnic in the park with Bethany one more try!

We wanted to take Bethany, our son Jeremiah and our daughter Rachel to meet up with our other daughter, Rebekah and her husband, William for a cookout at a park near their house.

Bethany loves Rebekah and William so much!

She never passes up a chance to hang out with them at their house, so we thought our outdoor BBQ plan just might work this year!

However, we knew we couldn't tell her ahead of time that we were actually going to be meeting them at the park instead of at their house - if she knew that, she probably would have refused to get in the car and even go at all.

Meeting at Rebekah's house first was not a good idea either, because if we did that, Bethany would have wanted to watch two Land Before Time movies, play Candy Land, and eat four Taco Bell tacos (her usual ritual when visiting Rebekah and William!)

This would have taken hours, after which she most likely would have insisted on going home when she was done and skip going to the park altogether.

So my husband and I weighed up the pros and cons and considered the implications of not telling Bethany of our true destination.

In the end we decided to just tell her that we were going to visit Rebekah and William.

Our plan of not telling her we were going to visit them at the park could have backfired on us and caused a major meltdown, but we felt it was worth the risk.

We also decided to ask Bethany's personal assistant, Kristin, to join us.

That way Kristin could drive Bethany home just in case she insisted that she absolutely must go home earlier than the rest of us wanted to.

When the big day finally arrived, Bethany hopped right into Kristin's car and off they drove. The rest of us followed in our car.

Bethany was a little disgruntled when we arrived at the park because she had been expecting to go to Rebekah and William's house and they weren't at the park yet.

But once they arrived, she was happy as a clam... for about an hour!

She helped prepare the veggie shish-kabobs, played ball with William, wore Rebekah's necklace for a while, and sat on the hammock.

Then she was ready to go home!

She climbed back into her assistant's car and waited there until Kristin quickly ate her meal and then the two of then went home while the rest of us remained behind and enjoyed more time together!

Even though we were a teensy bit deceitful and sneaky in our approach to getting Bethany to attend our picnic get together, I do not regret it.

Everyone was able to enjoy the day in their own way and it turned out to be a wonderful day for all! 

Bethany got to visit her beloved sister and brother-in-law. She experienced something new and discovered that she actually enjoyed being outside!

And because Bethany's assistant was able to take her home, her brothers and sisters didn't have their time together cut short by having to leave earlier than they wanted to.

A successful outing and a win-win situation for all!

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