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Vacation – Not for the faint of heart

Yes, it’s been a bit since my last post. We flew off to Maui two days after the kids got out of school. I had so been looking forward to this trip, but I knew it would be fraught with its own issues. Pulling E-man away from home, completely out of routine, with no set schedule….just asking for disaster. And we did have our disasters. There were a few times in the past nine days I was mentally blogging about how horrible it is to travel with an autistic child. But today, now that we’re home, I know it wasn’t as horrible as those few moments felt. Granted, I had my own mother of all meltdowns. I am so thankful my Daddy was there to lend a shoulder for my tears. In real life, he lives six hours away. I don’t often get to lean on him. It was a relief to have him there (note to self….buy waterproof mascara for me, and a new white t-shirt for Daddy) when my wheels completely fell off.

Traveling with an autistic child is challenging. I think we’re getting better at it, for the most part. We worked out a deal with him that as long as he did something with us at some point during the day, he could have some “non-social time.” He ended up with probably two completely non-social days, and he had two grand meltdowns of his own. He hates being away from home. He hates not having a schedule. He is not a fan of outdoor activities. He obsessed about getting or having certain toys, gifts, foods. I know we had our share of those looks from people who have no idea what we face. But we also had some amazing moments…times when he connected with family, times when he made us laugh belly-aching laughs, times when he connected with the world around him in his way, times when he surprised me completely. Right now, I refuse to honor our bad moments by outlining them in detail. I won’t let them take away from what was a fabulous family vacation.

I am tired. It is rather exhausting to travel, much less with three children, and even less with a child who has higher needs. But I am rejuvenated at the same time. I cannot say I didn’t have my freakouts. I cannot say I didn’t have my moments when I wanted to run away. I cannot say I didn’t have my  moments when I begged God once again to know “Why us? Why him?”  I cannot say I handled it all as perfectly as I would wish. But we did it. It doesn’t look like the Hawaiian vacation of families with neuro-normal children, but it is ours. Nothing can take away the incredible sights we saw, the cool things we did, and the amazing memories we made.

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