Monday, August 8, 2011

"Why can't I just be normal?"

After walking across the park in the 100 degree heat, we finally reach the restaurant where we chose to have lunch.  Blue tried to plan every aspect of our trip to Sea World, including where we would eat.  We purposefully wait beyond the lunch hour in hopes to avoid the crowd.  It is 3 p.m. when we walk into find that we indeed had not missed the crowd.  "This place reminds me of the cafeteria at school," he says.  This is the first clue -not good.  "And it doesn't look anything like it did on the website!"

I stand in line while he and Dad stake out a table.  The one Dad  finds open is a part of long table in the middle of the room that we would have to share with other families -loud families! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

Blue steps through the crowded line crossing in front of people with a huge frown on his face, not saying excuse me to anyone.  "I don't want to eat here!  We have to go!" he commands.  I explain that the park is full today and anywhere we go is going to be crowded.  That's a part of being at an amusement park.  "But I don't like the table where dad is sitting.  It's dirty and there's too many people!"  I tell him to try to find another more private table while I wait in line.  I can see him getting more and more agitated and frustrated from across the room.  His dad doesn't seemed to be phased. 

Eventually, Dad does scope out a private table by the window where we end up eating our overpriced, less than mediocre food and drinks. Our plates are covered with napkins to keep the flies away in-between bites.  This is not a 'happy meal'.

As we walk away, with sadness in his eyes Blue says, "I thought this day was going to be perfect.  like it looked on the web site advertisements.) Why do I have to get so mad? Why can't I just be normal?" To which I reply, "Are you kidding? You're fantastic! You're are so smart and sensitive. You're a talented artist! Normal people don't change the world, but are a genius.  You will grow up and change the world to make it a better place!" He looks at me and gives me a half smile. I hope he half believed me.

We spend a total of 11 hours at Sea World in 100 degree plus heat!  All I can say is that I love my son! I love my son!  I love my son!

By the end of the day, we are crippled, aching from head to toe and exhausted!  After the last "Shamoo @ Night" show...he finally looses it!  We have meltdown central right there in the midst of the crowd.

We left our older son at home on this trip so that Blue could be the center of attention and have things his way.  I'm sure it helped cut down on the bickering and disagreements.  However, I am still convinced that the term Family Vacation is definitely an oxymoron.

Days later we meet with his therapist who tells us we have to try to plan not to go to, loud, dirty, overcrowded, overstimulating restaurants. Maybe we should have packed a lunch, or even left the park to go somewhere to take a break.  This was actually what I wanted to do, but I couldn't convince Blue that we could leave the park and come back.  "That doesn't make any sense!" he said.

Each challenging experience is an opportunity to learn.  We have to continually remind ourselves and our son, that this is not a perfect world.  In fact, it's far from it. We are not the family in the advertisements smiling and having a great time. We are the family just trying to get through the day without killing each other.

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  1. "I hope he half believed me."

    I hope so too. He sounds like a wonderful kid and with that big heart of his (and his intelligence), he will definitely be changing the world around him. Thanks for posting this story.

  2. A few things I have seen "normal" kids do in the past which leads me to agree that Blue is BLESSED!
    1. Child sits and stares during the high-stakes standardized test in class, and upon finishing, child says, "When are we taking the big state test?"
    2. Child sits in front of class, giving the teacher 100% attention while also picking his nose and sharing the "goods" on the desk next to him. If only that child had ADHD the boogers would've been forgotten! LOL!
    3. Child says when looking up at the afternoon sky and seeing the moon..."Wow, what is that?"

    Karen, we just have to be thankful and then laugh and smile!

  3. Oh, honey, we're not the family in the advertisements, either! When my son was little, I had every trip done up on a Boardmaker picture schedule and never even offered activities that I knew we couldn't handle. He turns 13 the week after next, and to this day, he's never been to an amusement park. I'm so dreading his 8th-grade class trip to King's Dominion this spring! There's only so much that flexibility training can do for him...

    And though my daughter isn't on the spectrum, she has her own set of issues. She's 10-1/2, and TODAY was the first time we've ever made it to the mall (and home again) successfully!