On the day he left I posted on facebook, "My little devil is off to Los Angeles a.k.a. Hollywood where he will be playing the part of Angel for the rest of the family." He really does behave so much better when I am not around. He saves all the ugliness and meltdowns just for me. Lucky me!
My first painting from Art Lessons With "Blue"
He is 15 now and according to American Airlines, considered to be an adult for the purpose of traveling with them. He has flown several times before -alone. I always fly him direct. I take no chances on him being able to figure out how to get from one flight to the next, or heaven forbid, if he got stuck somewhere. This time, I noted his reservation as a 15 year-old with autism traveling alone. Of course, I had to justify this with "special services" stating that he had "no behavior issues" and that he would be able to handle it if they had an emergency landing. Of course, I had no idea weather or not this was true. I would just have to trust God, American Airlines employees, and my sons ability to use his cell phone to call me if he were confused about anything.
I confess...I was desperate for him to go. Everything would have to be alright.
I wanted to be able to walk him to the gate, to see him get on the plane and for a family member to pick him up at the gate in Los Angeles. I can't imagine him finding his way down to baggage claim without getting terribly confused. Heaven forbid, if he got down there and didn't see the family member who was there to meet him.
"Why'd you have to tell them I have autism? There going to think I'm like a baby," he says.
"No they're going to think you have high-functioning autism, and they will help watch out for you and keep you from getting lost. Having a disability doesn't have to be all bad. It's allowing me to walk you to the plane." Not to mention, they let him pre-board! Nice!
So he made it there safely. My nephew Damon, was late to pick him up because of security in the busy LAX airport. Thank God they kept him at the gate until my nephew got there. He called me from his cell as soon as he got off the plane and put the American Airlines employee on the phone, who assured me that he was fine and would be at the gate with her until the family member arrived.
He spent that night with big Damon and his son, little Damon. They went to "In and Out" (his favorite California burger joint) and watched the planes land and take off. The following morning they went off to the barbershop to get haircuts. My brother Kevin picked him up from there and they spent the day together along with my nephew Karsen. Uncle Kevin took him to lunch and to Best Buy to hang out.
From there he went to my Dad's (his grandfather) spent the night and showed him how to use facebook. Yes...my dad "Hollywood" (as he is called by his friends) is 81 years oldm and he's on facebook. I no longer have to worry about all the cursing my dad does. He and my son can go neck and neck in the cursing department.
Everyone came together at my sister Sheilas house on Thanksgiving day. Red got to see all of his California cousins, aunts and uncles. He ate the meal without complaint. Last year, I spent all day cooking for him to say to me, "Do I have to eat this?"
Thanksgiving night, he finally got to see his favorite uncle, my brother Ward Jr. They have so much in common. They can talk for hours about photography, video, HD, Blu Ray and all things electronic. He was looking forward to doing some video editing projects with his uncle.
On Friday, Uncle Ward, and big Damon took him to the "Los Angeles Auto Show". He loves and knows quite a bit about exotic cars. He took his camera to take pictures and video. With all of this activity, and being surrounded by family love, one would think he doesn't have anything to complain about right?
He has called me every single day not to tell me what an awesome time he is having, but to do what? COMPLAIN!
"My camera ran out of battery already. I really need a new camera."
"I want a camera like Uncle Wards."
"I really need to be administrator on my computer."
"I really need to upgrade my Blu-Ray playback software when I get home."
"Why can't you just buy me..."
Wow! I try to drown him out by asking positive questions about what he's doing and who is is spending time with. Finally, I told him. "Look! You're on vacation in California and I am not. If you're not calling to tell to tell me what a good time you're having...don't call me at all."
Thanks for Giving me this trip Mom...you're the best!