In our situation with Emilio, last minute getaways like this, without a few weeks of dialogue about it prior to departure, could be cause for a meltdown. But this time it wasn’t. This time was just a short list of questions he kept asking like – “what time are we leaving on Friday?” and “What time will we be back on Monday?” etc.
I should have seen this as a sign that something exceptional was going to happen on this trip.
The first incredible adjustment Emilio had to make was with the weather. For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you’ll remember many conversations I have had with Emilio in regards to the weather. He gets upset with Mother Nature when it rains during the summer or she forgets to make is snow in December.
We arrived on Friday and it was cloudy with some rain and Saturday pretty much rained the whole day. Normally, he would repeatedly say something about the weather, but this time he didn’t. This time he just went with the flow and followed us without any complaints.
The second amazing adjustment my little guy had to make was with his surroundings. Another impromptu event brought us to witness one of the most amazing shows ever.
Sunday was hot and humid with temperatures rising well into the 90’s. My husband decided to stop at a harbor front restaurant for lunch. We sat outside enjoying the view of Lake Champlain and a cold drink. When the hostess came to take our order she told us we were lucky, we were right on time for the show.
“What show” we asked?
“The air show of course”.
My first immediate thought was Emilio and as I looked at him, he instinctively put his hands over his ears. He looked at me with a frightened look. I knew this look well. I was getting ready to tell my husband that I was going to take Emilio inside.
I leaned in closer to Emilio and raised my voice so he could hear me “Sweetie, are you okay?”
He nods his head and asks “Do we have to stay outside?”
“No honey, if you’d like, you and I could go inside”
He looks over at his step dad and asks “is he staying outside?”
“Yes honey, he would like to watch the show”.
“Okay, me too then.”
“Are you sure? I don’t mind going inside with you”.
“No I’m okay”.
And with each plane that flew by he covered his ears; and with each plane that flew by my son was growing stronger, more tolerant. He was exposed to something he had difficulty handling. We hadn’t planned it and we hadn’t practiced for it, but he was doing it. He was coping with every supersonic aircraft that flew overhead.
I looked at the people around us and I thought no matter how spectacular this show is (and it was) what was transpiring with my son was even more breathtaking. I was witnessing my son finding his center of balance and pulling out the strategies he needed to help keep him this way. I couldn’t have been more proud.
Oh wait….yes I could because something else happened.
It’s Monday and we’re coming back home. We’re at the border and the officer speaks to my husband in French; “where do you live”, “where did you go” “are you bringing anything back” all the regular questions that are asked.
He then asks my husband to roll down the back window. The officer sees my son and says “Bonjour Emilio”.
Emilio looks at him stunned and responds in broken French “Bonjour”.
“Est-ce que tu connais ta maman ?”
Emilio has a blank stare so my husband asks the officer if he doesn’t mind asking the question in English and asking it slowly because he’s autistic and he may be nervous. The officer totally got it.
“Do you know who your mom is?”
“Yeah, it’s her” pointing at me.
“Good, who’s your dad?”
Emilio points at his step dad. My husband immediately tells the officer in French that he is the step dad and not the biological father. The officer asks if Emilio knows this, if he knows who his biological father is. I respond yes he does.
He looks at Emilio and asks “Is this your real dad?”
“No he’s my step dad”
“Okay great. Did you have a nice vacation?”
“Yes I did.”
“Okay, thank you Emilio”.
“You’re welcome. Bye”
And that was it, we were on our way home. I looked over at Emilio and told him he did a fantastic job. He wasn’t nervous or intimidated. He answered the questions very well and most importantly, he didn’t freeze up. Sometimes when strangers approach him or worse, ask him questions, he’ll freeze and not give any form of response.
I was so proud of my little boy who really isn’t little anymore.
How many times have I imagined similar situations? I’m glad I got to see the way he interacted with an authority figure. It gives me some peace of mind that he’s able to answer questions and stay in a calm state.
I told him again how very proud I was of him and the way he handled not only this situation but the whole weekend.
It was a short getaway, the weather wasn’t on our side, we didn’t do anything that we had set out to do and yet this was probably one of the most successful vacations we have had.
My son never ceases to amaze me. For every single thought that may overwhelm me with fear, he’ll turn around and do something so incredibly fantastic that settles my nerves ever so slightly and reminds me once again how this exceptional teacher is showing me how awesome he is.
Thanks for stopping by…