Vacation From Autism
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
I recently just got back from a short trip to Texas. I went to my sister's wedding with NO kids, I traveled by myself. I didn't realize how much I needed the break until I got on the plane to come home and got really emotional. At first I had really bad anxiety that I was away from them but on the way home it hit me, that typical life will never be me. Raising neurotypical children will never be my life. Vacations with my kids, even as they grow up may never be that relaxed. I will always worry and wonder if Dyllan will ever speak. I will always have watch out for Dyllan's safety and the people who surround him. My mind will never be at ease wondering if Jazlynn will always have a difficult time socially. I will never stop stressing that my typical children are getting enough from me. This trip gave me the breath of life. I was able to recharge and relax my mind for a few days. It made me see that I needed this trip more than I thought.
I got to eat hot meals...that were actually hot. It was the first time in years that upon arriving somewhere new I didn't have to scan the perimeter looking for ways dyllan could escape. It had been the first time in years that I didn't worry about Jazlynn bolting because I would tell her its time to go. I didn't have to think about erratic behaviors or safety concerns. There was no thinking of sensory issues and how to avoid meltdowns. I was able to worry only about myself.
Parenting four kids is tough. Parenting four kids with two of them being on the Autsim spectrum is on a whole other level. This trip made me realize i need to take these breaks and do things alone. My children need the best version of me. I need time away from Autism, clinic meetings and special needs events. I need the time to recharge so the awesome parts of Autism outweigh the difficult parts. My kids deserve it and I deserve it. Autism takes an emotional and physical toll on me. Autism is hard but there are parts that bring me joy and getting some much needed rest helped me regain focus on those parts.
Although Dyllan does not tell me verbally he loves me, he shows it like no other. His love and smile fill a room with such radiance. Jazzy's quirky personality and her love for animals is amazing to watch. When my cup is empty its hard to focus on the positive things and easy to feel overwhelmed by the negative.
This trip reminded me that every once in awhile I needed to stop and enjoy the little things in life. I went to the beach and swam in the ocean with my father which I haven't done in 20 years. There was no puddle jumpers and umbrellas. I went to the beach with a towel and a margarita. I enjoyed my feet in the sand and the sun on my face. I got to enjoy the birds and the dragonflies. I got to laugh and spend time with family I don't see often.
I went out to eat and enjoyed adult conversations. I drank during the day and went to bed way too early for someone on vacation with no kids. I slept 8 consecutive hours and was still able to get up and watch the sunrise alone with a coffee. A part of the old me resurfaced on this trip. The one who used to laugh and dream and enjoy the beauty of the world. Even though I was away and vacationing from Autism, I found myself still advocating and educating complete strangers about it. Autism will always be a part of me but every once in awhile I need a break, we need a break.
Special needs parents need an opportunity to get away. We need a friend, we need to feel like we exist outside of Autism. We need nights out with our spouse and girls nights. We need people to reach out and offer help. We are swamped with the hustle and bustle of life with kids on top of dealing with the everyday battles and struggles of Autism and other special needs. Its draining and exhausting and we lose ourselves tending to the special needs of our children. We need to laugh with friends and family and see the joy in life, so we can focus on the good parts of Autism.