We skipped spring here, and went directly to summer. Lawnmower drone, sunshine, bright skies, all encompassing green...not the tremulous, bursting green of Spring, but a sedate, self assured, expansive green -Summer green. It feels so good. I am grateful for every bit of warmth and ease. The ease of not having to haul on snow boots and shiver in a sub zero car! The ease of being able to stride down the road, head erect, instead of picking my way slipping on patches of ice and snow! The juxtaposition between seasons makes each little warm weather pleasure keenly felt.
I have started...slowly, tentatively...making art again. It is pretty raw and very personal, not ready to be shared, but the wheels are beginning to turn.
My major obsession for the last two months, Florida. Specifically a family vacation to Orlando being planned for December. I am obsessing hard. Completely Aspie immersed. It has taken over the larger portion of my brain like some virulent vine. I've been reading nothing but guidebooks, and spending every spare moment on the computer researching. I ought to be getting an honorary degree summa cum laude from the Disney university any day now, or a key to the city, or at the very least an "I heart Florida" trucker cap! At first it was a mixture of practicality and fun, things I needed to know and things I wanted to know, but it has long since descended into the realms of wheel spinning perseveration. The truth is that I am hella anxious about making it all work, and arming myself with information is a time honoured tradition when I am full of fears.
We are not an easy family. We are a complicated intertwining mesh of needs. There is no such thing as "flying by the seat of our pants". No such thing as relaxing and enjoying come what may. We have to know things, like exactly what we will eat, where it will come from, how and where it will be prepared, and how it will be served. We need to have a plan in place for balancing sensory needs. We have to carefully calculate energy vs. activity ratios. We have to find creative ways of retaining as much of our regular routine as possible while still making room for new experiences. We have to consider how hot, how crowded, how loud, how bright, and we have to have back up plans, escape clauses and emergency protocols for every situation. We have to carefully, deftly manage everyone's expectations and anxiety, with schedules, plans, videos, role playing, and lots and lots of information.
It is a lot of work and the stakes are high...the stakes are thousands of dollars spent to hide in a darkened hotel room with ear defenders on, or a child that feels a crushing sense of failure and disappointment because we asked too much and pushed too far, or life vs death in an emergency room because we weren't scrupulously careful about every morsel of food.
Or the type of memories and sense of mastery that can only come from pushing into new territory and being OK there...even having fun there.
This is a picture of me in Disneyland in 2008. We're on Jungle Cruise. It was our first ride on our first day, and the moment when I realized that all the obsessive research and planning was going to pay off.
We were there thanks to a generous gift from their grandparents, and I was even more anxious than I am about the Florida trip. We had led two paper-pale, quaking boys into the park that morning. I cried as we walked down Main Street. The disparity between the other laughing, excited children and mine (demeanour as if we were headed to the guillotine rather than Adventureland) hit me like a smack to the face. Would the "happiest place on earth" be anything but miserable for us? And then we started doing Disney our way, just like we'd planned. From the moment L saw the crocs on Jungle Cruise (one of his special interests at the time), his whole body relaxed and his face opened and brightened. Can you see the flood of relief in my face above? We only lasted 2 half days and a very short stint one evening at Disney that trip (we went on to do Legoland and Seaworld after), and there were meltdowns and a couple of tense moments, but that's not what the boys remember. They remember us riding on everything and seeing everything, and how they got to eat in restaurants (Disney has the best and safest allergy policies anywhere), and how AWESOME it was.
|2nd morning. Excitement overtakes anxiety.|
This time the trip is even more complicated. My whole family is coming -parents, the DQ, sisters, BiL, the whole nine yards. That's even more needs and personalities to balance, but you know how I love a project, and I know that we can make it work. I have 6 more months to anxiously, fanatically go over and over every detail...hopefully though with a little less single minded intensity? I'd like to make room in my brain for a few other things as well.