Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Vacation and Special Needs: Why We Go Despite it Being So Stressful

I came home from summer vacation more drained than before I went. It was tough and sometimes I wonder why we do it. Let's face it, sometimes, when you have special needs kids, it is easier to just stay home. They crave routine and are familiar with their surroundings. At home, Dan has the run of the place. We've already secured rooms and important things so I can be at my computer or the sewing machine without worrying that he will get in a bit of mischief. He will usually entertain himself for quite a bit without asking me to get up for food or drink. 

Outings are another issue but I do it anyway going to the occasional museum, zoo, or park. Holding on to him for dear life and nervous that he might escape, but I still do it and I feel he sometimes gets more out of these city outings than vacation.  For some reason, going on vacation without having these safety nets  for a couple of days gets overwhelming for me. So why do we do it? Here are seven reasons why:

 1) It's fun getting there

It takes us about 2 hours to get to our destination. During that time I sit in the back with the boys because our aunt rides in the front seat. Yes, our aunt comes with us but she is adamant that I not include her in anything on the "internet" so I won't talk too much about her. I am usually in between them and I get to enjoy cuddling with Dan and talking to my oldest. He's a talker now so I get an earful. We talk about school, sports and play trivia games. We simply enjoy each other's company without any distractions.

2) It's beautiful scenery. I am very visual and the place we go to is beautiful. Nuff said. lol

3) The boys, especially Dan, love the water and get to bond with Dad

I am not a water person. I don't know how to swim and I rather just spash around than immerse myself in a  pool so it works splendidly that my husband loves the water and enjoys this time with the boys. My oldest, who usually is scared of the water, really enjoyed it this year which goes to show that sometimes you have to keep trying. 

The down side  to all of this is that instead of taking pictures, I should have been sitting down on a chair and reading my magazine. By the time I sat down, Dan had already had enough and only wanted to be with me. Next year you might not see any pool pics.

4) I experience the kindness of strangers.

You might wonder why Dan has a pink vest with pretty flowers on the side, or maybe not but it would not have been our first choice of color. Well, we forgot to buy any floating water gear for Dan. Last year we did fine with the  noodles provided by the pool but apparently Dan got bigger this year and they were hard to tie around his torso. When we did manage to tie it, it just kept getting loose. Well, a nice man must have seen us fumbling around because he came over and offered to lend us his daughter's swim floaty jacket. I don't think his daughter was too happy because she kept watching us like a hawk but we were so grateful for the kind offer and Daniel enjoyed himself immensely.

Also, the kind man I always talk about, (I mentioned him in this post from 2012) was at the merry go round again this year and he again recognized us and refused to take our tickets when offered. I think I love him. Which brings me to the next point.

5) I don't own a merry go round or other carrousel rides.

Dan just absolutely adores merry go rounds. My oldest, not so much, he detests rides. So yes, I could take him to Central Park and pay an arm and a leg for several rides while the older one just watches but it's nice to have this time of unlimited rides with Dan. My oldest was off playing miniature golf with his aunt so I had no pressure to stop because he was waiting for me. 

Oh, and I again, got my special bracelet which lets everyone know I am riding with a special needs child. I think this is cool. 

6) I got to see D again.

We have been coming to this vacation spot for the past 4 years and I met this lovely woman, the second year we came. She was the housekeeper assigned to our room and we bonded immediately mainly because I speak Spanish. Most people in this establishment are of Irish descent and I, with my big curly hair, immediately stick out. Last year someone thought I was a worker and asked me to bring them juice at their table. lol. Anyway, when D realized I spoke Spanish, we were off talking about everything! She asked me about Daniel and I immediately told her about his diagnosis, she was so kind and offered hope as a friend of hers also had a child with autism. She shared about her family and some of the struggles she has been through. So when we arrived and we saw each other, it was like reuniting with an old friend. Although she isn't smiling, she is super pleasant, funny and such a hard worker. It was great to see her again and to know she is doing well.

7) My oldest made a friend

I didn't want to post his friend's full picture as I didn't get permission from his parents to post it.  

This, for me, was the best part of our vacation. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you should know that my oldest is also on the spectrum although many people would not know it since he is extremely verbal and is practically mainstreamed. These days we are mainly dealing with social issues. Usually, he spends vacation with just us but this year, he met the nicest boy who was a year older and they immediately bonded over sports, my oldest's favorite topic!  I could not have planned it better myself. They talked in the pool, on the balcony, a little during breakfast, and they did it all without me prodding, coaxing, or my monitoring my son's behavior. He was totally appropriate,  friendly, and sweet. This made my heart sing! Before we left they exchanged addresses and promised to write to each other. This gave me so much hope for my son's social future!

So this is why I might continue going. Dan comes back wired and its hard to get him back in a routine. He is now pacing feverishly and screaming for soda which we let him have because well, he was on vacation too, he should have some fun, but we're paying for it big time now. 11 days until school. But whose counting.


  1. Replies
    1. It was for the most part Julie. But it really is all about the kids, not much of a vacation for me. Hubby and I need to go away by ourselves!

    2. Sounds like a wonderful trip! lol I certainly understand how even simple "fun" things can be complicated, though!

    3. Yes Nora, definitely "complicated fun". Love that description! Thanks for commenting!