As we sit here on our couch, watching another movie because we’re trapped inside during another snow storm, I can’t stop thinking about our best vacation ever! Just over a week ago we spent 7 days in sunny Florida and I truly believe that’s where we are supposed to live!
So what made it the best vacation ever? It was full of relaxing family time. For some of you that might sound a little boring but we very rarely get to relax with Ledger. He is always keeping us busy as we need to change activities often due to meltdowns and lack of interest. We spend a lot of time trying different activities that he might like, or buying different toys that he might want to play with a time or two, but normally he shows very little interest. We spend most of our days travelling back and forth in the car going to and from intervention, eating, watching movies, and trying to do small amounts of seat work while working speech and OT exercises into all of the above. Ledger spends his day pacing through the house with spuratic vocal outbursts. He has emotional mood swings that can change at the drop of a dime. He is constantly looking for food which we feel is usually out of boredom. He has eczema and scratches himself until he is sometimes bleeding which leads to a meltdown due to irritation.
In Florida, we didn’t see those behaviours like we do here at home. Why you ask? We asked ourselves too. He was so content. So at peace. Swimming is definitely his thing. He loves it – and he’s really good at it! He (not kidding!) even smiles underwater! It is his happy place being outside in the pool. After supper we would walk down to the playground every night where he would play happily on the slides and swings. And bed time? What a blessing…he went to sleep great, and stayed asleep all night! Minimal vocal outbursts, he wasn’t looking for the snacks that he wants at home and he spent so much time smiling! When we’d run out for an errand and drive back into the neighbourhood he would let out shrieks of joy in the backseat just knowing that we were heading back to the pool house again! The combination of sun, fresh air, and exercise was such a great combination. Not just for him, but for all of us 🌴☀️.
I write this blog for many reasons. I write for awareness, and to let people know some of the ups and downs of autism. I try to stay positive and focus on mostly ups, but getting a few downs in there helps to paint a real picture of my unexpected life. I write it for other parents, because whether we have special needs or neuro typical children, we all share that crazy unconditional love for our little ones. I write for my boys, so they can remember the great times we’ve had and the rough times that we’ve overcome. I write for myself, because often people run into me and ask “how are things” and unless they have a lot of coffee, a chair, and a few days… they aren’t really going to find out how things are!
When I first started writing a year ago, I got excited that some of you were following my blog. Your kind words and support encouraged me to keep sharing. A friend sent me a message the other night saying she overheard two mothers at her child’s music group talking about ‘Ashley’s’ blog. She said they were speaking very kindly and she felt that I had truly impacted them based on what she could hear. I run into people that I haven’t seen since high school (which now is over 14 years ago!) that say they think of us often and enjoy following the blog, even though it makes them emotional at times. I’ve heard that I’m brave, and courageous, and strong, and all of these words are so kind and thoughtful of you.
Last night while I was at my moms for our weekly Sunday dinner, she spoke to me after everyone else had left. She told me that she had been approached by a group of people who wanted to help us. They weren’t sure how but they wanted to do something. I tried to keep it together, but those super-power crazy emotions kicked in and I let some of my famous crocodile tears fall. I’m not sure what to say other than we are swelling with emotions at such generosity and kindness. We know people, friends, and family, think of us often and everyone offers to help “if there is ever anything we need”, but Jeff and I are both so very touched by this offer. We are so thankful for the special people we have in our lives and we hope they know how much we appreciate all of their love and support.
Final thoughts: Tonight, before bed Ledger was listening to some music. He was marching around carrying his leap pad up on his shoulder like a boom box. The music is closest to his ears this way and he had a huge smile on his face. It was a song from one of his cartoons he likes to watch. As I danced with him in the living room we giggled and I listened to the lyrics:
“When trouble comes my way
No matter night or day
I know my family’s gonna help
And make it all ok”. 💙
We are so blessed…
So unlike some of the other provinces in our great country, NB does not celebrate Family Day! Boo 😦 It would be an excuse that my husband would have to take a day off to play with us! haha He loves to work, and lately he has been working a lot thanks to all this crazy snow! Yesterday, however, he took the day and spent it with me and the boys! I love when all four of us are together more than anything else is the world. We started the morning by taking Ledger to his intervention. Then he took Tucker and I out for breakfast, where Tucker had his first taste of honeydew and cantaloupe melon; of course he loved it – not much we haven’t found that he doesn’t like! Then we got some munchies for Jeff’s upcoming NASCAR Daytona 500 party this Sunday. As if I’m not already out numbered, Sunday there will be even more boys in the man cave/toy room. Yup, that’s right…my husband has a man cave (and it’s sweet) but he shares it with his two favourite little people and about every toy the boys could ever want!
Back to the day…we came home and had some lunch, watched a great hockey game that moves Canada into the Gold Metal game at the Olympics, Tucker laid down for a nap, so then we bundled up Ledger to take him outside… what a workout! In our backyard there has to be three feet of snow! It was next to impossible to even play out there because we were nearly knee deep in that white stuff! Ledger didn’t care though! He giggled his way over to his play ground where he lost his hat and boots. Didn’t seem to both him, but he was playing in the snow without boots on for a solid 5 minutes. He tried to go on his swing but didn’t have much luck since the snow was touching the bottom of the swing! haha We bribed him to come in with a muffin ( comon, you’ve all done it!) just in time for our little Tucker to wake up. We made some supper and spent the evening playing with the boys downstairs.
Tucker went to bed easily at 7:00 but Ledger was still very relaxed and enjoying his time in his swing. No we didn’t go back outside…we have a swing in our basement and I would highly recommend it to any of you who have the space. It is so soothing to him. Hands down – his favorite activity! Check it out here: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/S19809351/ We eventually got Ledger to come upstairs for bed around 8:00 and he shuffled like a zombie to his room.
Jeff and I enjoyed the rest of our evening by forgetting about the messy “Toy Cave” and relaxed on the couch with a corny movie on Netflix. I don’t think I let him know enough, how much I appreciate the time he spends with the boys and I. Somedays I feel like a single mom, trying to keep my head above the water with a husband who works long hours, a 7 month old baby, and a 4 year old with autism. There are days I can go all day long talking to my boys, but never hearing a word back in return. I don’t get the sense of being a super mom, because I do get frustrated…I do have breakdowns…I do feel like I’m in over my head…but Family days seem to ease my mind, and bring me back to that place that I always wanted to be…and that’s a wife to a loving husband and a mom, to two beautiful boys who are both so sweet and perfect in their own little ways.
Look at how blessed I am…. ❤