Each year we try to head south, to Chincoteague Island for vacation and to spend time with my grandma. Well, as we all know, life sometimes has other plans for us. Needless to say, we didn’t go south this year. Instead we chose a state campground, fairly close to home for a small 3 day, 3 night stay.
Parents know how much must be packed, even for simple trips. Now add special needs to the mix, double or triple your packing. Not even kidding! This picture says it all!
We got to our cabin and Liam eagerly went inside. He screeched when he saw there were not one, but TWO bunk beds. He quickly climbed up and arranged his stuff, on BOTH top bunks. Did he sleep there? NOPE! They were “too high and too far away,” and so, he wiggled his way into my twin sized bed. Sleeping was NOT a luxury. (As per the “norm” for us.) Like I said, we camp “Autism Style.”
Liam was actually very excited to help with camp chores. He helped find fallen trees, drag them down to our site, and daddy taught him how to saw them up. He lined up the wood just so. By size, by length. Autism has a way of keeping things organized. 😉
However, we were NOT to touch this wood. This was HIS wood and it was to stay lined up. Autism parents, you know how this goes. Never mess with your child’s line up.
While Liam was wood hunting the next morning, he made friends with our cabin neighbors. Pita hit it off with the girl’s father too. As soon as the little girl said “Minecraft,” she had Liam hooked. They even called each other Alex and Steve. It was precious. They were inseparable all day. Daddy even enjoyed having another guy to hang out with. It was a shame they had to leave late that afternoon, but we exchanged info and hope the kids can still keep in touch. Liam only has one friend that he gets along with that well. It would be nice if he had another. Even if all they can do is connect online to play Minecraft.
After Alex left, we decided it was dinner and smore’s time, then game night. Liam of course had no interest in dinner, and as far as smore’s, he only eats the chocolate or the crackers. Before I start roasting the marshmallows, I go through the pack of crackers and break them in half for the smore’s. AUTISM PARENT FAIL! He can’t eat the crackers after they are broken in half . They have to be the FULL cracker. How did I forget this? Thankfully the nearby crows liked “broken” crackers! At this point, Liam was NOT a happy camper. Literally and figuratively!
His mood changed once we had game night. He didn’t even get mad when the computer wouldn’t play his night time movie. He was happy to watch Doctor Who on Netflix. I think knowing his cousins would be joining us the next day, helped his mood. Thank God, because meltdowns are no fun, and meltdowns on vacation are even worse! Of course we packed a ton of his coping items, and that helped too.
The kids had a blast playing tag, having dance parties, drawing, coloring, hiking, and wood collecting. They were all so well behaved and happy, that it was a joy to sit back and watch them be kids. I’m not used to seeing Liam surrounded by “nice” kids because only ONE nice kid lives near us. This certainly was a nice break from our “real” world life. I didn’t want to come home.
Our third day was full of climbing, jumping, screeching, tag, junk food, a little swimming and some fishing. He was having a blast. However, as it came time to leave, he was done. He shut himself in the car and refused to get out. It was time to go. He was done. Autism has a way of shutting us down, and we just can’t “people” any more. (That’s kind of how I feel today, but that’s another story. 😉 )
Regardless, it was a successful trip. Daddy and I got to relax some, and we had great family time. We made new friends, and built memories that I hope will stick with Liam for years to come. Now it’s back to reality. Boo! Hiss!