Two weeks ago we went on vacation to Hilton Head, SC, to enjoy some much needed family time. The entire period leading up to this trip Doug and I kept saying we never needed a vacation more. However, as much as we wanted a week away from thinking about everything that surrounds Gavin’s diagnosis the truth of the matter is that we can’t walk away from the fact that he has Autism.
From the 18 hour car ride that set his schedule off balance for the first day, to being in a new environment that wasn’t his typical routine…this vacation was far from relaxing. By the second or third day he became more comfortable being in my parents condo, but still with every passing day there was something new and different for Gavin that would send him into a tantrum state.
The first day at my parent’s pool we just walked around the outside in circles. Two or three days later he became fascinated with the pool shower, used to clean off sand, and would just stand there the entire time getting splashed with water. On day four when we were trying to do our normal walk around the pool he became freaked out by his shadow and had a meltdown. Finally on the last day at the pool he was comfortable enough to play in the water for an extended period of time.
Luckily, for the most part, it was just our family at the pool most days. Typically one or two other people would show up to sunbathe, but did not stay very long. It was nice to not feel the constant stares from other people on why my child is acting like this in a public place. The uncomfortable looks of disapproval like I don’t know how to parent or control my child. There are definitely days and moments that I want to scream out “He has Autism…Ok?!”, but then I realize I hate that label and I don’t want to have justify his behaviors to the world. It would be nice if more people could just be understanding. If they could see that this is really a struggle for us and that staring probably isn’t helping anything.
We decided to do a dolphin cruise because this summer Gavin loved being on our friend’s speedboat and we thought this would be a family event he would enjoy. Unfortunately a leisurely dolphin cruise does not have the same speed of the boat we took him on this summer. He became restless very quickly and it was a very long 1.5 hour ride to say the least.
All and all though we made a lot of memories. I’m a so grateful we had this week with both kids. I never get uninterrupted time like this at home and for that I am grateful. Kendall had a blast! She loves the water and it was great to see her enjoying both the pool and the ocean. One day while looking for seashells with Doug and huge wave came and pulled her water-shoe off her foot. It got pulled away too quickly for her or Doug to find it. On our last day in Hilton Head she was saying good bye to everything on the island she would miss. She ended her good byes with a “Good bye, shoe. I’ll miss you”. How cute is she?! Moments like that help us stay strong and remember that we really are blessed