Field Trip

We wait in line, you and me, for our turn on the ride. You talk about your “adventure” and what is happening in your imagination, right now, as you cope with this change in your day. You talk loudly, with inflection and feeling, so that others around you pause to hear what you have to say. Realizing that you are, in fact, not speaking to them; they eye you curiously, apprehensively as they await their turn.

We approach the gate. Your voice gets louder, shriller with your running commentary. I ask if you are okay and are you sure you want to do this. You respond “Yes, I want to defeat the Dragon!”; to which curious onlookers smile and nod. You hum as you watch the people ahead of us move forward, and as the gate opens you walk forward to the seat you plan to take, strapping yourself in like an old pro. I check you again to make sure this is what you want, that you do want to try this. You tell me you love me, and that you are ready.

As we slowly ascend the hill to the top, I worry that you may have changed your mind. I panic as I know I cannot stop this ride we are on, that I have no control of the outcome or how you will respond to it. All I do know is we have a path, and a plan, and a goal. I quickly pray that it will all turn out okay. I’ve done all I can to prepare you.

We free-float over the hill and with a WHOOSH! we are off, dropping at an alarming rate of speed and racing into the first turn. I close my eyes because I am scared, frightened of this ride we are on; petrified at the loss of equilibrium and nausea. As I am crushed into the seat with the G-Force of it all, I fight and claw my way forward so I can see you, check you, and make sure you are okay. I yell out to you and listen for your response.

“I love you, Mom.”

I cringe every time we are flipped upside down. My stomach rolls at the speed, the lofty heights, the frightening dips downward. As we round the corner and I’m slammed against my seat yet again, I secretly wish we weren’t on this ride, that we had chosen something safer, slower, easier.

Then, in an instant, something changes. The heights while daunting, are easier to handle. The twists and turns easier to manage. I open my eyes and see the landscape rush past me and yet I begin to relax. I laugh and let out a “Whoooooo Hoooooo!”. I smile.

As soon as it begins, we are back in the bay where we started, climbing out of our seats and secretly checking to make sure all of our extremities are still with us. I look at your ashen face and wonder was I wrong to think you could handle this? Was this all a big mistake? I ask if you are okay. I know we have another coaster to ride, the one next to us, the one we almost ran into on our “journey”. I need to ask the question, but I’m so afraid to ask, to see the impending meltdown I’m expecting to see. Our day could very well end right here, right now.

I look at you with your tousled hair and ashen face and notice a gleam in your eyes I missed a second ago. A smile creeps across your face as we walk toward the exit. With a strength in your voice I have never heard come from you, you turn to me and say;

“Ready for the next one, Mom? Let’s do this!”

Yes, my amazing son. Let’s do just that.

Taming The HULK

(side note: On a school field trip, my ASD son rode not one, not two, but THREE roller coasters that day. One of which he rode twice, once with me and once with his friends. Our journey is sometimes like a rollercoaster, but in that day I felt so strongly that we are going to be okay whether it is riding coasters or navigating life on the Spectrum. Believe it.)

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