Kind of like a trip to Holland.

As parents of children with autism know, there are certain obsessions that grip our kids out of the blue that won’t let go. Some of Matthew’s past obsessions that come to mind are wheels, sprinklers(but only the ones that go in circles), airports, balloons, teddy bears, putting diapers on teddy bears-the list goes on. With any luck, those obsessions are replaced by something less annoying, but let’s face it-ANYTHING that is a constant topic for several months can be annoying.

Matthew’s is currently obsessed with taking a trip to New Orleans- with me -in April. He has been talking about it for months. He heard they have great music there, and Louisiana is a state he has never been to. I’m always vague with him when the conversation comes up, hoping this stage will pass, but a few nights ago in a phone conversation he went for the close.

“I think we should go early in the morning on April the third,” he said, “and stay for three days.”

I guided the conversation in another direction, and then after we hung up, I decided to check out what a three day weekend to New Orleans would cost, just for the heck of it. Money is tight, but somehow we had managed to send Matthew’s younger brothers on trips out of state and abroad with their schools. Why couldn’t we do the same for Matthew?

But as I added up plane fare, hotel and rental car (creeping past $1000.00) I had a brilliant idea. Maybe I could convince Matthew to go to Seattle with me instead of New Orleans. Matthew had never been to the state of Washington, and neither had I. And flights to Seattle from California are practically free.seattle

So when Matthew called me this morning to find out if I’d booked our tickets to New Orleans, I floated my idea.

“It would cost us $1000 to go to New Orleans,” I said.

“That’s a lot of dollars,” he replied.

“Seattle is nice and close,” I went on, “and I hear it’s beautiful. There is a lot of beautiful water, they have this cool tower, and…”

“How close is Idaho?” Matthew interrupted. “I haven’t been to Idaho. We’ll go to Boise, Idaho in April, and we’re not going to talk about it anymore.”

Oh, yes we will. But who knows? I might just love Boise in the springtime.boise


Laura Shumaker is the author of A REGULAR GUY: GROWING UP WITH AUTISM


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