My son who has autism, Mr. L was supposed to experience a new milestone last week. For the first time in his educational career he had been approved to go on a field trip with his neurotypical class. His entire grade was going to be riding 30 min into the big city to experience a production of The Nutcracker and then go to a sit down restaurant for lunch.
My son had been asked to dress nice and the night before I had helped him pick out slacks, a button down and a pull over sweater. He was going to look dapper and he was excited for this new experience. We even went over any questions he had before bed and the expectations of the following day.
However this adventure was not meant to be I suppose, it was foiled by fog. I am not telling this story because I want you to be disappointed as well. It does suck that this won’t be rescheduled, and it sucks that even if my husband and I decided to take him to the play ourselves and out to eat it wouldn’t really recreate the experience he would have had with his peers.
I want to share this because I am so proud of how Mr. L handled this change in his expected plans. In the past, last minute changes has meant full on meltdowns. Hours of processing and days that could have been tossed in the trash because nothing good happened after life had thrown him a curveball.
At 5am I got an automated message telling us that school was on a 2-hour delay because of fog… So at 7 when I heard my oldest stirring I went into his room and explained that his field trip had been canceled because the school didn’t think it was safe to drive into the city in the fog… stretched the truth a bit… But it needed to be a reasonable excuse for Mr. L to accept it.
My son looked at me first with disappointment, then with stress and then with fear. I watched as each emotion emerged and he processed what this all meant. I knew the fear was the unknown, what did this cancellation mean for the rest of his day!? So I told him how he would still go to school, but it would be a regular day. Backpack, breakfast, class, lunch in the cafeteria, etc.
I watched as his fear eased and his disappointment slid back into focus. With sadness in his voice he told me ok and started his normal school day routine as I hung his dress clothes back up, so he didn’t make the mistake of putting them on anyways and then being frustrated again that he had got it wrong and had to change.
But Mr. L’s morning got worse before it got better. 15 min later I got another automated message telling us that school was now canceled all together because of fog. And poor Mr. L had already started his “Get ready to leave the house” routine. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. This can also be a trigger for this kiddo and I was about to hit the big red button, labeled meltdown.
So I knocked on the bathroom door and found my boys with toothbrushes in hand and I explained that school was canceled because of the fog. Mr. C was groggy and simply wanted clarification that he could go back to bed and trudged off to dream land. But Mr. L had many questions before asking if he could turn on Disney+ with his little sister and away he went.
I was shocked, pleased, and overfilled with gratitude and pride as I watched Little Miss A follow her brother to the living room for some early morning Mickey Mouse cartoons. Not only had my first born taken all these changes in stride, he was now turning on cartoons he knew his little sister would like.
My husband Mr. Mike and I have been working so hard to help this kiddo adjust to this unpredictable world since before he could walk and we anticipate his teen years throwing curve balls at us… But man it’s nice when we get to see a little return on our investments in these kids. It’s nice to see when some of that hard work pays off, even in the little ways.
I hope today doesn’t throw you any curve balls and things can go as planned, assuming you like your plans 😉