Our sons do not have school today so my husband took the day off so that we could finally go see The Freedom Tower and 9/11 Mueseum.
Rewind to the Fall of 2001. My husband and I had been planning an October 2001 wedding for a year. 9/11 came and we considered postponing our nuptials because of the attacks. But we were encouraged to keep the date so that the terrorists wouldn’t win with our matrimonial plans. We kept the date, but several of our guests did not attend our wedding for fear of flying or had relatives killed in the buildings. It was obviously a horrible time in history. I think 9.11.18 was the first year I did not cry in rememberance. Our wedding turned out to be a joyous occasion for everyone. It helped get our minds off of the tragedy of that day.
Today, our older two sons are teenagers. They have learned about 9/11 in school and at home. My youngest son, who is 11, has Autism that is riddled with language and comprehension deficits, so he does not understand why this is such a profoundly meaningful sacred space. He just sees a building…and we forgot- buildings are scary. Oops.
The last time we took a family trip similar in nature was 3 summers ago to Washington, DC. It was a disaster. My youngest son, Cam, had an alarmingly difficult time with the sensory input around him and nowhere to escape. D.C, in the summer, was expected to be a slower tourist period. I feel stupid for not realizing how wrong we would be. Sensory triggers were everywhere. It is a big, hot, loud city with millions of people walking around, enormous buildings, and ceilings as high as the sky. We did our best to soothe Sam, like taking him to one of the many fountains. He’s obsessed with “sprinklers.” That did not calm him. Eventually, he developed a massive head tic – a major anxiety response to how overwhelming the experience was for him. Our trip ended up being shortened and we left days earlier than planned. When we arrived home, I called a leading psychiatrist in the field of mental health disorders in children with autism, and he was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder and started medication. The head tic was the icing on the cake with regards to pulling the medication trigger. His anxiety had been showing up in many different forms.
So this morning he has been adamantly opposed to going to NYC. This caused a good 1/2 hour of arguing, then frantic calls to last minute sitters …. but to no avail. We caved and said ok, you can stay home with mommy….yet, we still tried to find back ups so we wouldn’t eat the $500 we spent…..Do we pull the “A” card?
I sat on our bed and tried not to cry. “I wish we could just do normal things like normal families do….” My husband lamented . We didn’t think this through. We forgot about the autism. Oops.
As of this moment, my husband bribed Cam, and he agreed to go. And we are all going now.
Pray for us.
(Learn what happened on this day in Part 2) OOPS! Part 2 of: When We Forgot Our Son Has Autism