Sunday, October 18, 2015

Little getaways, now surprisingly possible

This past weekend, we took a little trip to Maine. We stayed a couple nights at a hotel, and got to see my dear Aunt Sarah, my mother's younger sister.  I haven't seen her in eight years, and she hasn't seen Janey since then, so it was wonderful to see her.  What was also wonderful is that the trip was even possible.

A year ago, or pretty much any time in the past eight years, we could not have pictured a weekend trip working at all with Janey.  We basically took no trips during that time, at least the kind that involved a good deal of driving and time in a hotel.  Janey would never have tolerated the drive, and a hotel would have been a nightmare, as she would have been almost certain to scream so much that we would have been kicked out.

The inability to travel with Janey was hard.  Tony and I love travel---not big time exciting vacations, but weekend or a little longer trips, the kind where the biggest entertainment is seeing new places from the car window, where we get fast food to bring back to the hotel, where we see family or friends for a bit and just relax for a while.  We did that kind of thing a lot with the boys when they were younger.  We saw a lot of the Northeast during that time, and had a lot of fun swimming in hotel pools and eating at rest stops.  We wouldn't even have wanted to take Janey to Europe or Disney World or on a plane, but we did long to just be more able to go to see my parents in Maine for the weekend, or something like that.

Tony and Janey on a little stretching legs stop at China Lake, Maine.
Something happened this summer.  Like we often date Janey's autism to the only very big family trip we ever took, a cross-country drive when she was three, we are dating this change back to Janey's long hospital stay from a burst appendix.  Janey seems changed.  There are still tough days, lots of screaming times---we aren't under any illusion that life will be easy-breezy from now on---but somehow, it has become possible to travel a little with Janey.  A big part of it is she now loves car rides, just like Tony and I do.  She's happy in the car for almost unlimited amounts of time, as long as music is playing and we keep moving.  She also, based on this trip and our last trip to take Freddy to college, likes hotels.  When we got to our hotel in Maine on Friday night, we worried about the noise for a very different reason than we would in the past.  We worried her yelps of joy would bother people.  She was overwhelmed with happiness to be in the hotel room.

Thinking about it, it's partly that Janey has changed, but it's also partly that we have changed.  It's sort of like a compromise.  We do what Janey likes, more and more.  For example, the music in the car is all for Janey.  Luckily, she likes a wide variety of good music, but if she doesn't like a song, we don't listen to that song.  We plan our days so that she will be content.  Yesterday, Tony stayed at the hotel much of the day with Janey, doing little drives to get food and letting her dictate the day's pace, while I spent time with my parents and aunt.  We didn't try to do everything with Janey in tow.  Later, we went to my parents' house, but as soon as it was apparent Janey was tired and ready to go, we left.  We all got to do some of what we liked, by making sure Janey was able to feel comfortable and happy.

It feels like a bargain, a trade.  We are getting what we want---the ability to do more of what we enjoy, and Janey is getting what she wants---her needs put first.  It's a win/win---a nice example of a rare win/win in life.  It's making us able to look at the future with a little more hope than we have had in a while, thinking of seeing the country a little at a time, in our own way.  It wouldn't be the two of us, as we daydreamed about years ago---it will be the three of us, and I think we can make that work.

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