We got through the long school break with many walks, a few outings and lots of music, everything local and simple. We got through the break with plenty of good weather and generally good spirits on V’s part which made the time go by more easily. He’s back in his summer program, which will last five weeks. Back to his school and some new teachers and aides and possibly different classmates but enough familiar that there isn’t much adjustment.
I’m already thinking ahead to when I get on a plane in a few days – hopefully: lots of canceled and delayed flights lately, so I will be relieved when it actually happens – to see B in Seattle, along with my wonderful family out there. So excited to get to see them, and to get away from the constraints and sameness of days spent at home.
I have so many fond memories of trips to Seattle where we used to go every summer to visit my inlaws: T’s parents, and after his father died – V is named for him – then just his mother and my sister- and brother-in-law, C & T, who I’ll be staying with this trip. It’s been so long since we all went on vacation together, and as V got older the trips got harder to take, especially the long plane ride. I have memories that are not so good, of V having total meltdowns in airports and people staring and glaring and airline staff who lacked any empathy for our situation. B, on the other hand, has always been a great traveler.
Going through old photos I remember the good times: the beautiful outings, the beaming grandparents, the summer that T and I did the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party although “Plotz” would be more like it for me) on a tandem recumbent, a two hundred mile bike ride I find it hard to believe now that I actually completed. T has since done lots of rides but that was it for me. I trained back when we lived in Brooklyn, doing laps around the park most days until I was in good enough shape. C & T took care of the boys while we did the ride along with my cousin-in law and thousands of other riders. It was great fun, gorgeous, and thoroughly exhausting.
I’m not good with organizing my photos into albums; I have a few boxes filled with them, all ages and places mixed together, yet it’s easy to pull out the ones from the Seattle trips. Going on ferry rides and to the falls and into the city and to the local park where the boys loved to go and play.
Looking at the pictures is bittersweet. I try to remember all the fun, warm family times and not the challenges, the beauty and excitement and the mere fact that we did in fact go on family vacations in those early years. Here’s a hodge podge of memories.
I try not to give guilt too much room in my brain. It’s a toxic and unhelpful feeling. Still, if there is one thing I do get pangs about it’s not being able to give B so many of the normal things I grew up with, like annual family vacations, things that I can only appreciate with age. Other than Seattle there were just a few semi-successful getaways like that cute beachtown where we found a little motel with a pool a few blocks from the boardwalk and ocean. The boys devoured their first ice cream floats (our motel was adjacent to a root bear stand : ) we played in the water for hours, and then V bit me so hard he broke my skin when we tried to get him to leave. This was during his water-obsessed years when a day at the beach had an often visceral ending. Yes, vacations became increasingly stressful the older V got, the opposite of what a vacation is for and so we let them go.
Several families I knew with severely autistic kids left them behind: I knew someone who had a lovely few weeks at the Cape every year with her neurotypical kids while her son on the spectrum had a rotating string of babysitters — but the cost of round the clock help for V would have easily tripled the expense of any vacation, making it too exorbitant for our budget. But I don’t know that either T or I could have left V behind. And we never could find enough help to go along with us for a trip, or to find some other way we could somehow have relaxing family vacations. It’s too late to go back and change what has passed. I do have regrets; I try to let them go, to think fondly of the nice family times we did have long ago. Hopefully I will be on a plane in a few days, off to have a vacation with B and our West Coast family.