Now that we’ve finally made it through Thanksgiving, we can turn our attention to the next major holiday: Nolan’s birthday. He’s an only child, so it might as well be a holiday in our house.
Here’s the thing, though... birthdays can be weird with autism. Birthday parties are noisy, chaotic and downright exhausting. So for Nolan, they can get overwhelming in a hurry.
Plus he’s got a December birthday. So it’s one more thing to cram into another already busy month for family and friends (plus we’ve got three other December birthdays on my side of the family alone...) And then we’re asked the nearly-impossible-to-answer question, “What does he want for his birthday?” (The answer is probably a big jar of green olives, a super soft blanket and too much Mountain Dew.)
So two years ago, we decided to start a new birthday tradition. And what, you might ask, is that? We get the hell out of town for the weekend. I did the math, and by the time we paid for a party and gifts and everything else involved, we were farther ahead to spend the night at one of the big indoor water park resorts in Wisconsin Dells. They have some fabulous deals at this time of year... Plus Nolan doesn’t end up with a bunch of stuff that he never asked for.
And it’s been good. Nolan picks where he wants to eat breakfast in the morning, and he gets some car time (Nolan loves to ride in the car— that’s gotta be a sensory input thing of some sort)... Last year, though, he didn’t necessarily care about the water park.
So this year we’re headed north instead to a place that has more indoor options that don’t involve swimwear. My hairy legs appreciate not being robbed of their insulation so early in the winter. And I think Nolan will appreciate not being told he can’t just walk in to the pool at the bottom of the water slides— that’s just downright confusing to him.
But this means I’ll spend the week making mental lists of things to not forget. Inevitably, I will forget most of those things, but I will remember something totally ridiculous that won’t get used. Last year, I ended up running to the store to grab socks and melatonin, and I’m thankful that the list wasn’t longer. But as long as we can charge the iPad, we will survive.
So here’s hoping we don’t get a major snowstorm this weekend. Because I’m stealing the boys away for a magical little break where we don’t have to stress out about the season. Where nobody expects us to bake, decorate, craft, shop or even behave ourselves... just time to be together enjoying a break from the chaos of this season.
But for now you'll have to excuse me-- I've got things to forget to pack.