Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Not everything stays in Vegas.

By the stars aligning, we were able to finally take a trip alone this year, no children, just us - and another couple, friends of ours. I am honestly glad we booked it a while ago, before we really knew Ben was Autistic, because if we knew we would have not gone..but alas, we did go - and this trip, being amazing, fun, relaxing, and needed - it also taught me a few things about my marriage and my role being a mother.

I left with the feeling that Ryan and I needed this getaway to, "re-group" get our act together before the whirlwind of appointments flood our lives this month. I left wanting a break, wanting a vacation from all the appointments and therapies, I wanted to run away from all that makes me .. me. But it was different - and after thinking about it yesterday and today while I was taking planes to get home this is what I have realized on our 6 days away, alone.

1) I am not able to handle everything on my own.

I need Ryan. I need my family. I need my friends. I need support. I need faith. I need success stories, and tragedies. I need opponents and nay-Sayers. I need people who are ignorant so I can teach. I need an army behind me. Most importantly, I need Ryan.

I try and tackle this battle for my boys alone, I make appointments on my availability, I attend them alone mos times due to my own schedule, I go to seminars on my own and training.. but I shouldn't. I shouldn't put my boys father, and my husband in a position to where he can not be by my side when he is needed - I needed to realize I can not do this alone. How did I realize this is Las Vegas out of all places? - simple. because I needed Ryan, I felt I needed him, and it was wonderful.

I needed him to be by my side, I wanted him there - we laughed about only parents in our situation would laugh at.. we had heart to hearts about our fears and our hopes. We know that the odds are against parents staying together in their marriages when you have a child with Special Needs, especially 2. I like knowing that I can fight with him for one hour, then go back and laugh about it the next hour. I can confide anything to him, which is the way marriages should be, even my greatest fears. Our family needs our marriage to be strong, and this trip I felt as I left this morning -it is.

2) Ryan needs me too.

Obviously ;)

3) We need Support.

I take the stance and have made my life and my life's purpose, especially within the last 2 years, of being an advocate for a little boy, that was entrusted to me by something higher than myself - to be his voice when no one else can hear him. As stated previous, I have huge support with my husband. I have written several times, that we may have a bit of an advantage with our lives challenges, as Ryan is in the field as well as myself, so even though there are several appointments and all that jazz, it doesn't scare him off - we take it head on.

What I did realize this week, I needed to entrust my children, and especially Owen, to other people in our lives, which was my in laws mostly, my friend for the evenings, and my mother for a night over the weekend. Yes, we are fortunate that I am able tof ind babysitters when needed, but for me to give up total control of his life was hard - but everyone survived. My in laws dealt with the school. writing back and forth in his green communication book everyday, asking questions, trying to deal with the best way possible that Owen did have a rough week while we were away at school - displaying odd behaviours that we have never seen before - but they did it.
Victoria dealt with bedtime, which can be very challenging as well, especially with Owen, but she did it! My mom dealt with the lazy Saturdays, where there is no structure or routine which also throws him off - but she did it.

I needed to leave, and I needed to realize that I can trust others with his routine and the daily challenges that we can encounter, and I have.

4) I needed to be selfish.

I wanted time for me, and I wanted time to be with Ryan - I wanted to be the best kind of selfish for 6 days - to be a queen.

My definition of selfishness:

sleeping in.
shopping without screaming.
eating in a restaurant, with no time limit.
going to the bathroom alone.
having a shower alone.
watching everything BUT cartoons.

Just to name a few :)

5) and lastly, I need a day without appointments, therapies, school, work, phone calls, drama, everything..and it felt good.

Today, we were ready to come home. We had great talks about the kids, and our friends have 2 children of their own and they were feeling the same, which was comforting. We celebrated World Autism Awareness Day at the Hoover Dam, we saw Garth Brooks in concert and sang out hearts out, we enjoyed Elvis Cirque show as I cried when our wedding song came on. We spent our time, eating, having some drinks, walking and sight seeing, also had my picture taken with Cam (heavy gay character from Modern Family)!! - and remembering that in the midst of our crazy life, we are still people that are in love, and needed time together. It was perfect.

We could not wait to get home today, all I could think about was seeing the kids, and surprising Owen when he got off the bus. When we walked through the door, Maddie ran to us, and was so excited giving big hugs and kisses, Ben didn't know how to react.. it was almost like he was mad at us, screaming and upset... then he came around. We all went for a nap, since we took the Red Eye home in the middle of the night - so I put the alarm on and was excited to see Owens reaction when he got off the bus. Bus pulls up - he walks out.. nothing. Nothing meaning no reaction, it was just another day for him.. but that's alright because we know this is how Owen deals with things - again, this is our normal.

Now we are back, fresh start after 6 days on an amazing vacation - and with the craziness this month is going to bring - we are ready :)



  1. Beautiful Post Vanessa!
    So great you can figure out what you need and express it, that's a battle won right there!
    You are so encouraging!

  2. Robyn!

    Thank you so much!! oxoxox

  3. What a fabulous post Vanessa! I imagine many parents out there are thanking you for giving them permission to tend to their own needs. Love the title too!

  4. Thank you LeeAnn.. I think, even being just normal typical parents, we always put our needs last.. which really dones't make sense.. if we are to be the best parents we can be, then we need to feel good about ourselves and love ourself so we can feel good and love our children :)

    Its amazing when things hit you, and for me, it was sitting in the airport, waiting for our puddle jumper - reliving the whole trip in my head, and I thought to myself - wow, I really did need this.