Today was a travel day. We flew from Portland to Phoenix and then to Detroit and then drove 90 minutes to Lansing to spend 10 days with Grandma and your Michgan family. Usually travel days are pretty challenging for you. You hate wearing the seatbelt on the airplane and the constant noise level in the planes tend to get you overstimulated and halfway through the flight you tend to melt down and need a lot of redirection.
Today was not that day. To be quite honest, today ROCKED. From the moment we got to the airport to the moment we got to Grandmas house, you were amazing. You asked for your seatbelt and you wore it the whole time without incident. The first 2.5 hour flight you spent your time exploring a new coloring book and pack of stickers, you sang some songs and watched the clouds and exclaimed "It's beautiful!" as we flew over the Grand Canyon. When it was time to land you didn't complain about having to put your tray table up and you thought the landing experience was like a rollercoater shouting "wooooah! Woooooah!!!!" as we touched down and slammed on the breaks. When it was time to get off the plane you were really reluctant to wait as you exclaimed "I have to go potty!" but we didn't make it to the toilet on time and you had a wet diaper.
You transitioned to the second plane with complete ease and again buckled up and went back to work on your coloring books and stickers. Eventually you played with your iPad a little and watched some Curious George episodes, but for the most part you were content with your pens and coloring books and to watch the clouds go by and to tell them all about whatever was in your head. I happily spent most of both flights knitting and reading my book, it's been years since I've had the freedom to do that on a flight!
When we landed in Detroit you again exclaimed that you had to go potty, and we rushed to the toilet where you sat, but couldn't pee but then soaked through your diaper (that had been DRY!) while I used the potty. You seemed really bummed that you'd wet your pants but since you were in a dress, it didn't really matter! You waited so calmly and patiently by my side while we waited and waited for our luggage and then when you saw Grandma you were SO SO SO excited to see her that you could hardly contain yourself. (And you made her pretty darn happy too!)
We then went out to dinner and you ate well (and were a little overstimulated but then we all were) and we had to help you chill out with some iPad puzzles. You tried 4x to pee on the potty, and every time you thought you had to go you ran as fast as you could to the bathroom and it was the cutest thing in the world to see you running down the aisle shouting "I have to go potty!" to everyone in the restaurant. (they have no idea how awesome it was, the fools).
You had some tough moments on the drive from Detroit to Lansing but again were able to chill and focus with some iPad puzzles and when we arrived at Grandma's house you immediately ran for the potty and peed. I thought I would cry I was so proud of you! Then you spent a good 45 minutes chasing Leo the dog and wearing both of you out. By then it was 10:30 local time, and 7:30 home time, and you'd been up since before 5 am, and my dear, you just lost it. You ran for the shower and whimpered through most of it and happily jumped into bed. You were plum tuckered out.
My dear sweet Ruby, in many ways today was just like any other day, you struggled to communicate, you had emotional melt downs and you got overstimulated and over sensitive. But in many other ways, it was a day without autism, or at least without Autism with a capital A. You approached many challenges and you met them head on and moved through them with ease and grace. You communicated your needs and dislikes and understood when you couldn't have your way. You listened to your body, and asked to use the potty when you thought you needed to, and had success!
In many ways, today was a little vacation from autism, and it was a lovely one at that. Seeing you struggle less and succeed more fills my heart with such joy, I have no words to describe how happy it makes me to see you pass through the world aroud you with ease, your challenges and disabilities virtually un-noticed by others. Autism will always be a part of how your brain works, and how we all exist in this world, but seeing you today reminds me that it won't always keep you from successfully navigating the world around you, and it reminds me that I should never underestimate your awesomeness.
My, darling, amazing girl, quite frankly, you blow my mind.
All my love, and even more tomorrow, Mama.