Now Reading: This Year's Vacation = Maturity & Lemonade… (with pics!)

This Year's Vacation = Maturity & Lemonade… (with pics!)

(originally written & published on August 20, 2014)

It’s Wednesday at 10:54am and we are more than halfway thru our 10 day, upstate NY, lake vacation. 

And things are going really well. The king is having a really GREAT time, and therefore so are wifey and I.
We come here to the same town, same hotel/resort every year.  And this year’s vacation is all about maturity & that stupid expression “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

Here I’ll explain…

We usually come for 7 days. This year we splurged for 10 days. And I’m glad we did cuz it usually takes us 3-4 days to settle in and figure out which Kyle we have with us. And how to make the most of this trip for him. 
Like right now.  Kyle is napping. 

Every day since we’ve been here he gets up at his usual time 7:30am-ish) but needs a late-morning nap 10:30am-ish. 
In the old days that would frustrate wifey & me. “He’s missing out on valuable sunshine and lake time!”
But this year we are making lemonade and respecting his late morning nap and working it into our schedule. We try to do some stuff together before the nap (lake time, breakfast out, etc) and then give him every opportunity to nap when we get back. 
We are respecting these late morning naps partially because we have matured, partially because we’ve got 10 days here so we figure he’ll get plenty of lake time, and partially because the naps may be due to seizure activity. 
Yes, he’s been a little seizurey since we’ve been here. Most have been small, and they seemed to be mostly in the morning. So we let him have his naps.  And during his 60-90 minutes of slumber we use them to our advantage.  (making lemondade out of lemons)
I went for a run during two,  wifey did yoga lakeside during two, we “made sandwiches” during one (that’s code for something :-), and wifey is doing a little gift shopping during today’s nap.  
Hopefully he’ll be up around noon and we’ll head down to the lake and meet up with a bunch of wifey’s family. 
As I said we come here every year.  Usually some of wifey’s family comes up to overlap with us for a part of our trip. 
This year 10 people came up.  And Kyle seems really happy to have them around. 
And wifey and I are also happy to have them around too…for the obvious reasons:  we love them and they are great… and for the selfish reasons that they might not even realize… 
Having a bunch of family members around makes us
focus on Kyle a little less.  We are not on too of him as much watching his every move which is good for us and great for him. We’re having adult conversations so we’re not as focused on his breath holding or his saliva play. 
And his pattern of stimming with sand?  
Going in to the lake up to his ankles grabbing two handfuls of wet sand and then throwing or placing it onto the beach.  Repeat over and over and over. 
If it was just the 3 of us it might be driving us a little batty and we’d be trying to redirect him. With other family around we use the stimming to our advantage and work with it.   We make lemondade…
With family around we think:
“He’s happily stimming with the sand which means he won’t leave that general area which means we can go up on the dock and have a sandwich and maybe an adult beverage with the rest of the family and keep an eye on him from up there.”

Ok, so I’ve talked a lot about lemonade, but where’s all this maturity I’m talking about?

Well the maturity is twofold.  This vacation has felt easier (so far!) than in years past because Kyle has matured some and equally important, the wife & I have matured some.

Kyle’s maturity sneaks up on us, but when we are on vacation it’s easier to spot because we can easily compare one year’s vacation to the next (especially since we come to the same place and do the same things every year).  But here’s an example of Kyle’s maturity…

We can be in the room for longer stretches of time.  He is not boucing off the walls.  He can sit on the couch with his ipad and occupy himself for pretty long stretches 

and even sit at the table and have a snack without getting up every 4 seconds.

Wifey noticed it in the simplest way yesterday.  It was late afternoon, I was showering and she was rinsing out our bathing suits and brought them to dry in the sun on the table & chairs outside of our room.  She came back in and said “I just brought the bathing suits outside without even telling you…even something as simple as that I wouldn’t have been able to do years ago… I would’ve had to warned you, ‘watch Kyle I’m going outside for a minute’ because in the old days he’d be opening the door, or trying to take the pictures off the walls, but because he’s being so mature I didn’t hesitate for a second…”


And wifey and I are getting more mature and are more ok on vacation with dealing with the hand we are dealt. 
Here’s what I mean. 
The big village we are near is a big throwback to an old days vacation spot. There’s mini golf, arcades, ice cream parlors, etc. All things Kyle would hate or be indifferent about. 
As I said earlier when we have family up here we spend some lake time and some meals together and the rest of the time we each do our own thing. 
So after dinner the conversation always goes to “should we do GoKarts tonight or mini golf” 
Meanwhile my 11 year old is yawning like crazy and annoyed that he’s not in bed already. 
In the old days I would feel sad or jealous  of all the stuff they were doing…all the stuff that Kyle was missing out on…
But I guess I’ve matured (or my antidepressants are REALLY working) cuz this year I am fine with the fact that by 9:00pm Kyle is asleep and wifey & I are in our room in our PJ’s watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” repeats on TV Land while some family are in the village at the arcade. 
I think I realized that I was the one who felt sad. I was the one who was jealous. Kyle wouldn’t like most of that stuff. So he really wasn’t missing out on anything.
And the same goes for other families that we come across. Am I jealous of the father that I see going out fishing with his son at 6am?  
Am I jealous of the families that I see that rent boats & go water skiing?
But that jealousy only lasts for a few minutes now not for a few hours. 
Because I’ve come to the realization (the maturity) that fishing, waterskiing, etc is not part of the hand we were dealt. We were dealt the autism & epilepsy hand.  And I’ve come to accept that and try to have the best vacation we can have. And do mostly things according to Kyle’s likes and needs while once in a while being selfish and pushing him out of his comfort zone to do something we like, like a dinner out at a restaurant or fireworks. 
And I know this post has not really been about Kyle it’s been more about me and how I’m dealing with things… but that’s because I’m the one with the issues here. 
Kyle is having an awesome time. 
That’s all there is to say about him. He is happy and smiling a whole lot and soaking it all in. 
Here’s a pic from early this morning (before his nap) that I feel encapsulates everything I’ve been writing about. His happiness, his & my maturity, and lemonade…

That’s it.  THE END.  Over and out!
Peace and love my friends!


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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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9 People Replies to “This Year's Vacation = Maturity & Lemonade… (with pics!)”

  1. "Heart Child" is a documentary film about twenty-nine-year-old Crys Worley, who is the mother of a nine-year-old autistic child, Sasha. It is a remarkable story about a mother's struggles, not only with her own health, but the well being of her son. Committed to never giving up on Sasha, and inspired by the challenges parents of autistic children face, she started a non-profit organization, called A.Skate – Autism. Skating with Kids through Acceptance, Therapy, and Education. This film documents her extraordinary journey.

    www [DOT] cultureunplugged [DOT] com/documentary/watch-online/play/51059/HeartChild

  2. We have done the same and vacationed in the same place for years. It is pretty amazing when you spot a difference, no matter how slight. I get the whole jealousy thing at some of the things other parents can do. I think that will always be around at certain times. Having a right old giggle about "making sandwiches". Will try that with hubby (for fun) and delight in the look on his face !

  3. I relate somewhat to your story. Our son Daniel is on the autism spectrum and also developed epilepsy at age 14. He is still on meds but has been seizure free for almost 10 years now. He is 29 married, and has a full-time job. If you'd like to read our story, I'm happy to send you my book "I Would Have Said Yes". Blessings, Lisa

  4. Anonymous

    So good to hear that you are having a great (and well deserved) vacation! I hope things will continue to stay the same when you get home. Keep us posted!

  5. You and wifey are awesome parents !

  6. Anonymous

    Congratulations on a great vacation and these amazing strides. No matter who you are or the hand you're dealt, it can sometimes be hard to not look around and be not even envious, just aware, of what other people have going on. But sitting back, relaxing, and realizing you've got it pretty damn good too is a liberating feeling! Here's to lemonade!

  7. Dose he like to play with his couisn in the water an stuff

  8. Anonymous

    I work in SEN schools over in the UK and have been reading your posts for a while.
    I don't really get to chat to the parents of the young people I work with a huge amount so your blog makes for a fascinating and thought provoking read. Maturity is an interesting term, as a 27 year old the word still baffles me, but I love that you put it in the same bracket as a realisation and take positivity from it. It's been great reading your holiday has, for the most part, gone well!

    Enjoy the rest of it brother, Love from the other side of the pond and huge, huge respect to you and your wife.

  9. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing.

    My son is also severe on the spectrum, but doesn't have epilepsy of any type.
    We've only known about Elisha's (6 years old in September) Autism for about a year and a half now, and I feel like I'm just now starting to get a handle on accepting it and trying to be the best I can for him.

    It sounds like you're maturing a lot, in a way that is inspiring to me. You seem to be closer to the place that I'd like to be in terms of acceptance with Eli.

    Here's to your continued growth! Blessings to you and your family.