This is an apology letter to anyone we may have woken up between the hours of 4 and 5am this morning at the Holiday Inn Express we stayed at last night.
No one was dying.
No one was drunk.
No one was being beaten.
It was just our son being dragged to the car to catch our 6:30am flight back home.
Let me back up a bit.
We took a long weekend trip to upstate NY for celebrate my Mother-in-law's 80th birthday. It was to be a very low key weekend, but did require us to take 2 airplanes to get there with limited flights. So we did what we always do... prep for the worst and hope for the best. We wrote a social story about the trip. Prepped the boy as best we could, and off we went! Mike and I were both a bit leery due to our son's recent behavior. Meltdowns, tantrum and overall non-compliance has been the norm the past few weeks. But things were settling down, so maybe we would get lucky.
The trip there was perfect. Flights on time, good kid that listened well, bags retrieved from being checked-in. All was well. JJ was so excited to be in New York, He was so happy to see his Grandma, Aunt and Uncle. He even loved our rental car and hotel room. It was a very relaxing few days.
On Sunday night, we did cake and candles for Grandma. Her birthday is actually on Wednesday, but we were not going to be there at that time. This was not overlooked by JJ. He FLIPPED OUT when we sang "Happy Birthday" because it wasn't really Grandma's birthday. And he wanted to sing a different birthday song, but no one knew the song he wanted to sing. We knew we were treading into dangerous territory, so we hurried ourselves up and got back to the hotel room to get some sleep.
He knew we had to get up early. He was telling us all weekend that we would leave at 4:45 and that we would wake up at 3. It was in the book.
No dice. 4am rolled around. Mike and I were getting our stuff together. JJ would not move from sleep. Like a sleeping Giant, if you will. We cuddled him, and gave him kisses. Rubbed his back and talked smoothly to pry him from sleep.
All we got was "No! I want to sleep all day. We will go home tomorrow."
We set the timer to get him moving into his daily morning routine.
We wrote more books.
We negotiated a 4:46 departure time.
We did everything we could. I even told him he could go to the airport in just his underwear.
So you see, we were getting no where. I had to pick him up. It was 4:47 after-all!
He screamed like bloody murder. He wanted his clothes on. We put them on. He wanted different pants. All the pants were already packed away and in the car. His negotiating was not getting us anywhere.
So I grabbed him, hoisted him up as far as I could. Mike scooped everything up from the room. And JJ just screamed as we went down the hallway, into the elevator, down the elevator and into the lobby.
He screamed like I was killing him; taking out his toe nails one by one. But we just had to do it. We had to leave.
Thankfully the front desk guy was so nice. He told Mike not to worry, the hotel was not that full, and he had a little one at home too. Mike asked, "With Autism?" The guy said, "No. But I know how kids can be."
We got him to calm down in the lobby, changed his pants, and made our way. He walked out on his own accord to the car...no need to carry him. In the dark on the drive to the airport, I held his hand... me in the front seat, him in the back. He whimpered. He said, "I am sad. I was crying." And then he relaxed, looked out the window and said, "It is dark. Soon the sun will be peaking up!"
At this point, we knew we were OK. Our boy was back from him tantrum and was so much better.
That's when I cried.
Not because it sucked (because it did.)
Not because I was exhausted (because I was).
I cried because he is so tortured, and there is nothing I could do in the situation but to physically move him.
He has made so so so much progress in the past few years, but it was one of those times that remind us that yes, he has Autism. And it is not easy.
And we will never, ever, ever book a 6:30am flight again.
PS. We made it home without further incident. We are so glad we all made it home in one piece. Now off to schedule that massage appointment.
PPS. If you are reading this, and we did wake you up, please know a donation is being made to an Autism charity in your name. And we are really sorry!