Happy New Year! I hope you are all embarking on a new year with resolve, happiness and conviction. You can do anything. Don't let New Years resolutions stress you out.
I had to prove I could do anything today. Here's what happened.
My children's birthdays are the same week as Christmas. So this year we took all their birthday money and Christmas presents from our family and friends and became annual passholders at Disneyland Resort. I feel blessed and fortunate that we can do this for our kids.
Tonight we had no extra therapy after school, all my chores were done, and Daddy was home from work early and could stay home with our sick 4-year-old. I kidnapped my 6-year-old for a quick Disney visit. This completely blew his structure and routine, so I knew I was asking for a major meltdown. But I hoped for the best. His first visit to Cars Land in California Adventure a couple weeks ago brought pure joy and excitement, which is rare since he is autistic and non-verbal.
In our home we watch "Cars" everyday, which is why my son recognizes the area, and if you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. You really and truly feel like you walked into Radiator Springs, "the cutest little town in Carburetor County."
After watching the Pixar Parade we rode a couple of small rides that I knew he would enjoy, and the smiles and joy I saw on his face were just epic. It filled my heart with nothing but joy. Being that my son has developmental challenges and delays I do get a guest assistance pass that basically lets us go into most rides through the exit and get on without waiting in line. It helps my son with the crowds—standing around for a long period of time would completely ruin his time and the time of everyone around us. So I do feel incredibly lucky that Disney sees autism as a disability and provides us with this pass.
As we used our pass to get on a ride with a 30-minute line, there was this guy.
You know this guy.
He had a big mouth. As a mother you want to punch this guy in the throat for being such a jerk. As we got on the ride, he started exclaiming.
Him: "What, is her money better than mine?!"
The Disney cast member: "Sir, they have a special pass that requires him to get special assistance."
The neanderthal: "Yeah, sure, he looks fine, there is nothing wrong, I'm calling B.S. on his mother and Disney."
And then the white hot rage in my belly came forth, but all that came out of my mouth was, "You should probably stop talking now, because I will own you everyday and twice on Sunday because you know not what you speak and you do NOT want me to humiliate your ignorant self in front of all these lovely people."
And the tears welled up in my eyes and I got on the ride with the most precious gift in my life and put my arm around him and felt horrible that there are humans that are so rude and clueless. If you think autism is a picnic and I fake it to get a Disneyland special access pass, you need to be mentally evaluated. Yes, it makes my life easier at Disneyland to have a pass and it helps my kids enjoy their time at Disney much better.
I would give up the access pass in a nanosecond if my kids didn't have Autism. Their lives are so challenging and difficult, forever.
- There will always be the thug and bully that was raised by the jerk in line who will want to pick on them.
- There will always be the challenge with their motor skills to do things appropriately.
- There will always be issues with sensory overload, there will always be social skills issues.
- There will always be this lack of awareness in others.
This pass turns a crowded, sensory-overloading nightmare into a "Very Happy Place" for my kids. Not the "Happiest Place on Earth" yet, but it really helps.
If you are a naysayer that believes I'm faking and want to cut in line because it's easy, I'm sorry you are so ignorant, unhappy and angry at the world. Maybe you should look at your own kids who have no issues (except that jerk they have for a parent) and be grateful and happy because your kids:
- were potty trained at 3 years old
- go to school and do homework without a yearly meeting with a team of people trying to decide what is best for your kid
- play on a sports team, or some other socially-involved club
- have regular play dates and friends
- sleep through the night at 6 years old
- cognitively understand you when you say something
- can dress themselves, and feed themselves... (shall I go on?)
Until you've walked five feet in my shoes you and your unhappiness and jaw jacking to embarrass someone in public serve no purpose.
I look forward to challenging and helping my kids get social skills this year and I have a huge tool that will help me. I hope and pray you can smile at us and know how truly happy we are growing and moving forward with the obstacle of autism. By allowing us to "cut in front" of the line you are helping make that lesson possible.