How Crazy Am I?

So what kind of vacation do you plan when you have an autistic child who hates crowds?  Why a trip to the Winter Olympics, of course!

No, I’m not kidding.  I am exactly that crazy.  I am an olympic fanatic, I love everything about the games.  When I was a child my parents would let us stay up late for two weeks to watch all the events.  When the Olympics were in Salt Lake City, Utah, I couldn’t afford to go but the torch ran through our town.  I went to watch it pass by and after the event was over, I ran into one of the torch bearers.  He let me hold it with him and I got the most amazing picture!  Seriously, it is even better than my wedding photos.

When I first heard the announcement that Vancouver had won the 2010 olympics, well before we had even a hint that something about G was atypical, I started making plans.  And throughout our diagnostic path I’ve never given up on those plans.  This is either going to be the best experience of our lives or one of the worst.  We’ve traveled with G pretty extensively around the country.  He loves airplanes so air travel has always been pretty easy.  He does reasonably well in hotels, particularly if the hotel has a pool.  I’ve rented a two bedroom condo in Whistler in a complex with a pool and hot tub.  This gives us the flexibility of stocking the fridge so G can snack at will and we can make some dinners at home.  The ski resort is open for business during the games so we’ll be able to get out and have some active fun.

The tricky part is going to be actually seeing the 3 events to which I have tickets because in the last year G has developed an aversion to crowds and has always been sensitive to noise and chaos.  We’re going to attempt to see aerial skiing, ski jumping and bobsledding.  I think he’ll find the first two events entertaining.  I’m particularly worried about bobsledding since spectators ring bells and noisemakers.  We’ll be bringing his noise cancelling headphones, an ipod loaded with his favorite videos and the handheld video game system he uses to tune out sensation.  Our ski town is hosting some qualifying events in December and we plan to use them as a test to see how G reacts and to see if our planned preparations help him cope.  We watched the Summer Olympics together and I got him pumped about seeing the winter games.  And he loves playing Mario and Sonic Summer Olympics on the Wii.  You can be sure we’ll be getting the Winter Games version very soon so he can start learning about the events.

As a last resort, my awesome DH has said he’ll take G out of the arena and walk him around or find a quieter place so I can see as much of the event as possible.  This wonderful, thoughtful offer makes me feel like crap.  It makes me realize I am definitely placing my desires and dreams above G’s needs in this respect.  I’m doing everything I can think of to prepare him and make him comfortable, but in the end this is all about me.  I’ve always wanted to do this and can’t pass up an opportunity when the games are so close.  Or more truthfully – I won’t pass up the opportunity. 

On the other hand, I wonder about the way mothers place their needs dead last in favor of the needs of their spouses and children.  Particularly if the child has a special need or disability.  Is it really healthy to place a higher value on the needs of everyone else all the time?  Isn’t it ok to pursue a dream of our own once in a while?  Yes, I’m justifying now.  The fact is, we’re doing this no matter what.  I hope this is going to be a fantastic experience.  But I’m ready to accept the consequences if it turns out to be horrible.

Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 10:51 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Go for it!!! You’ve got a back up plan with your DH. Plus, although it may be challenging, you are exposing G to something new -asking him to step out of his comfort zone. It may not work but you’re giving it a go.

    • Thanks, Gillian!

  2. I just stumbled across your blog and I love this post! I think it’s fantastic that you’re going (and I am very jealous, lol) and I think you’re doing a great thing for G. Go into it thinking it is going to be a positive, fun experience. There might be some issues along the way, but, overall, it will be totally worth it. Have a fantastic time…I will be watching here in Ontario ;o)

    • Thank you! I still get attacks of nerves from time to time, but overall we’re getting very excited!

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