Sunday, May 31, 2009
Walk for Autism
Yesterday was the Walk for Autism. It was a little over 3 miles long and I was looking forward to walking. Then I found out that hubby was working and I was going to have both children with me that day. I knew my son could handle the walk, he would complain but he could do it. my daughter however was the wild-card. I thought she could do it, but wasn't sure. I could have loaded up the wagon, but my trunk was too small and I wasn't driving his car.
We had mere minutes between the soccer game that morning and when we had to leave for the walk. Somehow in that time I managed to get the kids changed into new outfits and refill the water bottle then get a snack in. I felt like super mommy. To the walk we went. Both kids were excited and when we pulled into the parking lot were even more excited. There was a huge playground and lots of things for children to do.
I found out where registration was and as we approached who saw Sabertooth. The kids were yelling hello to Sabertooth and of course he couldn't hear them, it was crowded and noisy and he was a bit of a distance away. That didn't stop them from trying to get his attention and after a few moments it paid off. Sabertooth came up to my children like they were old friends, he scooped up my daughter into his fuzzy arms and held on tight. Her brother attached himself to the mascot with a huge bear hug. It was like a reunion of old friends. In the moment I managed to get my camera out and get a photo of the reunion.
We got registered and received our t-shirts and a canvas bag. I wanted to change into the shirt, the kids only had eyes for the playground. It was like they were being pulled towards it by a tractor beam. I let them win this round, it was a pretty cool playground. If I were a child I would be all about the playground too.
The first task was to figure out how to get into the playground. The school had put child safe gates into the fence around the playground. Usually that means the kids know how to open them and it's the adults that have problems figuring out how to open them. It took about 4 - 5 adults to open the gate and even then we did it wrong (I figured out the correct way later on). The first step into the playground was onto a cushioned surface to walk on. It was so comfortable to walk on that I felt like I could bounce on it.
They were off, one went this way and the other went that way. Mommy was barely a thought in their heads. He found an obstacle course complete with a rock wall and she had found a slide. The joy on their faces was beautiful to look at. I found a bench to sit on as I watched them play. They played with all the other children like they had been friends forever. The children were on the autism spectrum and neurotypical. It was wonderful to watch.
Then of course we had to make a potty stop before the walk started. No Mommy we don't have to go, we want to play in the playground. The battle I had to fight to get them to leave the playground was intense, but as usual Mommy wins. Yes, they did need to use the potty they realized and I got a chance to put on the T-Shirt. The walk was about to start and somehow we managed to stumble upon the front of the line as we left the building. The walk had begun and so had the complaints.
The walk was to long, we weren't walking fast enough, people were passing us, the birds were ducks not geese, why are people turning around, we want to rest, we want a break, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty... I would often just reply with I love you because I knew it was difficult for them. Somehow we all managed to complete the walk and make it back for lunch.
(They were geese)
After we ate the playground beckoned again and the kids played on everything as long as they were allowed to. It is no exaggeration that I say we were one of the last families to leave. While I was watching them play one little boy adopted me and would sit next to me and scoot closer and closer to me. He would give me hugs and constantly walk up to me. It was adorable. I get so mad when people assume that children with autism are all distant and don't interact with other people. That is the case sometimes but just as often it's not.