In my family, we love to celebrate! Holidays are a biggie, decorations a must. And if you know me at all, you know that I have an emergency stash of latex balloons, streamers and cute blow-out poppers that can be pulled out at a moment's notice.
Today marks my son's 17th birthday. His 17th year of not really getting into the festivities.
My son, Jac, has autism. So the people, the fuss, the noise and the not being able to figure out how to blow out candles has all just been too much for him. It's taken me 17 years of learning and of being disappointed that the birthday celebration I had in mind was not the birthday celebration he had in mind.
As the years went by, I finally got the hang of birthdays that are fun for Jac. His favorite thing in the world is going to a hotel. He can go swimming and have total control over his portable DVD player.
So again this year we went to a hotel and took him to a special lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. As luck would have it, we went to the restaurant first and that was perfect. Jac was smiling ear to ear. He enjoyed the various animals coming to life, the multiple fish tanks throughout the restaurant, and just getting to hang out with his favorite person in America, his brother.
We told the wait staff that it was his birthday but not to do the happy sing-song thing. We still weren't sure how he would take that. But the cupcake with 3-inch frosting was literally the icing on the cake! It all worked for Jac.
So there you have it, no streamers, no balloons, just a hotel, a pool, and sitting under a rainforest making memories!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.