Holidays are coming…
Any family holiday comes with its stresses and struggles. The early starts, tantrums and autism is not left behind at home. We often share our smiliest photos on social media which might give the impression of a ‘perfect’ holiday.
For us, holidays have often been really special times but there are always struggles. I often say ‘we are hoping for some perfect moments not perfect days.’
We are very fortunate that H can manage a new place, different crockery and bed as well as unfamiliar surroundings – not all with ASD would manage a holiday at all!
Ironically H can often be easier on holiday compared to a week at home without the familiar routines. He doesn’t have the same expectations of Monday-Friday when we are physically in a different place. It might also be because he gets a lot more treats and attention on holiday, so what’s not to love?!
Before having children I imagined school holidays to be the best thing ever, picking up excited children on the last day of term with the prospect of being at home together. Our family holidays growing up were such special times and a real highlight of my childhood, I hoped to recreate this with my own family.
This ‘life we never expected’ means this is not the case. The build up to holidays make H as anxious as he is excited. The week before we can see behaviour changes, reduced language and lots of meltdowns.
H is at his worst on packing up day. I think he is fearful he won’t be coming with us, although I am never totally sure as he cannot tell me. He keeps checking where everyone is, shouts a lot and likes to be close to the car. We now leave each place as early as we can so it’s less stress on that day for all of us or even better is the night before!
A perfect moment…
We have such fond and ‘rose tinted’ memories from our holidays and often only remember the best bits! This weekend we got to have a mini-break as essential work is being done on our house. My favourite moment this time was when H and his youngest brother were on a ride together and H intentionally made eye contact with him, made him laugh and they giggled together. So precious and is a reminder that life is #notwithouthope.
On a side note I really recommend Butlin’s holidays for families especially those with children with additional needs. The staff are so lovely, patient and kind. There is a structure to every day with different things on and familiar events. There’s lots of outside space, most of the extras are free and they offer a discount for carers. If you can get over the mixed stereotypes about this place your honestly in for a treat!
I realise that holidays are not a life essential and we we are so blessed to have any at all. With a husband who works from home leaving our small sphere is good for all of us, but relaxing it is not! The days are long, but the years go quick, so we try and make the most of each day.
Smiley holiday snaps to follow on Instagram – @alibourne.85
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels