This Father’s Day Gran’pa and I took the kids on an adventure. Anytime our family decides to step out of our comfort zone or routine, it’s an adventure. At almost six and just seven, we are beginning to feel comfortable going out to new places in less ‘kid-friendly’ ways.
So we set off for Massachusetts, spending half of the day with family and the other half exploring parts of Boston using public transportation. Fortunately, we had four adults for two children, which was a perfect ratio. When my daughter started dancing in the yellow area at the edge of the train platform, there were four people to help redirect or distract her. It also gave my son a little break from feeling as if he has to ‘watch out’ for his little sister. It makes me a little sad that he feels so much responsibility, yet proud that he can demonstrate such concern for others.
Raising a child with special needs requires the same balance of protection and exposure that every parent negotiates. Parenting typical kids can become easier over time though. As your child grows up, they are able to communicate better and learn the rules of being in the world. My daughter has varying degrees of these skills and can often be set off by changes in the environment. The sound of the bathroom hand dryer is often a trigger. And guess who forgot to pack the headphones to filter noise. Luckily, we have had enough practice with counting through the various noises and we used multiple prompts throughout the day.
Another part of the adventure was the Swan boat ride at Boston Gardens. We watched the ducks, swans, and pigeons as my kids ate through several snacks. We couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day and better company. We spent time with my uncle and cousin who went out of their way to make our day enjoyable. This outing was a fun way to spend Father’s Day and became a really memorable day. We can actually step out of our comfort zone and have a really positive experience. Even with the four or five meltdowns, everyone came out safe and really excited about all of the new experiences we had that day.
Often families of children with special needs isolate themselves or limit their activities. It’s simply easier to ‘not go there’. Or we don’t have the right support. Or we simply don’t have the energy. So, given all of these reasons, I am celebrating a wonderful Father’s Day Adventure in Boston and I hope we have more.