I tell you about Emily’s success, her achievements and how great she is.
That’s what I do!
I look at the positive side of almost everything… I say almost because my husband could tell you that when I have a grumpy moment, it sticks with me for a little bit before I can run through my happy list and get back to my positive self… Emily ruining my Guess flip flops at La Guardia airport making me walk barefoot at the Toronto airport was a “not funny” moment for me! I loved those over priced flip flops….!
What I struggle with is telling you about Emily’s struggles.
Well, let’s look at the conference last weekend. We arrived at the Hilton Huntington on Thursday mid-afternoon. We checked into our room and Emily got comfy.
We went down to register for the conference, walked around and waited for the welcome address.
I tried to smile and chat with other families. This is difficult for me so you can only imagine I’m not the best role model to teach her social skills but I try
We sat in the meeting room, met Rochelle than Adam, Donna and Rachel followed by Alex his little sister and his parents.
It was all going really well I thought until the microphone was tested to make sure everybody could hear the presenter…
That’s when it got bad.
Emily couldn’t stay there, too loud, too much this, too much that…. She needed out of that banquet room so badly.
I wanted to stay so Jon took her out. I thought they went back to the room but learned later that they stayed near by and slowly moved back closer to the room…
My husband is an amazing dad, he could have taken her back our room. It would have been much easier on him to do that but instead he worked with Emily. Helped her calm down and eventually return to the room.
After the welcome address, we had a new family orientation. I really wanted to stay for that and Emily was fine until 8pm came around… She knows her time and knew the new Big Time Rush movie was on so she wanted to go back to the room.
As with everything else, our world is Jon, Emily and I. When Emily can’t stay or doesn’t want to stay one of us needs to go with her, needs to be with her.
That night, Jon went back to the room with her so she could relax and watch her movie.
The next morning, she went happily to fun camp, we picked her up at lunch and got ready for our beach outing.
We had our swimsuits but decided to only dip our toes in the water…
Emily was ready to get back to the hotel before anyone else. We were supposed to be on the 2nd bus but left on the first bus. Emily was teary… She wanted back to the hotel and didn’t care about anything else…
I played her iPhone at the beach, tried to change her mind but that didn’t really work. We took the 1st bus back to the hotel and the ride was quite long. Emily tried to lay down on my lap to relax but that’s difficult at 5’7″ in a yellow school bus.
I made her sing, tried to entertain her with games on our phones but that didn’t work…
We poked her dad as he was napping on the seat in front of us. That provided maybe 5 minutes of entertainment.
I decided to try the music again and that worked till we got to the hotel. Once at the hotel we went to the pool.
They had a nice pool, we played there for maybe an hour. Emily relaxed and really enjoyed herself. She loves to play in water… She loves pools… The ocean is still not something she’s really attracted to.
We got out, showered and got ready for Rachel Coleman’s concert. We got all prettied up, woke up dad and walked to the room. The room was full and it was loud in there. In the hall, there was a teenager and a young adult in tears. They wanted to go in but couldn’t handle it.
Emily joined them, the sad face, the tears, the panicked look… She feeds off of others… Don’t get me wrong, she was completely overwhelmed by the crowd and the noise level in that room…. but the fact that she wasn’t the only one overwhelmed made it more difficult for us to help her overcome the feelings. We tried to talk to her, tried to calm her down but that didn’t work. We walked away and tried to go back but that wasn’t happening.
We sat on the couches away from the room and talked with other families for awhile than went to bed.
I don’t take pictures of Emily when her world is falling apart. I would hate for Jon to take pictures of me when I’m having a grumpy unhappy moment so I respect my daughter’s miserable moments… We give her some space, try to work with her in overcoming what’s happening to her but it doesn’t always work.
We’ve decided years ago to do our best to give Emily a great life… If it means missing a concert or if one of us has to miss a presentation to be with Emily that’s ok, we can live with that. We can brief each other on what happened… and we will continue…
What wonderful and inspiring parenting .
You so poignantly point out how important it is to stay calm and you make it sound easier than it really is!
It’s not easy. Even after 15 years, its not easy. We forget her challenges, we forget she’s not doing this on purpose…we need to remind ourselves that its too much for her, she can’t process the incoming assault of sound and light the way we do. We remind ourselves that some crowds are too much for her while others are ok. She keeps us on full alert, trying to stop the meltdown before its full on. It’s easier to bring her back if we can remove her from a situation before it reached the hands on ears and full on tears reaction. We are learning but its not easy… It’s frustrating!
I had a conversations similar to this with a friend of mine today. She was praising a mutual friend who has 6 children. Her comment was, “I look at her Facebook pictures, the kids are all so beautiful, she’s always well dressed and her hair and make up on, I don’t know how she does it!” My response was, “Those are her FB photos, we only post our best pictures on FB, who FB’s their bad pictures”
I guess it’s not obvious to all that we can decide which picture to show? LOL. I like it when people say “your daughter look so happy, she’s always smiling” referring to my FB pictures. Of course she’s smiling…. Why would I post picture of meltdowns?