Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Moon Picture

One bit of feedback I frequently receive from people who read this blog is how much they like the picture of Tyler pointing to the moon.  They want to know if there is a story behind the photo.  And I suppose that there is...

Taking a vacation with Tyler certainly had its challenges.  There were always so many logistics that it made it hard to relax and truly unwind.  For Tyler, keeping him at a comfort level where HE could relax was just as much of a challenge.  Even a day at the beach day at the beach.  Let me give you a few examples of how a family like us has to think when taking a seemingly simple trip to the beach:

  • If we stay too many days he will get anxiety due to missing his things and routines
  • On the ride down we can't stop at a public restroom that will be crowded (he will lash out) or dirty (he touches everything)
  • We have to pack bed protectors and sheets so that if he has an accident overnight he won't ruin someone else's bedding
  • All familiar toys and DVD players need to be packed, along with wall and car chargers
  • Eating out in restaurants will be done early in the afternoon prior to dinner crowds
  • Shopping will be done during the dinner hours to avoid the evening crowd coming in
  • We know how to change a pull-up while driving on the freeway
I'm sure if I thought long enough I could come up with 20 more, but you get the idea.  It never deterred us from going, it just made us go to places that we knew we would have the best chance of success for all of us.  After all, it was important that Tyler have every opportunity to enjoy some sun on his face, and toes in the sand.  

Back to the photo....Myrtle Beach was always his favorite place other than home.  He got familiar with the condo we were using each year to the point where he recognized it and he felt a comfort level that helped everyone.  When thinking about it, it normally went pretty well and I can't think of any beach-related horror stories other than one mild jellyfish sting when he was little.  One of his most pleasurable moments came around dusk.  We would be done with dinner and a little shopping, and would come back to the room for the evening.  Traditionally we would head down to the beach, which would be absolutely empty, and just wander around.  The kids would splash in the water and explore.  Tyler liked to wade out just a little way, and look out over the horizon.  On this occasion the moon caught his eye.  He stood smiling, and over and over announced "Moon!" as though welcoming an old friend.  I snapped the photo of my boy in a truly happy and content moment.

The beach always had that effect on Tyler.  He obviously felt a comfort and a unity with it.  There was no fear, and really no threat that he would wander too far or fall into the surf.  He seemed to understand the relationship he had with the ocean, and respected it.  It was a fascinating relationship that I won't ever understand in quite that way.  I believe the sound and subtle movement are soothing for Tyler (as I understand is the case for many children on the spectrum), and I wonder what else happens in that mind as he stands there.  I'd give anything to hear what he is thinking so I can understand it.

As I've written, a very important goal to me is to someday spend my days close to the beach.  I too feel a kinship and peace with the ocean that is hard to explain.  And now that Tyler has moved away, its a place that I feel very close to him.  Its something that we shared and it may be the only place and time on this earth that we both found peace at the same time.  

Be well and God Bless.   Tom