There is a place in southern Delaware, about fifteen minutes away from Ocean City, Maryland that has become the happiest and most special place in the world to my son. It is a lovely place, far from the hustle and bustle of the city; where quiet and relaxation rule the day and the busy, noisy streets of Philadelphia seem to be (at least for the moment) forgotten. It is a place where the sometimes harsh realities of autism do not play a part, and John can be free from the stress and anxiety of doctors visits and relentless therapies. Here, in this place, is where John's real personality can finally shine through and he is just a happy little boy.
This place is our summer home. The greatness of this home is not in it's size (which is fortunate as it is quite small), or in it's location (Dagsboro, though quaint, is hardly the most luxurious vacation spot), but rather in it's simplicity. While others may not recognize from it's exterior, which is usually decorated with various lighthouse ornaments and John's toys, it is the best place on Earth, because of the joy it brings to my son. The smile that lights up John's face during our two and a half hour car ride, the excited way that he babbles and laughs even before we arrive, have made this place my favorite spot in the whole world.
This Memorial Day weekend, my family and I packed up our things and headed, for the first time this year, to our tiny piece of Heaven on Earth and I once again got to see the light come back into John's eyes. As we approached, with great anticipation, our destination I looked over at my son who was humming and rocking in his car seat and said, "John, do you know where we are?" And John turned to me and smiled a big smile and gave me a look which could only mean, Yes and I love it.
The weekend was filled with small, happy moments, which many would probably take for granted, but knowing how fleeting this time we have here is, I will never be able to underestimate their importance. This weekend we rode the Merry Go Round repeatedly, and ate pizza more times than I would have liked, but, seeing John enjoying himself so freely, I could not imagine letting him down. So, we rode and we ate and we spent much time people watching, (John's favorite summer activity) and I was enjoying every second as much as John was, because I knew, in the way that parents do, that once we went home everything was going to go back to normal and I would have to wait to see John's special smile until we returned.
This week, John has multiple therapies, chromosome testing, and another evaluation by a behavioral analysis team.This is going to be nothing short of torture for him, and watching him go through it, I know I will be mentally ticking off the days, until John can go back to his hideaway.