Last week a few families from our life group decided to load up our collective 14 children and 8 adults and venture 5 hours away to vacation at the Great Wolf Lodge.
Yep, 14 children and 8 adults.
Yep, we’re crazy.
Packing for my family is a huge task, even if it’s only for three days. Packing for a teenager, three seven-year olds and an infant boarderlines on insanity.
My biggest challenge was planning for what obstacles our seven-year old autistic daughter would face on this trip.
Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel with an indoor water park. It’s massive. The lobby is like Vegas for kids. Lights are flashing, music is blaring, arcade machines are cha-chinging. There’s a build-a-bear station, fake tattoos, pedicure salon, pizza parlor, ice cream station and so much more.
If I was overwhelmed I can’t imagine what was going on in my little girl’s head.
Then there iss the actual water park. Slides, wave pool, lazy river, a huge bucket that dumps water, hot tub, life guards with whistles and on and on.
You would have to be a parent of an autistic child to truly grasp how intimidating this can be, not only for your child but for yourself as well.
I was on pins and needles the first day waiting for the melt down.
It never happened.
My sweet little girl never missed a beat.
She hit the grounding running and we had to rush to catch up with her.
I watched waves crash in her face.
I watched her speed down the slides.
I watched her float the lazy river.
I watched her smile from ear to ear.
Thank you, God.
Late that night while everyone else was hanging out in the lobby, Justin and I went to bed. I thought she was sound asleep and I was about 5 seconds behind her. Then I heard her little voice.
” I don’t ever want this to end”
And it was like sweet music.
She’s braver than I could ever be. I fear her autism for her but most of the time she doesn’t even know it’s there. I always but on my brave face for her and for anyone around me but inside my heart pounds for what might be going on in her precious mind.
She always amazes me.
Autism Speaks….oh and how sweet the sound is.
I want to be brave like Justin. I want the freedom that she has to completely be who God made her to be without any worry of what the world expects of her. I want to be as confident as my little girl. I want her honesty, her fearlessness, her humor and her smile. I want the courage it takes to let the waves crash in my face, speed down the slide and calmly float the lazy river.
I want to be strong enough to lay in bed at night and instead of stressing over what tomorrow might bring, I want to calmly whisper ” I never want this to end.”