Thursday, December 29, 2011


I get the sense that every post I write during or after a holiday or vacation with Conor ends up discussing the same aspect of parenting my child with autism.

Honestly, I feel like the skin over my entire body has been scraped fifty times with the edge of a dull spoon, rubbed raw with unbearable stress and anxiety. It’s truly a physical sensation. 

Eventually it goes away, with the start of school and a good dose of red wine. (And maybe a ladies’ night next week, but don’t tell my husband just yet.)

Of course, I’m just coming off of four days of intense family togetherness, brought on by the Christmas holiday and travelling 744 miles in three days in the back seat with Conor to visit my in-laws in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

At one point, having bested our nemesis on the return trip (the New Jersey Turnpike, that mangy curr), we ran into a wall of traffic on I95 in northern Maryland. (Oh Maryland, My Maryland, how you disappointed me so.)

Oh, we tried our best to hold it together.  We’d been in the car since 8:30am, after all, and it was now 2:45pm.  We’d stopped once in New York for a pit stop, watched movies, ate our snacks, listened to our CDs, took naps, played iTouches and iPhones.

Then, WHAM! The wall of traffic.  It was like the parking lot before a Ravens game, without the burgers and beer.  No movement.  Nada.  Not going anywhere.

The GPS teased us, saying we had only 48 minutes more to go and yet… it took us 45 minutes to go the mile to the nearest exit for a detour around the parking lot that was now the interstate.  (Construction, according to my iPhone traffic app.)

You could feel the tension building in the car as Conor became more and more insistent that we get going already.

“Want the traffic to not be stopping!” he squealed, shifting quickly around in his seat.

“I know, Conor, we all want that,” I replied quietly. Oh no, I thought to myself.  It's starting.

“Want the three thousand cars to be moving!” he whined even louder and gesticulating wildly at the traffic in front of us.

“It certainly does look like three thousand cars,” I agreed, trying to keep him calm.  “You’re doing a great job being calm and on Level 3, sweetie.”  Level 3 is the place to be! 

Please, dear God, don’t have a tantrum in the car again, I can’t handle that right now.

“Want to be at Conor’s house!”  Oh man, he was really getting amped up. I felt nauseous.

Luckily, we finally made it to the exit and, thanks to the GPS (that tease), we were able to wind our way home by another route.  Good ol' Pulaski Highway.

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