The Price of Guilt
Should I or shouldn't I?
I can't decide. This was supposed to be a family vacation and while I know Grammy and Papa were coming so that they could watch the Doodle at the hotel and do other things with him if Disneyland was too much for his little brain to handle--it's still hard.
Jim and I talked about leaving early. We're set to leave Sunday and drive home. We bought a 3 day park hopper pass and we talked about how 2 days is enough here for us. We've had two full days and have experienced the magic of both parks. So if we left tomorrow and cut day 3 out I would be fine. Jim would be fine. It's Jimmy that would be devastated.
We don't go on a lot of family vacations; because of the Doodle and because Jim is not a big vacation guy. It's a rarity that he takes time off work.
Jimmy's been having so much fun and why wouldn't he? He's ten. He could spend a week at Disneyland and not get tired of it. He will happily go on the same ride over and over. And I get that. This is a big deal for him. It just sucks that we don't have our whole family enjoying this time together. And how stressful it is to take the Doodle out in to public places in full blown autism mode.
So, Grammy and Papa offered to leave a day early and take the Doodle home.
As much as I hate it, and feel sad and guilty about it, I think it's for the best. I have to remember we have another very special little boy here and it's not fair to cut his vacation short because the Doodle is bored, OCD and over-stimulated. Jimmy misses out on things and gets told that a lot already-- Sorry we can't--because of the Doodle. Or we have to leave--because of the Doodle. It must be pretty hard to understand when you're ten.
Today we all had the Character Breakfast together and it worked out fine because we planned ahead, like so many parents of autistic children must do. There is no waiting in line or waiting for a table with the Doodle. He doesn't understand the concept of waiting. He's like Burger King and he only wants it his way.
We made a reservation in advance and then we went ahead of Grammy and Papa who walked around with the Doodle outside, and we got seated at our table and I went and got him his pancakes so that when they brought him in to the restaurant, he sat down and immediately ate his breakfast. Some of the Disney characters came around and took pictures with the kids. The Doodle isn't too sure about these giant Goofys and Plutos and Chipmunks. He seems to kind of like them or at least be intrigued by them. And I think Cinderella was hitting on Jimmy. We got some great pictures today.
After breakfast we went to California Adventure Land and met up with our cousins. Jimmy loves spending time with his cousins. The Doodle stayed at the hotel and went to the Pool at the Hotel...a very nice pool and hot tub with Grammy and Papa. He loved the hot tub. We brought his life jacket and my mom said he was very relaxed and peaceful when in the hot tub.
But now he doesn't like coming back up to the room. He wants to go in the stroller as if he is totally hip to where we are and what he's missing. He's got a couple of new things he likes to do: ride up and down the escalator and ride up and down the elevator at the hotel. Oh boy.
All day I felt sad. And bad. And guilty for leaving one of my favorite little people back at the hotel. What kind of mom am I? And every time we took a family picture there was one very special person missing out of it and I could just cry. Then I had to remind myself that it was for the better. Right? That I couldn't let the Doodle ruin Jimmy's vacation in Disneyland. That Jimmy will remember this for the rest of his life and chances are, the Doodle won't; and who knows when we will ever be able to come back.
I'm so used to the chaos of having an autistic child now that when he's not around to worry about, I'm not sure what to do with myself. It feels odd and vacant, like I'm forgetting something.
Since everything is already paid for, Jim and I talked and we are letting Grammy and Papa drive the Doodle home. At least he will be comfortable back in his own home, that's what I'm telling myself anyway. I just hope it will be an OK 8 HOUR drive for Grammy and Papa and that they remembered to bring their ear plugs and Tylenol.
I know I will be missing him and feeling really guilty even though it's just one night.