It only took a few minutes for me to remember how much my kids love hotels.
It’s been about a year since my boys have been anywhere outside the area. With Beckett on spring break last week, we opted for a few nights at the Hyatt in Cambridge. Pam and Beckett went Wednesday for some time together, and Carson and I came after deadline and school Thursday.
Within a few minutes of the four of us being in the hotel together, it all came back to me. My kids seriously enjoy hotels, but there are pros and cons for us as parents.
Being the age when he is much cooler than his parents and always looking to flex his independence muscles, Beckett likes to venture off by himself (even if it means hanging out in a game room with his phone).
I also remembered soon after we arrived Carson is a bit of a wreck in his new surroundings the first day and especially at night when it comes to sleeping. When we traveled a lot, we knew we had to be cognizant of Carson’s difficulty with change of routine. The good thing is he’s much better now than he used to be, and he can still function just fine. He’s just a bit off. There was a time if he was off we didn’t leave the room with him because of menacing behaviors. Now he’s just clingy with his parents as his comfort level grows. There are worse things.
Since we have been at home with the boys sleeping in their own rooms for over a year, I have forgotten how active they can be in their sleep, especially when sharing a bed. On our last night, Pam awoke to Carson standing over her at 2:54 a.m. He didn’t act like anything was wrong. I walked him back to bed in his adjoining room and saw Beckett was not in bed. It was clear Carson was concerned. I had that unmistakable parent panic for about 30 seconds.
I came back to grab my phone for a flashlight and reluctantly whispered to Pam, “Beckett is not in bed.” I think I muttered something about let me check around the rooms. When I called out his name, he was in the dark bathroom in their room because “his bladder was about to explode.” He had evidently woken Carson. After way too much analyzing of the situation, both kids eventually got back in bed.
I laid down in our bed with Pam and knew I was not going straight back to bed as my heart was racing from the few terrifying moments of not knowing where our kid was. It seemed the kids were in the same boat as far as falling back asleep. They laughed for the next hour or so about who knows what, but I’m confident it was goofy stuff.
After an hour or so, we had enough. It was sweet to hear them having fun together but by 4 a.m. it was time to get back to sleep. The threat of me having Carson go in and sleep with his mom while I slept with Beckett was enough to get them straight.
I soon realized it was Beckett who was causing the trouble. I heard him say to his little brother, “Stop Carson, we need to sleep. I don’t want to sleep with stinky dad.” After a few minutes of more laughter, all was quiet again.
Inspiration is something I crave, and it comes in all sorts of forms.
Last Sunday Pam and I started our morning watching an ESPN feature on a Down Syndrome man Chris Nikic, who at 21 years old completed an Ironman competition in Florida comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run in one day. It was an emotional account of the Special Olympics athlete’s challenges, his family’s tremendous and unwavering support and the amazing work and dedication involved in the effort, including learning how to ride a bike just a year before the competition. Google Chris Nikic and watch this emotional story.
Another name to search is Ryan Lowry, a Leesburg, Va. man with Autism who became an Internet sensation with a poignant cover letter he wrote to prospective employers on LinkedIn.
The letter read, “Dear Future Employer, My name is Ryan Lowry. I am 19 years old, living in Leesburg, Virginia and I have autism. I also have a unique sense of humor, am gifted at math, really good with technology and a really quick learner.
“I am interested in a job in animation or in IT. I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do. I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you’ll be glad that you did. I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do and work really hard.
“Please let me know if you would like to talk about this with me. Thank you.”
Thankfully, many companies have made hiring with neuro-diversity a priority in human resources. Ryan has several offers and seems to be on a good track forward with a job placement.
Throughout his 11 years, we have learned to never underestimate our Autistic son. Carson’s struggles are real but his gifts are tremendous. He has value. Finding his place in an adult world will be challenging, but we have faith his life will have purpose because he works hard and wants to do well just like Chris and Ryan.