Holidays, Family Gatherings and Autism

by J

Ah, Easter is coming! Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays. I come from a large Italian family and every year, we all get together at my aunt’s house to celebrate and spend some time with each other. The weather is usually beginning to break and it is just a nice time all around.

This is S’s 3rd Easter.

After this past Christmas, my expectations for this holiday are more realistic. I do not expect S to be excited for his Easter basket. I do not expect him to be excited to hunt for eggs (though, I will still give him the chance) and I do not expect him to be excited to go and do all of the typical Easter fare that most kids look forward to. There certainly will be no church.

And this year, I have some anxiety about visiting family. For starters, only two people in the family know of S’s diagnosis. And, while a few months ago, we decided to no longer keep S’s autism private, since then, we have only told one cousin. He asked.

As S gets older, his autism is a bit more obvious, and his ability to transition is getting more difficult. You may remember my previous post about visiting friends and family during a party; it was a rough start to say the least.

And so, Easter is tomorrow and S will have to walk into a house full of people… a house he has not been to since last Easter. No doubt this may likely be a repeat of the last time.  And if S does have the inevitable meltdown, there will be no more blaming it on a skipped nap or a long car ride. I’m not sure how it will be received. I expect a good bit of denial. A good bit of hearing how ‘normal he looks’ or how we need to get another opinion. Who knows, maybe they will surprise me and just ask a few questions and move about with the day. If I’m lucky, maybe said cousin already prepped the gang. Maybe I should’ve.

So folks, I shall take a deep breath and lift a large glass this year. Wish us luck! I will be sure to report back!