Happy 30th Birthday Christine!

11 Dec

This blog is my gift to my beautiful daughter Christine who is 30 today. She is courageous and strong, beautiful inside and out, has a big heart and inspires me every day. She also has a disability of Autism. I hope to share the highs and lows of our life together as Christine moves through her 30th year. Hopefully the things I haved learned and continue to learn about myself and my daughter along the way will strike a chord in a mom who reads this.

As I sit here writing this blog, my mind runs through the memories of the last 30 years and forward to the challenges of the next year. It is hard to know where to start so I am choosing to focus on this past weekend’s birthday celebration and only share a little slice of the reality of Autism that I experience with my daughter at a time.

Christine loves Atlantic City and has many good memories of the beach, the boardwalk, good meals and good music. She was invited to celebrate her birthday at the Borgota Casino for two nights, dinner with her step-dad and a show. This was a generous offer and we were thrilled to go. We left on a Friday and came back Sunday. For Christine, taking the day off from her day program and traveling is change even though she is going to a place she  knows and likes.

I help Christine handle the anxiety of the schedule change by talking to her about the trip in brief positive sentences, and prompting her to answer me by asking her questions I know she knows about the trip such as: Who will we have dinner with (Daddy-J), does the hotel have a pool (yes).  The trip to Atlantic City from Virginia takes roughly 4 hours with one stop. I put on Christine’s favorite Christmas music and we sing our way up route 95! Music soothes Christine and takes her mind off of the worries that seem to get “stuck” in her brain at times.

We arrive at our hotel and after checking into the room, head out to the pool for some girl time! Both Christine and I love the heated pool and Jacuzzi.   I relax a little as I watch Christine lounge and swim in the pool without me next to her, seemingly lost in the sensory experience of the soothing warm water. I take a few pictures of Christine to save these positive memories. Later, we will practice her speech by talking about the pool. Stay tuned for tomorrows blog for part two of Christines 30th birthday celebration.