The Unknown

When you’re welcomed into the World of Autism, you are more or less being welcomed into the World of the Unknown.

Unknown in what causes it even though there are plenty of theories floating around.  Unknown in how to treat it- hundreds of different therapies that all have different results with each different child with autism.  Doctors tell you there is no way to know what your child’s functioning level will be as an adult.  Every day is an unknown, as the thing that didn’t set your child off yesterday just may set them off today.

The battle with the unknown has been poking up it’s head as we prep and plan for our upcoming RV vacation.  Yup, you heard me right.  We’re taking off for an entire week in our RV to explore the East Coast.

I have to think about the unknown when packing.  How many changes of clothes do you pack for Brian?  Multiply however many Corbin is bringing by about four.  That should be about right.  Make sure to pack the deep pressure vest, heavy blanket, and noise-cancelling headphones.  There’s a chance he won’t require any of them, but if we forget one, you better believe we’ll need them.  Probably should pack the Miralax just in case, oh the fun.  And the digestive enzymes.  And some natural cough syrup.  And a collection of toy zoo animals and trains.  And so on.

We have to think about the unknown when picking our destination points.  We were so excited that we were booking a whale tour in Boston on our way home.  Brian loves whales.  He did a report on one in the second grade.  He lights up when whales are featured on Animal Planet or The Discovery Channel.  One of his top five favorite shirts has a big whale on it.

Yet, when we showed him a video from Boston Harbor Cruises he began crying.


Look! He even draws whales!

Later I chatted with him:

Me: “We’re going to go on vacation in the RV!”

Brian: “Yeah!”

Me: “We’re going to go to a zoo!”

Brian: “Yeah!”

Me: “We’re going to go on a whale watch!”

Brian, in a whimper: “Nah!  Let’s go zoo!”

I have no clue if we will arrive on that dock and he’ll just meltdown in the middle of a huge crowd and refuse to get on the boat.  I have no clue if he’ll get on and then freak out at the first sight of a real, live whale.  I have no idea if he’ll just enjoy the whole thing.  Something in that video set him off, but he can’t really tell us what.  It’s the unknown.

Corbin and I were chatting on our car ride yesterday and we decided our vacation motto would be: “No stress”.  Sometimes the unknown can stress me to no end.  I’m over-thinking and over-analyzing and over-preparing.  So my vow is to just relax and to ride the waves if/when they come with a smile and a “who cares if we go on a whale watch” mentality.

Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.