I grew up going to our town's 4th of July parade, and once I had children, I was excited to share the experience with them. When K was little, she liked the parade. She would stand watching all the trucks go by, totally enraptured. She'd dance when the bands walked by, collect the candy thrown from the passing floats, and genuinely had a good time.
Until one year, she didn't.
Two years ago she had camp on the 4th of July. I had given her the choice of attending camp, or coming to the parade with us, and she chose camp. Heck, *I* would have chosen camp. They had their own festivities there, and when I say she loves her camp, I mean it.
Last year, I decided not to enroll her in camp for the 4th, because I wanted her to be home with us. Except, she wasn't having it. She couldn't take the heat, or noise, or waiting. She ended up staying with my mom at her house until the parade was over, and I felt bad I hadn't just sent her to camp, after all.
This year I gave her the option of coming, or staying with Grammy. Let's just say, that choice was a giant trigger. Making any decision is always overwhelming for K, so I finally made the decision for her when I saw how hot it was going to be. To say this kid has an intolerance to heat is an understatement, and I knew we'd go from zero-meltdown before we even made it to our seats. She was relieved, I think, after I told her she'd just be staying with Grammy, and I knew it was the right choice.
So, yesterday morning I dropped K off with my mom, and headed with B to the parade. He and my niece had a lot of fun together, especially collecting all the candy, and K had a relaxing morning playing on her iPad somewhere cool, and fire engine free.
Now, I suppose I could write about how heartbroken I was that K wasn't at the parade. Make a big deal out of how autism robbed us of this experience.
Except, it would be a lie.
I won't be heartbroken because she can't sit at some parade. If we always look at what our kids can't do, and equate it with heartbreak and sadness, we are going to end up equating them with heartbreak and sadness, which, no.
If tomorrow we head out to the fireworks, and decide that it's not something K can handle, it will be OK. I'll happily miss a fireworks show so I can snuggle with my daughter, and watch Pound Puppies or Littlest Pet Shop on Netflix.
And the last thing I'll be is sad about it.