Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ohana Means Family...

We went to Disney when K was in kindergarten. It awful trip. A lot went wrong, but the worst part was how much K didn't seem to enjoy being there. Even with the old disability pass (that is, the good one), it was rough. B, however, had a great time. I've often thought about taking a trip to Disney with just B. I always feel a twinge of guilt when I think about going without K, but I tell myself it's fine because she didn't like it, anyway. She'd be happier just staying at home with my husband, or another family member.

I've decided she'd have a much better time not going.

The thing is, K says she wants to go back. When we talk about Disney, she gets excited at the prospect of riding Small World 14,000 times (in a row.) However, spending thousands of dollars to ride Small World just seems ridiculous to me. Again, I tell myself she'd have a better time staying back, and that B deserves a vacation that isn't run by his sister.

I've never been able to fully convince myself of this, though, and while watching Lilo and Stitch tonight, I found the perfect way to explain it:

Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind. 

Hearing that little catchphrase really drove it home. The trickle of guilt I usually feel when thinking about planning a vacation without K, turned into a waterfall of guilt.

I've decided that K would be better off not going, regardless of what she's told me. I've told myself the rest of us deserve a trip where we don't have to be ready to pull the ripcord at a moments notice.

It's shameful, I know.

We are a family. Period. Leaving out one member to make things "easier" just isn't OK. No matter how I try to rationalize it, and no matter how many other parents tell me they've done it without regret.

I know it's not uncommon in the autism community to do things as a family without the affected family member. To validate those decisions by saying it's better for the child (or a sibling.) If I'm honest with myself, I know K wouldn't feel good about being left at home. I'm sure even the most affected individual notices when everyone leaves without him/her. I want both my children to know they are always welcome.

Teaching my kids that we unconditionally support them will make B a better man, and K a more confident woman. Not hiding my child away shows the world that everyone has worth, and our kids really are different, not less. 

So, that's my new mantra. I'm sure Disney won't mind if I borrow it, right? (They'll totally mind, so, shhhh!)

Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind. 

Quality time with my girl. 

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