On the way to Disneyland, when he drove, I couldn’t cry. He kept an eye on me most of the time. I cried in silence while I took turn for driving. I just let the tears flow without looking right. In the hotel room, we opened the sparkling wine my mentor gave me. Again, my husband wanted me to be happy. Really happy. For him, My finishing Ph.D. was much a bigger deal than what some SLP told a night ago. So I pretended to be happy. I pretended to enjoy Disneyland. I let my tears flow down only in the dark or some ride: for example, while waiting for Space Mountain. We couldn’t of course ride together. For some rides, my husband and I took turns for some, nastier rides, only I got on. He knew I loved those thrill rides. But this time, I loved because it gave me some lone time to cry.
K enjoyed it, too. K loved “it’s a small world” so much that we rode five times in a row! He clearly demanded for the ride! Probably we could repeat forever. I wish time were frozen there. I really wanted a music box with the song, but I couldn’t find. We bought “we can fly” music box instead. K loved the parade, too. He was fascinated with those lights like any of us.
We spent a lot more money than usual. We are usually reasonable about spending but this time, we bought stuff we knew we won’t need. My husband, who hated shopping, bought a lot, too. In hindsight, he was trying to cheer me up or he was also trying to cope with the dire verdict. At that time I thought he was a bit overzealous about this vacation. I didn’t have any capacity to think in his shoes.
When we came back, a social worker from ALTA regional center visited my apartment. In a sense, this WAS the start of my autism journey and she was the first professional I worked with for K. And this was my first exposure to the United States outside of the lab. About seven years in the US., the world my husband and I knew was my lab. And some grocery stores and restaurants and maybe some sightseeing spots. Of course having Kai expanded a bit, as I was exposed to medical systems and daycare in the US. But I was merely a recipient of service. In that sense, hospitals and doctors are the same as restaurants.
To be continued.