It’s 2020 and with CoVID – I am happy to say that we are thriving as a family because we’ve always just kept to ourselves. The amenities (if that’s what you want to call it) that we enjoy are simple. Grocery stores and Drive-thru chains. Yes, that’s it. To some, it may be sad but we are pretty content. We’ve always just preferred that we kept to ourselves, our house, and our own little tribe. And it isn’t necessarily because of Aiden’s autism. That’s just how the Hubby has always preferred it and I have come to adapt to it. I think Aiden’s autism just sort of reinforced our preference.
However, when it comes to family preferences, we do have a fourth member – Oliver. He does get a vote. His idea of fun is a lot more socially-involved. He likes to go on trips and explore places. He is my shopping buddy, my going-out-to-eat buddy, and just my 6-year old social butterfly. I especially love how he makes Aiden feel comfortable in places that are unfamiliar or over-stimulating. And while that would mean we would be the loudest parents in the area yelling, “No!”, “Stop”, “Don’t”, “Calm down you two”, etc. – we can still have the best time. And it’s okay. We are not bad parents. And it’s alright for people not to understand.
We lived in Colorado up until 4 years ago. We had a family tradition back then. Every year, we will visit the Denver Zoo. It was never easy to visit such a crowded place like the zoo for Aiden. We didn’t understand back then what we understand now so it was much harder. I’m sure Aiden had the toughest time. He was most likely over-stimulated and we showed him frustration versus understanding. I don’t exactly recall if we went home sooner than planned but that would not have been uncommon. There were a lot of times when we left places abruptly because we couldn’t handle Aiden.
Yes, we couldn’t handle Aiden. Not that Aiden couldn’t handle the place. Looking back, how naive of us. How frustrating it must have been for our boy.
We stopped going to the Zoo after moving to Texas. I have heard of how big and nice the Houston Zoo is from a few co-workers but never had enough “energy” to try it. Every once and a while, the thought came across our minds but Hubby and I had been too reluctant.
Well, 2020 has broken every norm so, why not us? We visited the Houston Zoo, finally! With a twist. We went to see the Christmas Lights Display, not the animals. We went at night and it was wonderful! We made a few stops along the way because we had time to kill. We went to see a Drive-thru Dinosaur exhibit outside the mall, we walked for a bit at a downtown park trail, we stopped by a grocery store for snacks and restroom break, and off to the Zoo we went. We patiently waited at the gate, we explored the whole exhibit, we even rode the carousel, we bought souvenir toys, and capped the night with ice cream, hot cocoa, and pretzels.
We left the house at 2:30PM and came back shortly before 11PM. We had ZERO meltdowns. None. Nada. Zilch. Wala! Both kids were still laughing in the car on our way home and stayed playing with their souvenir toys when we got home. WOW. We had an absolutely amazing family day out.