Balance, that’s what it’s all about.

We received our share of stares and glares on our recent trip to Boston for a Thanksgiving family reunion.  Although B was in a good mood and enjoyed the adventure of a trip, that didn’t mean it wasn’t difficult for him. 

His Tourette-like coping mechanisms were in overdrive. There was no regular or predictable schedule, new places and spaces and only a couple of his own things around. I could have ridden him and made him stop, to make me and strangers around us more comfortable, but that would’ve made B feel even more uncomfortable. He’d only be able to hold it in so long before blowing up, anyway. 
But my job is not to make myself comfortable nor to worry about the comfort level of strangers. My job as a parent is to ensure my child’s well-being. Now, I did ensure the personal space of others was not violated and he wasn’t too loud in public; he saved that volume for the hotel room. 
All the time we spend together as a result of homeschooling has allowed me observe B and really get to know him.  I’m able to read the small, subtle signs and know he’s not OK.  Sometimes I’m able to do something once I see those small signs, to prevent more obvious manifestations of his discomfort, sometimes not.  And when I’m not, I make sure he has space, that he knows I’m here to help if he needs it and help him figure out what he needs.

Quite often, what he needs is activity and to make noise.  He’s an extrovert and gets his energy from outside stimulation, noise and being around people.  I’m an introvert and thrive on solitude and quiet.  Finding the balance between the two of us is tricky and I usually end up with the short straw.  ;o)

When we got together with some of our relatives for Thanksgiving, B was in his element.  There was over 60 people there and I was totally overwhelmed.  It was great to see them; most of them I hadn’t seen in quite some time.  B was loving all the people, energy and conversation.  He went up to people and introduced himself with a firm handshake, taking off his hat first when it was a lady.  He loved answering the many questions he was asked and made a friend for life with a younger cousin.  He performed a rap for everyone about his 96 yr old great-grandmother and was a big hit.

After the meal and the performances and the cleanup, I was done.  I needed to go back to the hotel room, take off the heels, get into my PJs and be alone.  B was so disappointed when I said it was time to go; he was engaged in a game of Apples to Apples with aunts and cousins and, even though he’d never played before, he was winning.  My dad wasn’t ready to go, either, so he and B stayed and my brother took mom and me back to the hotel.

Silence.  It was glorious.  I was alone for an hour and a half and recharged my batteries.  B came back to the hotel with his batteries recharged.  That reunion did him so much good, we were able to drive all the way home in one day instead of breaking the trip into two.  Balance, that’s what it’s all about.

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