My friend, Carrie, emailed me about a month ago and asked if I would go to Florida with her. She wanted to take her two sons to the Jacksonville area for evaluations with a HANDLE specialist (more about HANDLE in my next post). One of her sons has autism, and she suspected that even though her other son is not on the spectrum he could still benefit from an evaluation. Carrie's husband would not be able to take the time off and she was concerned about making the trip by herself. So she asked if I would be interested in going with them. Hmmm...Florida in the springtime? Twist my arm, Carrie!
Because I have been somewhat interested in the HANDLE approach as well, I decided to bring Ryne along and have him go through a mini-evaluation. Florida is Ryne's favorite place in the world, so he was pretty thrilled -- even if the temperatures were in the 50s the first couple of days. Before you start feeling too sorry for my girls being left behind, they have had their trips alone with me too, plus they had plenty of fun with Daddy all week.
The trip went great. Carrie was a little nervous because Mason (above), her son on the spectrum, had never been on an airplane, but he did great. And he loved swimming, no matter how cold it was! Isn't he a cutie? Carrie did a great job of finding us a good deal on a condo, just steps away from a pool and the beach.
There's something about traveling with a friend that makes even frustrations seem fun. A broken-down rental car, my head cold, the health food store that just wasn't meant to be, a collapsed bed, outlets in the bathrooms that didn't work...all these things had us in stitches. Okay, maybe it took us a day or so to laugh about the car thing. Carrie (above) is a good sport for dealing with Enterprise's poor customer service.
Ryne had a good time with Carrie's boys. When we met at the airport the first thing Ryne said to Mason was, "Why do you talk like that?" Mason, who has limited verbal skills, seemed equally perplexed with Ryne, who had the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up, practically covering his face. So Mason simply reached up to pull the hood down, and I could just imagine Mason thinking, "I don't know why I sound funny, but you look funny with your hood all pulled up like that!" Carrie and I had to laugh at the irony of their interaction -- is inappropriate behavior really inappropriate when both parties are on the same page? Ryne also had fun with Nathan, Carrie's older son (above), even though half the time he got their names mixed up, calling them Nason or Mathon!
And me? It turned out to be quite a relaxing trip. Carrie spent most of her time with the consultant, but I stayed at the condo with Ryne and whatever boy wasn't with her. We had nice walks on the beach and lots of down time. My appointment with Ryne only lasted a couple of hours, but was profitable. Our last day brought bee-yoo-tee-ful weather and Carrie was done with all her appointments, so we all spent several hours playing on the beach. While it would have been nice walking down the beach with my hubby, I built some great memories with Ryne (above). Just what this burned-out mom needed.
So, Carrie, I'm glad I could be of help.