For some families, weekends are all about sporting events. They pack their mini vans with portable chairs and a cooler of drinks and off they head to the soccer field to watch little Johnny score another goal. For others the weekends are all about family adventures… a time to explore a cavern, hike a nature trail or camp in the woods.
And then there is my family.
I am reasonable with my expectations for weekends. For us the weekend is about just relaxing as my boy needs that down time after being on GO all week. But every once in a while I long for an outing. Oh sure we have managed to be able to do a movie together … but I am talking about an outing like a nice picnic in the park. You know, sitting on a blanket , eating fried chicken with our hands, seeing who could spit watermelon seeds the furthest, gazing lazily up at the sky making pictures out of the clouds and then flying kites. Doesn’t that sound dreamy? I tried for this type of day once, the end result was… complaints about the grass being itchy, a scrunched up nose and vocal grunt over the idea of eating COLD chicken or even picking up wet messy watermelon and the one time I did get him to lay down on the blanket (ON THE ITCHY GRASS) he drove the rest of us crazy because every cumulonimbus would end up looking like a Doctor Who Dalek and no other option was ever considered. I returned the kite to store UN-opened… why bother.
But every once in a while, my boy manages to surprises us all. Yesterday was one of those days.
We were not planning on doing anything, which means when I announced to the rest of the Fuentes troop that I wanted them to stop playing video games, stop watching Hannah Montana on the Ipad and don’t even think about walking out that door to go to the gym mister… cause MAMA has an idea; well I expected to get a lot of push back. But the gang surprised me and everyone was on board.
An hour later we were in the car on the way into DC to attend the 4th Annual Autism Awareness Day at the National Aquarium event. Hubby dropped us off so he could find parking (it’s DC remember) and so that Jay would not have to walk so far. Grace grabbed one arm and I grabbed Jay’s other and three of us hobbled into the basement of the Commerce Building which is where the aquarium is located. We paid our discounted rate and made our way over to the table and room that was set up by the wonderful DC Autism Parents ladies. I practically had to yank Jay out of the gift shop (what is it with my boy and over priced gift shop stuffed animals) and pull him back with us. Grace busied herself with making a shark puppet and Jay read interesting facts about FISH on the wall while we waited for hubby to join us. It was then that I had the pleasure of meeting Yetta the president and executive director of DC Autism Parents and Sonja. Ends up that Yetta and I had been in touch already and that she knew this blog. Jay overhearing got very excited as did Gracie. “We’re famous mom. People are recognizing us.”, they whispered into my year. How cute is that? We chatted for a bit and then Hubby joined us and we set out to do what we came to do… see some fish.
Here is the great thing… the National Aquarium is small and quiet and was not very crowed at all… do you see where I am going here with this? YUP… the perfect combination for my boy. Jay got to show off his amazing knowledge about the sea creatures, Grace caught to skip around cooing over the cute seahorses and turtles and oooing the icky eels and scary sharks… hubby and I got to relax and just let them be… well THEM! It was great! SO great that we let them go back into the gift shop and yes Jay got the overpriced stuffed albino alligator he HAD to get as well as these cool magnetic balls and Grace got some cute glow in the dark turtle necklace and all was great in the world.
Everyone was so happy that we were actually able to try a new place to eat (Of course it had pizza so the kids did not mind) and we even got to do something that Grace has been asking to do forever… go to Georgetown Cupcakes which is more commonly known to the rest of the world as DC Cupcakes from the TLC show. The line outside was not too long so Hubby dropped the two of us off and we were able to not just see the place but go in… we scored ourselves some yummy cupcakes too!
So what was the lesson learned from all this… It’s a big ocean out there and sometimes it is easy to get lost in it and you may want to give up especially when you see how easy it is for some of the other schools of fish to just swim by. BUT you just got to do what Dori the Fish says, “Just Keep Swimming” because you never know what will happen if you do!