As I discussed earlier this year in my travel advice, we had some minor issues getting to Orlando for our vacation over Christmas. We didn’t just have the expected issues related to not traveling as one would expect. Mister Man’s Asperger’s reared its head, and he had a really hard time with the change in plans.
He didn’t understand why the airplane didn’t get us there this time the way it had before. He couldn’t comprehend or accept not getting to Orlando until Tuesday afternoon when we’d originally been scheduled to arrive Saturday (thank you, United!). Even when we made the decision on Sunday morning to rent a car and drive the remaining distance, we still wouldn’t be there close to when Mister Man anticipated.
And he was having a hard time with it. His world was thrown into chaos, and as parents, my husband and I couldn’t even tell him for certain when we’d arrive or what would happen along the way. He started to break down.
Somehow – somehow, and I suspect there was a minor miracle in the works – I stumbled upon something that distracted Mister Man from the disaster of our travel and instead turned it into an exciting adventure where he had something to look forward to.
I introduced Eat Across America.
He had eaten in the Milwaukee airport before we departed – just a small snack, but something nonetheless. He breakfast in Chicago before we departed for Reagan. He had a snack at Reagan while we waited to figure out what we were going to do next (gotta keep his energy level even to keep him regulated). And then we planned to stop to eat in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida on our road trip. On our way back, we had a connection in Detroit where I also promised him that I’d let him have lunch before we headed to Milwaukee.
His eyes grew big. Mentally, he started counting the states he’d get to eat in (nine – because I’m letting him count DC as a “state”) compared to the total states in existence. And a smile started to grow across his face. As he bounced and stimmed, he excitedly talked about how he’d be the only one he knew who’d eaten in so many places and how he’d tell his friends about it when he got back to school.
He was a happy boy. Thank goodness.
And we did succeed in eating in each of those states – aided, I might add, by the ice storm that had gone through North and South Carolina, forcing us to unexpectedly stop for the night. Since that moment, I haven’t heard one more complaint about the travel booking failure from him. He wasn’t miserable, and we were able to move forward and have fun in Florida.
He’s also eaten in Missouri, and his goal in life now is to eat in all fifty states. How fun is that? My mom is already planning a day trip with him to Indiana so he can eat there. I’m not sure how many states I’ve eaten in, but there aren’t too many I’ve missed (Alaska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Maine come to mind). How many states have you eaten in?
Win one of two copies of Avatar in Blu-Ray here