Filed Under (Parenting, Transitions, Travel) by Estee on 29-03-2011

I went to Bequia for March Break. It was my turn to take a vacation as Adam’s dad had him over the holiday. The island is in St. Vincent in the Grenadines and is really remote. I enjoyed every second of it.

As a single mom, I have a life with Adam and a life without. We are building a new life over the crumbled mortar of the last one, and often, that makes for beautiful design.

One realization I had after so much stress is that it is more important to be a happy parent of our children. Not only do I have to run Adam’s programs and team, but I think he’ll remember most the times when I was quiet with him on his bed reading books together, or we made jokes and laughed together. When I’m relaxed and fulfilled in my life, I find I have much more to give to Adam.

So I travel when Adam is with his dad, almost guilt-free. I sure do miss Adam when I’m away, but I also love being on my own again too. I also want to travel with Adam as part of my plan for writing and for building our family life. I need to travel to get new ideas and see life differently, and I believe children benefit too. I know that many parents hesitate traveling afar with their autistic children, and you can count me in. I’m worried about the flight, delays. A good plan is in the making.

Changing environments seems at odds for the autistic child who seems to need routine. Yet, Adam has also enjoys changes in environment. He tends to talk more when there is a change. So it’s a bit of a paradox. It’s the accommodations that bother him for the first few days which I have to think about in advance. I am trying to figure out how to make him feel more at ease when he’s in other people’s houses or when we are in hotels.

My idea? I’m thinking of renting a place in Europe that we can treat as our home base, invite friends, and take day trips. This is what I imagine:

I rent that villa in Italy I always dreamed of and bring Adam with me. We walk the Palazzo in Firenze, eating fast-melting gelato on a hot Italian day as hundreds of pigeons scatter, the quick flutter of their wings providing a light breeze against our glistening skin. Adam gleefully watches their flapping wings in unison.

We find a cafe off the main square at noon, the cathedral bells asking us to rest. He loves the spicy salami sweating in the yellow ochre sunlight and gathers whole pieces in his hands to take a bite. The ripe plum tomatoes burst in our mouths. As we lean back in our chairs content, the sound of footsteps and voices swell and dim as stylish men and women pass by easily on uneven cobblestones. I order a cappuccino and Adam eagerly spoons off the foam. Then, we walk across the square to the Uffizi and oogle the Birth of Venus and her flowing blonde hair. The long corridor leads to the next room, our feet echoing along. Children’s voices whine to go home or to the bathroom in foreign languages and parents say shoosh. I tilt my head sweetly at Fra Fillipo Lippi’s Madonna with Child and Angels. Then, I crouch down, and give my own growing angel a kiss.

Every reality begins with a dream. I have many and they all, even when I’m on my own, include Adam.

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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.