Off To Sri Lanka Soon

Filed Under (Estee, Parenting) by Estee on 07-01-2012

I am leaving for a trip to Sri Lanka at the end of this week. Travel is something I’ve always done, and now that I’m divorced, Adam goes to his father. I’ve always been a traveler, and Adam has been a traveler because of it. He has been to quite a few places for a little guy. I remember my first trip on an airplane was when I was nine years old. My grandparents took me to Germany for the first time. Adam is going to be ten this year and has been on an airplane every year since he’s been a baby. I always advocate taking an autistic child places, no matter where, with readiness and preparedness. I’ve always packed a special bag for Adam and I talk him through every aspect of our travel. These days I get compliments just about every flight: “I’ve never seen a child so well-behaved.” I want to laugh and announce, “and he’s autsitic too!” People don’t expect autistic children to be well-behaved on flights. Yet I’m working the entire flight by anticipating all of Adam’s needs.

Traveling is mine. It’s an interesting feeling — being excited to go halfway across the globe, being so far away from home in a completely different culture. I also know I’ll miss Adam as much as he will miss me. I will send him pictures of myself as I always do, prepare a calender of days until mom is home, and talk to him once in a while. These feelings do not stop me from persuing my interests now. I know I am a full-on mom with him and doing my best. I know that it is also important to let children go to manage their own feelings. It’s a good lesson to let children know they are not being abandoned — that parents can go out for dinner or on vacation, and will return.

I know I have to calibrate, to have this time to do what I love as much as I try to nurture what Adam loves. For some people it might be a hobby. For me it’s Wanderlust and food for creativity, writing and perspective, and even parenting Adam.

So I’m about to journey. I’ll miss my little guy, but as in a small of resemblance to mom Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, who wrote Hiroshima In The Morning, it is my need to fulfill the other bits of me that need filling. I really appreciated the way Rizzuto was honest. I feel the book is important in redefining what mothers are expected to do as opposed to fathers. She continues to be a good mom to her children — something the press failed to really discuss in the whirl of controversey — except that her arrangement is more like a man’s. She sees her children once a week and every-other weekend. I’m not at all suggesting I do not wish to be a mother by mentioning her book. I wanted Adam so badly and I continue to want to mother him. I think her book is important for women to read, though, in making sure that we don’t lose sight of ourselves.

A man would not feel so guilty leaving his child for work or travel. A mother on the other hand, feels compelled to write a blog post like this one.

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About Me


ESTÉE KLAR

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 (www.taaproject.com), 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.