Adam the Groomsman

Filed Under (Family, Inclusion) by Estee on 08-06-2012

It has been a busy week of winding down the school year, preparing for camp and… Adam’s eldest sister is getting married on Sunday. My boy will be walking down the aisle in front of hundreds of people in a tuxedo. How do we prepare our kids for a large wedding like this, never mind one in which he will be looked at by many people? That’s nerve-wracking for most of us.

I don’t have a formula, but can only tell you what I’ve been doing. Adam and I visited the site and took pictures of it on his iPad together — from outside the building into the foyer, up the elevators — the whole part. It is a very big facility so I know he will be tempted to run to every dark nook and cranny. Using the pictures we took, which won’t look at all like the facility when it’s decorated, I wrote a story about the entire schedule of the event and what Adam will be doing… Adam’s own little visual wedding book. I say to Adam that there will be doors and he will be okay if he doesn’t go through them. For him it’s a huge curiousity and an area of anxiety if he doesn’t know what’s behind a door. Adam has been practicing walking down the aisle, and I’ve tried to glean aspects of the ceremony from his dad and sister so I can prepare Adam as much as I can. Lots of visuals, including a schedule on his iPad, discussions and practice are key to making Adam not only a part of the wedding, but hopefully, in making it work for him as well.

There will be a lot of waiting too. I’ve had to back Adam out of some of the family photographs and arrange to accommodate him so he doesn’t have to wait around for hours. It’s not important to be at every scheduled photo — he could be photoshopped in, and there will be other photo opportunities. It’s not important that he stay at the party, either, which will be hundreds of adults. He typically loves a good party — the flashing lights on the dance floor and he can really cut the rug. In this case, being on a Sunday night, we’ll play it by ear after the ceremony. He might hang for a bit, and if he can’t that’s okay. We’ve got someone on standby to whisk him home. A bag of food, his iPad and the things he likes will help for a while. I try not to get anxious about making it for every single part of the event.

One has to also ask what’s really important with events such as these. It’s important to make his sister happy and for him to participate in the way that he can. He’s been asked to do it in a typical fashion, and with the help of his two brothers, I think it will work for Adam. For me, the goal is keeping Adam happy and calm for his walk down the aisle.

We can’t prepare for everything, but we can prepare to a certain extent. I am excited to see Adam in his tuxedo and report back here. I am also excited that he will be a part and he will have a memory of participating in his big sister’s, big wedding.

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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.