What is your secret?

How is it you are able to enjoy dining out, even though autism is still in your life?

Is he on medication? What is your secret?

Connor does not take any medication to help him ‘be calm’, he is very sensitive to medications. Yes, we tried them at one time and we as his parents decided his sensitivities and discomfort while on medication, was not worth it to him or to us. For a long time we were, what I lovingly refer to as ‘shut ins’ because going out into the world was stressful for all of us. I knew, I did not want to live this way forever and it was not fair to the rest of the family or Connor for that matter. We began by going to a restaurant, I would tell our waitress ahead of time, if we must leave, it is nothing personal, we will leave as quietly as possible, please wrap everything up and I would leave with the kids and my husband would stay behind to pay the bill and bring the food out for us to enjoy at home.

I went into this with the idea, no matter what, ‘I’ would be as calm as possible, (my reactions, nervousness, any negative emotion, ‘my’ attention to what others may or may not be thinking, affected Connor) “my” intention, my main focus was to embody calm, the calmer I was, the more ease I embodied in my reactions to Connor, the better our experience. We ARE so closely connected, interconnected. It took a few experiences of going to a restaurant, doing our best, leaving early and trying again next time. BUT during all of this time I set the intention, “I” would remain calm within, no matter what Connor experienced, if he was loud, if people stared, no matter what, I would be calm and patient, and focus on being present and mindful. I was not the cause of his discomfort but I knew I did not want to ‘add’ any negative energy, worry, anger, upset, etc. to or toward him because I was aware it would exacerbate or amplify the discomfort for all of us. With practice, with patience, with calm, with a mindful intention…..it worked.

When our children are learning how to walk, or any new skill, we are so very patient with them, excited for them to gain their balance, we know their success is inevitable. I believe, that same patience, calmness and understanding was very similar to what I embodied during our restaurant adventures. Just because it looks a little different, we are, I am, still flexible enough to be able to shift our way, my way of being, from stressed or nervous about what our kids will do or how others will treat us or look at us. I simply went in with the attitude of calm, ease and if we have to leave, no problem, we will leave and try again another time, taking the pressure off all of us completely, knowing we can and will try again. If we made it through a meal, awesome, if we don’t, our entire family was in agreement, me, my husband, Connor’s siblings and Connor, we were all OK with that. With time, patience, unconditional love, we can and will do anything. Love, Tracie ~ ♥

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