This weekend we went to our first Autism related event. I didn’t realize that this was a family first for us, until Dave pointed it out as we were walking in. “How are you? This is a first for us. You ok?” “Oh! I’m totally fine!!” I said. We had done fundraising for Autism Speaks and signed up to attend the 5k they were hosting at Citifield. I thought it would be really fun!
But…honestly I was a little on edge. As we were parking, to get our attention and helpfully direct us the right way, the parking attendant yelled “AUTISM!!” at us and pointed to the parking lot. He was just doing his job…and I’m not sure there’d be a better way to handle something like that…but gosh, that rattled me. Then walking in and seeing how HUGE the crowd was and how the word “Autism!” was EVERYWHERE… I felt a little nervous and uneasy. Even the band on the jumbo stage had changed their lyrics to work the word “autism” or “autistic child” into the classics they were performing.
“Actually,” I said to Dave, “this is harder than I thought it would be.”
But, then we found our group.
And I felt more settled.
The crowd was enormous. There was a huge, huge turnout for this.
And the whole time the mood was really fun and positive and Andrew, one of the only kids from his school that showed up, got LOTS of attention from LOTS of people that know and love him.
And…we ran into these guys. Which was a pretty big highlight for Andrew. ;)
Part way through the walk, Andrew started a game of shadow tag…he ran from adult to adult saying “I got your shadow!” and the adults were so playful and joined right in. I keep thinking about Andrew’s little game of Shadow Tag (a game, he told us, that’s very hard play at noon). I love that he feels so comfortable with these people and that they are so good about his silly silliness. I’m just awash with gratitude today.
Especially for these three: his Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade teachers. He’s come sooo far…and they are a pretty big reason why.
Isaac probably enjoyed the Autism Speaks 5K the least of all of us. He’s not so good in crowds and has a little bit of a cold that was making him tired and crabby. But he did score an apple and orange from the refreshments table…so that was nice. ;)
And that’s a wrap. Beautiful day, great walk…but EXHAUSTING weekend. Expect another weekend post tomorrow with pics from Isaac’s birthday party! :)