Pierre has been on an airplane four times. The first time, he was only a three month old baby and the second time he was almost two. He had just been officially diagnosed with ASD. I was worried and anxious about traveling with him but the good thing about it back then was that he was so small, and his meltdowns were not as extreme as they are now so I could quickly pick him up and take him to a quiet area. Funny enough, everyone who witnessed his meltdowns assumed he was going through “ terrible two's.“ They would just look at us and smile, or say “Oh! He’s at that age!”; but I knew all too well what I was dealing with. I would smile and nod. I wasn't dishonest; I didn’t have the energy to explain that he was experiencing sensory overload. That was the last time he was ever on a plane. Long drives are challenging enough, after about a half hour, we usually pullover for a bit but you can't pullover an airplane. We’ve come a long way; no Pierre hasn’t been on a plane since; however I had a moment of bliss, I’ll explain. All three of my sons were due to get new passports, well Pierre has been due for a new one since 2015 but the fear of going through the process, having him physically at the center, waiting possibly for hours, was not something I was ready to deal with. This time as I was filling out the forms and my middle son says to me “Mom, you should renew Pierre’s too.” I didn’t ask him why, I just said ok, and I did it. As the passports arrived in the mail back to back and I opened each envelope and stood there looking at them, it hit me, this little voice said, “ 5 because I believe one day he will be able to sit on an airplane and we could fly all over the world together. “ Being a parent of a child on the severe end of the autism spectrum, I understand what it’s like for other parents who can’t travel by air because TSA would have to escort them out of the airport or worse. I don’t have answers or solutions for this issue; however, my goal with my typical children has always been for them to see just how Au-some their big brother is, love him like crazy, to emphasize and make sure none of them feel excluded from anything.
The bottom line is, getting five passports even though one may never be used until it expires, put the biggest smile on my face and the faces of the people dearest to me. My advice to anyone who can relate to this is, realize that when it comes to having a child with special needs, you have to make the best of little things and moments, the priceless moments you create; acknowledge and enjoy, mine was getting five passports, what will yours be?