You know you’re an autism mom when…

When you’re the only parent on an overnight school field trip, and you had to invite yourself, you might be an autism mom.

Today, Ricochet and I headed almost three hours down the road to attend the robotics competition with his middle school team. As I sat in the convention center, surveying the sea of blue-shirted teens, I realized I was the only parent in the room. There had to be at least 200-300 kids in this one part of the competition, and I was the only momma there. At that moment, I most definitely felt like an autism mom. You know, the mom who is glued to the back of her child, despite the appearance that he’s too old to need his momma right there with him, because appearances can be deceiving.

Ricochet asked me to make this trip with him. He said he wouldn’t go if I didn’t go too. But, he really wanted to be here. Truthfully, I didn’t think he could do two nights away without me (he has trouble staying with family a mere two miles from home). I felt certain I’d get a panicked call in the middle of the night, meltdown building. So I thought it was best that I were just down the road instead of three hours away.

FullSizeRenderIt seems Ricochet and I were both wrong. We both underestimated him. All day today, he wanted to do things himself, by himself. He made his way through hundreds of blue-shirted kids, across the convention center, up to the 10th floor, in and out of his hotel room, back down, and back across the center and into the right ballroom alone. Several times. He would not let me go with him, or anyone else. I was drowning in my own anxiety about it, but, every single time, he came back. Unscathed. A little more confident. One proud dude.

He’s acting quite responsible too. I had to get a hotel room 15 miles away from where they are staying at the convention center. I headed to the hotel for the night as they were going to get dinner. I ended up in bad traffic and my twenty-minute drive turned into fifty. I saw that he texted me, but couldn’t read or respond while driving. Fifteen minutes after I didn’t text back, Ricochet called me. “Momma? I was worried about you. I texted a while ago and you didn’t answer. Are you ok?” No anxiety, just concern. That’s my sweet, sweet boy.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in bed in my sketchy hotel twenty minutes away from him, and I’m not really worried. (About him, anyway. I’m a little concerned for my own safety tonight…) I know he will do just fine. And, if not, this momma is just down the road, in true autism mom fashion.