With antivirals and a round this was a perfect storm:

My son is currently on round 122, and on antivirals and he seemed to be doing well, or so I thought.

I had to attend a school award ceremony for his sibling. I had no one to watch him. It’s not easy, actually usually impossible to get anyone to take your spectrum kid for you. So it was me and the kids. He attended last year and he did really well. I assumed he’d do ok this year.

Wrong assumption.

The auditorium is packed, and the school band is playing.

My gut all week said don’t bring him. I wouldn’t have if I had a choice.  I packed his bag of “things to do” that usually keep him calm.

We talked about how it would be at the ceremony. What noises we might hear, how long we might have to sit there. He was seemed alright about going.

I swear we were sitting for all of 4 minutes, the band begins tuning their instruments. My son goes into “turtle mode”.

He covers his ears and shrieks that “the band is horrible, why do they sound so awful?”

I’m in trouble.

Behind us is a row full of loud adults who are yelling over my son to the people seated in front of us. (Heard of texting morons?)

My son wants them to shut up. He says they have no manners.

He’s right.

This progresses into crouching on his haunches in his chair with his hands on his ears.

No level of consoling is going to fix this.  Candy, rainbows and toys would not fix this.

The band is now playing full throttle. We moved seats to get away from the no manner blast horn people, it’s still not enough.

I try to console him as he hops in his seat. The noise gets worse and he curls into a ball and begins to cry.

We have an impending meltdown coming!

Now its operation rescue…get him out now. He’s hiding in my arms and crying “get me out of here, get me out now!”

I hold back my tears as lead my boy out of there.  I am going to miss the award ceremony but I have no choice.

In the hall way folks are staring at us and you can see they are thinking “what is wrong with that kid”.  It’s hard to hide a sensory over load in an 8-year-old.

I make a break for the car. He thanks me for getting him out of there. He said he could not take it and he wanted to scream.

The sky is dark and foreboding which ironically reflects the moment. I feel a few raindrops.  Rain on the skin is a no go. My son says we have to run for it.

I’m getting too old to run, I’d rather get wet but that isn’t an option. We make it to the car and get inside.

I feel broken but he’s better. He tells me he’s sorry but it was just too loud in there. I reassure him that it isn’t his fault he is sensitive to noise.

He takes out his MP4 player and starts one of his movies and we place it on the dashboard. He says “we can pretend we are at the drive in!” I’m say sure, why not.

It rains so hard you can’t even see outside the car windows. We get lighting…..he shrieks and crawls onto the car floor and hides his head. I explain for the hundredth time that it’s alright. We are safe in the car. It’s loud but we’re alright. Eventually, he climbs back onto the seat and starts playing with ALL the buttons and levers on the dashboard. Oh joy.

We spend 40 minutes in the car doing whatever I can to keep me sane and him from breaking all the switches in there.

Dad arrives to rescue him and me. It’s pouring out so I have to rush my son to dad’s car under cover of a sweatshirt because he hates the rain. I feel some relief that at least my son can go home and be safe. I hate when he has to suffer. I don’t want his world to be so painful.

I fear I have missed the award ceremony for his sibling. I hate that autism makes me chose between my children.

I run back into school so I don’t miss anymore.

I arrive just in time to see her walking back to her seat with her award.

I missed it.

Autism robs you of some of the parent moments in life that should be joyous. This happens more times than not in our house and to families all around the world affected by autism.  It’s hard to swallow but I imagine it’s worse for my son.

Remember, the next time you see a mom in the hallway with a frantic big kid…don’t judge. Our children are not spoiled or bratty. They are in pain. They need us to help them.