Sunday, August 2, 2015

The empty parking lot

Parents struggle at different times with letting go of their children. The first time with a babysitter, first ride on the school bus, driver’s license, first date and first apartment.  

Parents of children with disabilities have the same feelings, but often their concerns are far greater. They ask, “Who will give him his medications?” “Who will take her to the bathroom?”
Lauren’s first bus trip to Disney World was an enormous milestone. Before the "big day" Tom and I talked about our concerns. “How do parents let go?”

The day of the trip arrived and we were up at 5:30 a.m. to meet the bus. We drove to the drop off point to find the parking lot filled with cars and eager participants excitedly waiting for the bus. 

Parents were reminding their sons and daughters to “stay with the group”, “remember your money”, “put sun screen on”, and “drink plenty of water”. 

Staff listened patiently to parents who reported about their son or daughter’s medications and other health or behavioral issues. 

The air of excitement among the participants was palpable. Laughter and “high 5’s” were abundant. 

At last the bus arrived. 

Tom and I walked Lauren over to the bus. We gave her hugs and she quickly boarded the bus and took a seat. She didn’t look back for a minute! We stepped back and tried to find her face through the tinted bus windows. 

Within minutes, the bus pulled away.

Tom and I hugged each other and stood waving until the bus was out of sight. We turned around and  noticed that all of the other cars were gone. We were the only parents in the parking lot!

Later, we saw some of the parents shopping in Home Depot and sipping coffee at Starbucks. One parent waved to us and said, “don’t worry Lauren will be fine”.

At midnight, the bus arrived back from Disney. The participants and staff got off the bus looking tired and happy. All reports were positive, “We had so much fun”, “No problems”, “Great Day”.

How parents let go still remains a mystery to me. 

However, I have learned that parking lots empty quicker as children with disabilities get older. 

Parents and children do move on and a bus trip to Disney World can be a wonderful first step.

No comments:

Post a Comment