It is a well known fact that parents of children with autism do not experience many "nights out on the town". Honestly, we have grown pretty accustomed to being as creative as possible in our quest to procure a sitter, family member, or any able bodied and minded individual willing to take on the challenge of watching our children with very specialized needs.
For example my Big E has been known to sneak out of our home, maybe clothed, maybe not, and wander around looking for an inviting looking outdoor deck. My neighbor two doors down was standing in his kitchen one day, as Big E pulled open his sliding glasss door, and entered his home. Soon after, my husband ran through the door after him as my neighbor chuckled. Of course my son sees nothing wrong with this. He was bored, looking for a cool place to hang for a bit. The danger in this escapes him and always will.
So, finding a caretaker, preferably with an extra set of eyes and ears, is not easy to come by. Plus, how can one truly enjoy themselves if their mind is "on" what is happening at home. What we do in our household is very similar to what most of our friends with kids with autism do as well, we alternate having time off, since one parent pretty much always needs to be present.
The other night I had an opportunity to experience a night out with other autism mommas like myself. I haven't laughed that much in quite awhile. No censorship needed. Complete understanding a given. None of us were too eager to end the evening. The conversation could have gone on long into the night I suspect. We agreed to meet up again and we will, some of us at least.
I wish it were easier for us all to meet up more often. Our children require so much, and recharging our batteries is so essential. I worry about many of my friends that have children with such specialized needs. They simply do not have the luxury of taking care of themselves. Their children come first and always will have to. They will not mature naturally, require less care eventually, and many will never leave home.
So, we are left to be extremely resourceful and capitalize on small opportunities here and there. I am determined to do so, and will continue to try and help other friends in similar circumstances do the same.
I am already looking forward to meeting up with these ladies again for more laughs, advice, and complete understanding. Whether you have children with special needs or not, that is something we all can appreciate.