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Awhile ago–months, a year or 2–when we were taking Southwest, I began asking if we could pre-board based on Julia’s autism. Now, I ask as a matter of course. It is very helpful and no big deal. Pre-boarding allows us to get settled before the surge of travelers overwhelms the aisles. I guess if we brought our carry on bags aboard the plane, pre-boarding would give is a bit of an advantage; however I check bags which is also easier for Julia. At some point someone gave us a pre-tsa screening designation which makes getting through the security lines quicker and easier. I know I could have applied for this. I don’t know how involved it is. Our line is shorter–when it is busy, there can still be a patience dependent line, but we don’t remove shoes or take electronics out of our bags or remove light jackets. We take Southwest often and I did not know whether the status would work with any other airline. It did today with United traveling internationally. Yahoo! Someone’s little kindness helps smooth our travel every time we fly. I am grateful.
It dawned on me today how hard it is to be truly honest describing traveling with Julia. She is my kid. I live with her 24/7 and I normalize her behavior. It is behavior that others stare at. I’ve stopped caring. I stare back or smile or excuse her when she does not excuse herself appropriately. It is just our life, but as a traveler, I know that Julia’s behavior is different from most kids her age or a lot younger.

Today has been hot and we needed to pack up and get to the trains to get to the airport. At the last minute, I found out that we needed to leave quickly to catch the best trains– an hour’s ride opposed to more than 3 hours. So, we rushed out of the house and followed Cheshire to the station. Julia is not good at any sort of rushing. She walked slowly, she complained about the walking and the heat. She was loud and found a few uncomfortable things to say a loud “Ow” to. Talking to her, she does not necessarily remember what we did yesterday or where we are going today. She does not really hug Cheshire goodbye but leans in to take a hug. She doesn’t look at Cheshire as she says goodbye. And she’d rather talk to herself, repeating lines from scenes of her favorite YouTube videos, or drone on about her favorite characters than talk to anyone. Many times her questions are whether the listener agrees with something the listener knows nothing about. It is a question that allows Julia to give more information. She does not look for an exchange of ideas. And last night, in the middle of the night, Julia apparently went to the bathroom and tried to clean her retainer case by squeezing almost half a new tube of toothpaste into the case. All this is Julia, the daughter I travel with and it is a travel not without some accommodation.

So, at Newark airport, where we arrived early and had time for a snack and more, there are a series of restaurants in the middle of terminal C with seats at tables and bars with an iPad in front of each seat. A customer orders food and drink through these iPads. I swiped my credit card after ordering to pay. There are games on the pads and displays of items in the stores nearby. If you bought chocolates I wonder if someone would run it out to you? Each place has plugs for electronics and right now I’m replenishing both my phone and iPad. This is a far cry from just a few years ago when people sat on the floor at airports huddled around electric outlets.

There is a guy at the end of our row of seats who is talking on his ear phone, rather loudly and with much gesticulation. His behavior is similar to Julia’s these days when she talks to herself which is an increasing habit. If I stuck an ear phone in her ear, would it look less odd?

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a guy at the end of our row of seats who is talking on his ear phone, rather loudly and with much gesticulation. His behavior is similar to Julia’s these days when she talks to herself which is an increasing habit. If I stuck an ear phone in her ear, would it look less odd?

Almost time to board. The flight is late and Julia is holding it together rather well. I ask if we can pre-board and so we are the second passengers on the plane. We are settled and into our own activities when the seats around us fill. Easy. Wonderful. And more gratitude.

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