Sunday, June 13, 2010


For as long as humans have written, people have needed a bit of time before they could write about their travels. Paul took the time to collect his thoughts and construct theological arguments against his foes before he wrote his epistles. Indeed, some writers needed to make up other people's travels instead of writing about their own. Homer is the biggest culprit. And even Jack Kerouac added fictional spice to his tale of being on the road.

In that spirit, I needed some time before reflecting on our family's big trip. Last Friday, we packed up our things and headed for West Virginia. After staying the night with friends, we drove to Virginia, where we will be staying for 6 weeks. It's a big deal to decamp with your two small children for such a long period. But we figured that the benefits outweighed the downsides. Here's an accounting of things so far.

What's good:

Martin can run around outside, jump on trampolines, throw sticks in campfires, and blow bubbles to his heart's delight. He can play with his cousins. He can visit the local children's museum and a brand new park. He has not even mentioned the end of school.

What's not so good:

On day 6, Martin told us he wanted to go back to Ohio. Comparing his experience with past vacations, he thought our time here was coming to an end. Also, summer days are really long. What can you do with a kid who's awake from 7am to 9pm every single day? That's a lot of time for a kid or their parent to find stuff to do. And finally, we're starting to see that kids Martin's age (kids we have known a long time) realize that Martin is different. And in their awkward and honest kid-like ways, they are trying to figure how he's different and why.

For instance, one boy seemed surprised to hear that Martin turned 6 about a week before he did. The boy looked at me and asked, "How can Martin be older if I am so much smarter than him?" Another example: a 6-year-old girl has recently been told that Martin doesn't always understand what she says because he has something called autism. Now, whenever Martin doesn't do what she tells him to do, she repeats over and over that Martin can't do something because "he's autism."

Because these words come from little kids, I can be patient. But it still hurts. I've read that kids start to notice their friends' differences between the ages of 6 and 8. It's also the time when autistic kids begin to realize that they are different. Martin has shown no signs of understanding himself as different. And honestly, I'm not quite ready for it. It's enough to watch other kids begin this process.

Our summer trip has been good so far. We're still getting acclimated to a new pace of life. We're still working on establishing a pattern to our days. And we're experiencing things we hadn't anticipated. I guess Paul was also surprised by the noisy ladies in Corinth. Like him, I need more time to formulate a response.


  1. I pray that your days will be as beautiful as that place is I remember from your wedding, and that it will be beautiful in all of its differences. And feel free to make up stuff, as long as you aren't going to try and tell it to Oprah I think you'll be alright.

  2. @dixie: too funny

  3. snort!

    looking forward to all your epistles.