Three photos that capture the story of our holiday perfectly.
The first photo signifies the first few days. Franklin always struggles when we arrive anywhere different, whether thats another county or even just a park 10 minutes from home. This resulted in a lot of rocking, crying and ear piercing screaming while he tried to settle.
In this photo we’re on the beach next to our accommodation. The same beach we spend our holidays on every year. He screamed at full force and rocked on the sand throughout our attempt at a brief visit. Social distancing hasn’t been an issue unsurprisingly, people are quite happy to keep their distance! He already has to be tethered to us at the beach because he can run off towards the sea at any second, and he’s fast. We lasted about 30 minutes before we carried him home, trundling past all the other families enjoying their days out at the beach and feeling a touch of jealousy.
We always try to reduce information overload as much as possible and not expose him to much in the first few days, but it never gets any easier not being able to make this agonising process any less painful for him to go through.
The second photo is from Padstow on day 4. As soon as we arrived and got out of the car Franklin threw himself to the floor and screamed for a good 20 minutes (it might not sound long but it felt more like an hour!). I sat on the floor with him on the busy walkway until he eventually started to calm. When he gets an intense response to an overwhelming situation like this, it’s all I can do, wait for the meltdown to subside.
This photo also reminds me of Tabitha growing up and with that becoming more aware. During Franklin’s meltdown Tabitha said something for the first time, that she didn’t want to walk around Padstow with Franklin screaming and everyone looking at us. This broke my heart. I don’t want her to feel what I feel – anxious and tense when we go anywhere because I’m anticipating an outburst.
We try to minimise meltdowns by constantly preparing, trying to manage Franklin’s anxiety, and then keeping an eye out for anything that might trigger one when we do go out, but they are unpredictable and can come out of nowhere. A light too bright or a noise too loud. People do stare and you learn to grow a thicker skin, I certainly have, but I don’t want to have to explain that to an 8 year old. I’m glad we did manage a brief walk around Padstow afterwards and an opportunity for me to take this photo.
This final photo is on the last day. Franklin loving playing in the sea and looking like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Running in and out of the waves with Tabitha and squealing with excitement. The final few days were by far the highlight of our week. Happy memories. These moments, however small they may be, help to outweigh every single one of the difficult moments.