“An aunt is a safe haven for a child. Someone who will keep your secrets and is always on your side.”
– Sarah Sheridan
Hello stranger! Wow. Time has flown by since my last posting to Life Unimpeded, I hope you all can forgive my absence. The holidays have come and gone, and though I yearn for calmer, more peaceful moments, it seems that my expectations have once again eluded me.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are very busy times for our family, why? Because here in the Malone household, we choose to focus on two very important things, each other and building memories. I must say, we most assuredly accomplished that very thing.
So without further ado… I would like very much to share with you our latest family adventure!
Her big, chocolate brown eyes watched carefully as my fingers worked effortlessly to connect the two straps of the seatbelt.
An expression of sheer joy and excitement blanketed her beautiful face upon hearing the belt click. Her soft, pink lips curled up in one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Her tiny dimples made their appearance and the melodious sound of her giggles filled my ears!
“Mommy I’m so excited!” My daughter exclaimed, proceeding to make a soft squealing noise as she clapped her tiny hands. She turned her back to me, gazing out the small ovular window. It was not hard to see the excitement, bubbling over in my five-year-old. Her little body bounced up and down in the large, leather seat. The only thing keeping her there was the heavy seatbelt, pulled tightly across her small waste. Heaven only knows where she would be right now had she not been strapped in!
“Mommy are we going to go up in the air like Superman?” She asked, reaching both her arms in front of her, attempting to imitate the famous “Man of Steel!”
Unable to suppress a giggle of my own, I met her gaze with mine and replied, “We sure are Ladybug! Do you know how you will know?”
“You know that funny feeling you get in your tummy when we drive over a hill?”
“Well, when the plane starts to lift off from the ground, your tummy is going to feel REALLY funny! If you look out your window, you will start seeing everything become really small. Then all you will be able to see are clouds all around us!”
She balled up her hands into tiny little fists, bringing them up around her mouth. Her eyes squinted, and another soft squeal escaped her lips.
“Mommy are we going to see Aunt Nancy in Las Vegas?”
“That is precisely where we are going, and we are going to have so much fun!”
It was the first time either of our children had been to an airport and flown on an airplane! Several weeks prior to Thanksgiving, we made plans to spend a week in Nevada, visiting my Aunt Nancy. It had been years since I stayed with her and my Uncle Kelly. When I was younger and living with my parents, my Aunt and Uncle would often fly my brother and me out to visit. We always had a wonderful time, and this trip was no different!
The children did beautifully while we waited to board our plane and on the two-hour flight. However, I must admit, being the mother of an Autistic 8-year-old, and a rambunctious 5-year-old – I was nervous.
The biggest thing on my mind was my son. I had no idea how the hustle and bustle of an airport, the different smells and sounds would affect him. Logan often has meltdowns when it comes to sensory processing. He is very sensitive to loud noises, strong smells, or certain touch. Would the sound of the speakers bother him, or the crowds of people? Would the different smells increase his anxiety? Would the constant, bumping into others, set off a meltdown?! I had no idea, however, I did know that my worrying would only make things more difficult. When you have a child who struggles with anxiety, the worst thing you can do is become anxious yourself, or let on that you yourself are worried or feeling panicked.
We brought both coloring and reading books, their favorite stuffed animals, as well as games to keep them occupied. Things went beautifully, and the children truly enjoyed the new experience!
Once we arrived in Las Vegas we were greeted by the warm, welcoming and VERY missed arms of my Aunt Nancy! Our day was filled with the hustle and bustle that comes with travel, so we drove to her home… and then proceeded to pass out!
Our week was filled with exciting adventures, such as our trip to the Springs Preserve Park! We saw the Origen Museum which featured an indoor theatre, and lots of interesting information about the history of the park. The park was enormous and had other different sections as well – Boomtown, a small recreated town that tells the history of Las Vegas between 1905-1920. Being the “old-soul” that I am, this was my favorite part!
As I stepped into the fabricated hotel, the boards beneath my feet creaked, almost as though they were centuries old. The walls displayed a beautiful ornate wallpaper, along with the rod iron bed in the back room, and an old antique pram. Inside was a beautiful antique baby doll, dressed in a long linen nightgown and a lace bonnet. The attention to detail was easily noticeable!
We also took the children to the Circus Circus AdventureDome, where they had a chance to ride a plethora of roller coasters and other amusement rides. At the end of the day, I lost count how many times they rode on one particular ride – a green helicopter that lifted high into the air and slowly came back down.
We visited the Discovery Children’s Museum and even the Hoover Dam… I definitely met my step-goal that day! We attempted to cross the bridge, but my poor son just could not stomach the height and had a pretty big meltdown. Poor guy! 😦
We had an incredible Thanksgiving! Although, as I predicted, it was quite difficult for each of us to say goodbye… especially Logan. During our stay in Las Vegas, he made a new friend, Olivia, my Aunt’s dog! They both spent most of their time at home snuggling together on the couch. Once the time came for us to say goodbye, our poor son fell to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Sweetheart, we have to say goodbye to Olivia now!” I said. My voice cracked as I fought to contain my emotions, watching my son’s heartbreak play out as he said goodbye to his new best friend. He knelt beside her, his face red and damp with tears, he looked up at me and replied, “I can’t mommy, she’s my best friend!”
“I know honey, I love Olivia too!”
What happened next forced me to turn my back to my son, because I could feel the knot forming in my throat and the tears threatening to fall. I truly believe that Olivia could sense my son’s heartache because upon wrapping his tiny arms around her neck, she herself began to cry. Whimpering and nudging him with her nose.
We managed to separate them both and hugged my Uncle Kelly goodbye. My dear Aunt drove us to the airport, where I had every intention of wrapping my arms around her and saying goodbye… alas, I could not bring myself to do it. I knew if I did I would begin to cry as hard as my son did back at the house.
We arrived home safe and sound, however, it is a well-known fact among my family, that part of my heart will always remain in Las Vegas with my Aunt and Uncle. I love you both, forever and always!