Updated: Jul 12
Confirm air, hotel and car reservations-check
Luke dinner and bath-check
Food for the plane-check
House somewhat in order-check
Out of Office on-check
Alarm set for 3:15am-check
Movies downloaded on Luke’s Ipad-glad I’m making this list bc I still have to do this one!
I’m anxiousl There's no way around it. I was talking to my sister yesterday about why I get so nervous traveling with Luke and she asked what’s the worst thing that could happen? What? You really want me to go there? He might poop on the plane! I mean in his diaper on the plane. He might have a meltdown and hit or kick someone. Our flight may be delayed and we may have to spend extra hours at the airport with Luke. Luke hates crowds and waiting in line. Tomorrow will be rough, I just hope not too rough. Fingers crossed, I will check in once we are in Wisconsin.
We made it! 19 long hours door to door. And not the door of our final destination in WI, but to a hotel room for a few hours of shut eye before we wake up to make the 3 hour drive to picturesque Door County, Wisconsin. We did end up having to spend many extra hours at the airport. We learned right before we arrived at Linbergh Field that our flight was over 2 hours delayed and since we would have missed our connecting flight, the airline rebooked us on a fight that got into Milwaukee at 11:30pm. That flight ended up being delayed, had mechanical issues, took off 90 minutes late and we arrived at our airport hotel after 1:30am. The good news is that our bags arrived, we met a pretty cool guy that helped transport Luke out to the hotel shuttle and we got to WI safely!
Luke did surprisingly well. I wouldn’t want to do it again but with the exception of 1 meltdown on the first flight which involved him pulling my hair, he tolerated (to the best of his ability) the waiting, crowds and an ever changing schedule.
And now we are here. Sister Bay, WI in Door County. I love being back in the midwest. From the people to the scenery and most of all to being with family…it’s wonderful to show the boys part of the country where I spent time as a child. It’s peaceful here. We did a scenic trolley tour, a true Wisconsin Friday evening fish boil where we learned the history of Door County and how many of the traditions were started by the Swedes and Norwegians, walked around the quaint little towns and when put in perspective, although it is a change of routine which can be difficult for Luke, he enjoys it. We do hit bumps in the road like today when Glenn was getting him on a pontoon boat and his foot slipped and he almost fell between the dock and the boat. The guy that worked there looked mortified! Rest assured, Luke had a life jacket on the entire boat ride and is safe and sound. Some things just don’t mix, Luke and boats or large bodies of water are a couple of them, but we do our best to allow our family to have these experiences while keeping everyone safe. I was a bit panicked, cold and wet on the boat but we did it and we had fun!
John our trolley driver showing Luke how to open and shut the trolley door:)
Although it is challenging, I’ve never regretted traveling and taking any of our trips with Luke. From our vacations in Hawaii to a road trip a few hours up to Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear, our visits with family in Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin and Florida, we are making memories. I recently heard something that resonated with me and it was along the lines of not to think of a vacation as a time to relax but as a time to keep doing all the things you do with your child but in a new environment. Set reasonable expectations. We eat out more when we are on the road and while it may not always be relaxing, if we stay calm Luke follows our lead and we find ourselves having fun experiences. It’s not ever going to be like a family without special needs, but it is our experience and it is a good one.
My advice to all of you out there is to take trips, take mini trips, take day trips, do what works for your family, and maybe stretch a bit beyond your comfort zone, to experiences new places, activities and people. Some of my favorite memories throughout the years are the people we’ve met at the airport, in restaurants, at the beach and along the way who connect with Luke and help give him new, fun experiences.
We will be exhausted after our 11 day midwest tour, but it’s all worth it!
Travel Tip if you are flying with someone with a disabiity or medical condition-call TSA Cares.
1-855-787-2227 M-F 8am-11pm, weekends and holidays 9am-8pm EST. Call a week in advance and they will notify all airports in which you will go through security. Those airports will contact you via email letting you know they have your flight information and you should call 30 minutes before you arrive at the airport to have a Passesner Support Specialist (PSS) available to assist you through security. FYI-some airports are better equipped to assist than others but our experience has been that if we call a week in advance, all airports are ready and the assistance has been very helpful. They opened a security lane just for our family in San Diego last week. That was a first!