A Home Away From Home

Our Cottage

My mom loves to sightsee and explore, so her visits require an adventure or two.

Mom and I plan careful vacations. We reserve the same rooms at the same hotel in Maine. I pack stuffed animals, favorite books, blankets and pillows. The printer overheats from maps, schedules and lists.

Despite the planned routines and familiarity, the excitement still overwhelms my son. Bedtime is grueling.

I understand him. I don’t welcome sleep, especially in a new place. Creaks, pops and distant chatter jostle my brain into flurries of anxious activity. Only the hum of my Holmes HAP242 brings peace. The air purifier’s filter failed long ago, but the fan makes the sweetest white noise.

If I am troubled by environmental nuances, then my son is exponentially sensitive. A hotel room is alive with thousands of thought-provoking details. He cannot slow himself down. Bedtime devolves into screams, laughter and mischief.

Two weeks ago, they closed the wing of our favorite hotel.

We would not have our usual quiet corner to grind through our evening frenzies. We would need to lodge in the main building, next to the lobby.

The only thing worse than nocturnal Aspie rages is proximity to other people.  We rented a cottage.

Removing ourselves from the hotel setting perfected our vacation. True, the stimulation of a new place caused a hubbub, but the freedom to make unlimited racket was precious.

After two days, I understood the full depth of my hotel anxiety.  Jogging down the stairs, singing at top volume, I whisked my deteorating nightgown, side to side. I thought, “How nice to indulge myself in my usual silliness.”  Still singing, I whirled into the kitchen. A good  vacation lets you be yourself.