To pick up from where I left off, Emma did extremely well on the airplane and on the long car trip up to Napa, California. She was ecstatic, if not more than a little tired when we finally reached the Bed and Breakfast that night. There were others of us who did not fare as well.
The airlines arbitrarily changed all of our reserved seats, so that each of us now occupied a middle seat and no two of us were seated together. When Richard called to complain and have our former seats restored, they professed confusion and ultimately said we would have to figure it out, despite the fact that we told them we were traveling with two children, one of whom was AUTISTIC! Richard spent a good three hours on the phone Thursday afternoon, instead of packing, not an ideal way to spend the day. I had a moment, during the second or third phone call to the airlines, when I wondered how it was even legal, let alone ethical for them to split up a family and not have even the children seated next to their parent.
But we got through it, though not because the airline did anything to help us. I sat in the back of the airplane with Nic and my cousin, Alexandra. Richard, Joe and Emma were able to snag seats together closer to the front. A number of kind people were willing to change their seats to allow this to happen. At one point we narrowly avoided a full melt down when Emma lost a piece of her blanket, now a three inch square of green fabric, which had inadvertently fallen on top of an elderly woman’s neatly coiffed hair who had fallen asleep in front of Emma. Joe managed to deftly pluck the missing shred from the top of the woman’s head without waking her and returned it to a whimpering Emma. Disaster averted.
The B&B was lovely. Cedar Gables, whose wonderful owners prepared delicious breakfasts of homemade apple fritters, muffins and scones accompanied by eggs, bacon, sausages and fresh fruit each morning. Because the entire place was overrun with my family members, Emma was able to run around in her nightdress, slide on the wooden bannister and blow up her balloons, then release them so they made a screeching noise as they whipped over the heads of unsuspecting relatives before resting on various ledges and window sills.
My brother’s wedding was lovely and Monday we headed back to the airport where I had to leave my family to return to Aspen, where I am reopening my store for the summer, while Richard returned home to New York with the children.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com