Prepping Emma

We are flying back to New York City today.  As with most outings, we prepare her in advance.  Emma has become more aware of time in that she has been counting down the days until we fly home.  “Last day at the indoor pool,” she will say under her breath or “That’s it, no more skiing.  That was the last day of skiing.”

For the past week or so she has increasingly talked about going back to school, mentioning her friends and teacher and made references to things she wants to do in New York and the people she expects or would like to see.  Yesterday she helped clean up and gather her things to pack.  “Time to go back home,” she said at one point.  One year we were fortunate enough to be invited to fly in a friend’s private plane.  For the next few years Emma said, “Take just one plane,” with the hope that we would, once again, be able to fly straight from New York City to Aspen without stopping or going through the long lines of security and dealing with the large airports with their many delays and flight cancellations.

We walk her through the day by saying things like, “We leave on Tuesday, Em.  We’ll drive to the airport and say good bye to Granma.  Then we have to check our bags and go through security.  I will probably be pulled aside, so you’ll need to stay with Joe, Daddy and Nicky at the gate until I can join you.”  Often during this, Emma will join in, “We have to get on the airplane and fly up, up and then land at the other airport.”

We go through as much as we can with her, but there are inevitably issues which arise that we have no way of anticipating such as running into people we know, flights getting cancelled, luggage getting lost, alternative routes needing to be taken because of unforeseeable weather conditions, etc.  We do our best to make contingency plans, but fortunately Emma is a great traveler and most of these things she will take in stride.

I have seats all together today, so unless they change the aircraft on us, we should be able to sit altogether.

“We have to take a taxi,” Emma said, as I was going over our schedule this morning.  “Then we get to go through the tunnel and go home!” Emma said before running downstairs for one last morning of chocolate chip pancakes.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   Emma’s Hope

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