In the episode last night, there was a scene where the father is trying to get his son with aspergers to get his shoes on for school. His son is fretting about needing a particular shoe when the father is overcome with the desire to sweep his child away from his daily struggles and have fun together.
Being spontaneous, the father tells his son that they’re going to skip school and go to an amusement park where he can ride his favorite roller coaster all day.
Ok, you may be giggling right now knowing what a bad idea this is. But don’t we all want to do this at some point? In the episode, the mother warns that this is a bad idea and that they need to keep to the schedule, but the father’s desire for “normal” makes him push ahead, ignoring his wife’s warning.
Once they get loaded into the roller coaster, an unexpected announcement comes over the speaker, announcing that the roller coaster is now shutting down for the day due to repairs and that everyone has to exit the ride.
So, can you sense what’s coming?
Yep, a full blown melt down takes place as the boy cries out that he was suppose to ride this ride, the boy’s emotions are pushed over the edge as people watching take in the dramatic scene.
The father dies inside, realizing that he did indeed make a mistake, that he was chasing after a “normal” that doesn’t exist for him. He sadly says that he just wanted to have a day of fun and create memories.
So have you been there yourself?
Last year, I remember planning a special movie outing where we were invited to preview an up and coming movie. I planned ahead, even got permission for my boys to bring their DS games to keep them occupied while they waited for the movie. We were all so excited, that is until we pulled up and and my son saw the line wrapping around the building. I quickly switched into “keep him calm” mode as we approached the line and checked in with the movie studio that was previewing the film. During the check in, the staff announced that my boys were not allowed to bring in their games. I explained to them that I got permission ahead of time, but the staff said sorry, the director has made this request and we have to abide by it. Well, that was the moment where my son lost it, he started screaming and running off, while everyone stood in line watching us. I was angry at the studio for this unexpected change, I was embarrassed by the crowd watching the meltdown, assuming my son was probably a spoiled brat and I felt bad for putting my son in this situation, all because I wanted a little “normal”.
There are so many times where we try to push outside the schedule or take a risk with a stressor in order to create those family memories you always imagined having. But like anything, you get burned enough and you slowly learn the hard way that our normal looks a lot different and family memories are created in unexpected ways. I think that the sooner we get to a place of acceptance, the less heartbreak we’ll experience on the way and the better memories we’ll be creating for a lifetime.
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In case you missed it, here is the full episode of Parenthood from last night:
An Expert Speaks: This was on NBC’s site following the episode about speaking to your child about Autism, maybe you’ll find it worth reading.