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Viva Schuyler

vegasThis weekend was a big risk. One week after her sixteenth birthday party and the bumps in the road she suffered there, we took Schuyler to Las Vegas to attend a surprise fiftieth birthday party for one of my best friends (and Schuyler’s godfather). Last weekend, she was undone by a gathering of her school friends that she basically sees every day, over pizza and games. We followed that up with a trip to Las Vegas, a place that is the very physical manifestation of the concept of overstimulation. It’s safe to say that we were concerned.

Schuyler nailed it. She nailed it right to the wall.

For Schuyler, these kinds of events are tricky. She is incredibly personable and physical in her interactions with people she loves, or peers she wants to be close to, which can be more complicated and a little heartbreaking. But she also suffers from pretty serious social anxieties, particularly in situations with new people or in which she has to act decisively with strangers. This weekend was placing her in a mostly alien world, one that couldn’t be less sympathetic to social anxieties if it tried. (Imagine if Schuyler’s seizures were triggered by flashing lights.) But she was there to celebrate one of her favorite human beings on the planet, with his wife whom she adores just as much. She was deeply and personally invested in success.

I’m proud of Schuyler, but you know what? I’m proud of us, too. We watched her closely. We kept her as calm as I think we possibly could, considering she was in Las vegas celebrating with her beloved godparents and staying in a hotel that looks like a damn castle. When she became overly excited, we brought her back with short breaks and deep breaths. When she had frustrating moments, we let her step back and we refocused her on the positive. And when she fixated on things that weren’t inherently negative (like the Hershey’s Chocolate World store and later, the faux-Egyptian splendor of the Luxor), we indulged her. A week before, we allowed the dangers of her birthday party to sneak up on us all. We didn’t repeat that mistake this time.

In the end, though, it was Schuyler who successfully navigated the potential minefield of this Vegas trip. She took hold of the good moments and managed to work through the hard ones. She didn’t ignore the complexities that can often defeat her, but she didn’t allow them to derail her, either. And every so often, maybe just briefly, I was able to let go of my own anxieties for her and just enjoy watching the astonishing young woman she is becoming. Those moments might be fleeting, but they feed me in a way that I absolutely need.

So, that went well. I can breathe easy now, for all of three days.

IEP meeting on Thursday. The Kraken is on standby.

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50 free prints
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