Lost at the Lodge

By Leia Holley

The sound of rushing water and laughter echo throughout the Lodge, my guide two steps ahead of me, takes a quick turn towards the rushing water and begins his climb toward the top of the structure.

He turns to motion for me to follow, yet can’t hear my pleas for him to wait.

Now he is lost. I can’t follow him! I am not wearing the appropriate gear.

I cannot lose sight of him. He needs me.

My guide is “not from here”, he doesn’t understand the language. He needs me to navigate the torturous terrain. He needs me to interpret for him.

I watch helplessly as he climbs closer to the top. The ‘natives’ are unaware of his inability to understand their attempts to communicate.

I pace, my eyes frantically darting from him and scanning the Lodge in search of anyone who can help. Where are they?

Wait, does he need me?

That’s him at the top, standing among the ‘natives’ waiting. He steps in, sits down and waits. They are telling him to “go”, yet he waits. Then one of the smaller ones reaches out and pushes him and he disappears.

The water rushes and time drags as an eternity passes, he reappears at the base of the structure grinning from ear to ear.

He steps from the long red water slide and my son skips back to the Club House structure.

I try to breathe as I watch my son rejoin the other children and they climb towards the slides.

I struggle to fight back tears as my son’s world expands and he proudly struts toward the entrance of the red water slide.

Children are laughing as they play water games with their parents. People surround me celebrating the joys of childhood.

Yet, I stand at the base of this magnificent structure having received the most incredible Mother’s Day gift from my eleven year old son.

No one seems aware of the marvelous gift and the tremendous obstacles this amazing young man has overcome to reach the top. In his short eleven years our family has navigated more medical and educational mazes than most people will in a lifetime.

Autism nor any other disability stood in Sean’s way that day as he conquered the structure and became a member of the Club House.

He was and is just another kid who wanted to slide. He found a way to get others to help when he needed a push to go down the slide.

My mind races as I wonder; how many times have I actually held him back?

If I had been wearing the appropriate gear, my swimsuit, at that instant would I have ?disabled? my son by hovering? Not letting go?

Sean wasn’t lost at the Great Wolf Lodge.

He was found.

I found a native, a child, searching for ways to show others that ‘I am a kid’.

“Let me play”!