In the middle of a week during the summer, A. and I dropped E. and Z. at the grandparents' and headed one state over to an autism conference. J. came along with us, mostly because he had no choice.
For two days, we had a chance to listen to some amazing experts in the field of autism. This was for us, in many ways, our music festival stocked with revered celebrities. We had watched and/or read presentations by all of the speakers who would be there, but we wanted to see them in person anyway. Going into the event, we were both excited for the day with Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.
Since J. was with us, I spent a large part of several sessions outside of the auditorium. Whenever he started fussing, I headed to the door. If he wasn't too worked up, I discovered that I could still hear the presenter while sitting in the chairs just outside the doors. When that would fail, we would walk around the hotel lobby. We got to know some of the vendors pretty well. A. took him for one session each day, so I had some uninterrupted time. And we also received a booklet with many of the slides from the presentations, so I was able to fill in the gaps.
We purchased a few books and a kit, although we haven't done nearly as much with them as I would like. (Everything's getting pushed to another time. Lots of "once the baby's sleeping better." Which still hasn't happened.) But we walked away with a lot of good material and high spirits.
A. and I also got to eat out a couple times and stroll around a shopping center (with the all-important stop at the Lego Store). Sure we had J. with us, but he was mostly content to hang out with us.
I had three interactions with presenters which made the whole trip worthwhile. Each one deserves its own post; I hope to give them space in the next week or two.