Every year we attend the
Abbey Medieval Festival
(Caboolture, Queensland, Australia)
Each visit the festival is better than the last. Each visit my son learns more, asks more, takes more time planning his outfit and deciding on which weapons to take. Each year I look at the photos and see how much my little warrior has grown and changed. Each year I see those changes (the good and not so good) with his Aspergers and other issues and see how they effect his day and his mood. I forget sometimes till I look at photos, that the journey hasn't always been smooth sailing.
I was going to write a review.
I was going to talk about the festival and tell you how amazing
it is and that you should all go along if you can.
But you can visit their website and learn all about it,
check out their Facebook page etc. Sometimes it's best to visit with no expectations from a review and just be blown away by the atmosphere and see it all with fresh eyes. So I will leave that for now.
I think after taking a trip down memory lane and looking through my photos, this post morphed into my own Medieval Timeline .... of my son's journey over the years.
From a fearless 3 year old conquering a hill ...
A hyperactive, loud, wide eyed boy who was certainly a handful.
To a 4 year old with an axe and an attitude ...
A challenge for us with the discovery of Autism Spectrum Disorders and all that that entails.
To a 5 year old starting to explore and ask millions of questions.
The start of his first official year of schooling (Prep). The start of bullying and a lack of adequate help at school.
A 6 year old winning battles and gaining confidence ...
A new school, lots of therapy, new strategies. Hope for improvement with lovely teachers but a struggle still, and more bullies.
Then a very lost 7 year old.
A boy who at the start of the year (still 6) had wanted to end his life and spent the school day in tears, hiding under chairs, running away and miserable. A boy who vomited daily before school. A boy who I removed from school to homeschool and to help re build. These photos break my heart. I can see the anxiety, the missing smile, the need to hide under a hood or behind a cardboard helmet. The broken spirit. We had a lot of work to do that year to get our boy back.
As an 8 year old we saw not only a new colour but a new outlook. Homeschooling was the key and the best thing we ever did. The smile came back, a guarded smile but it was there. No hiding. Willing to take part in life again. He was growing. The depression was gone. He was able to deal with changes including a change to a new colour (hello Red and goodbye Brown!!!).
Age 9. Everything was looking up on the Aspergers side of life. However my little warrior then hit more hurdles. The physical problems he'd had since he was a toddler and which had grown worse each year, had become so hard that the year was spent in a lot of pain, with extreme fatigue and reliant on a wheelchair for outings. This was the first year my boy asked to stay at home despite it being one of his top 5 days of the year (up there with his Birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc). It was a very difficult year.
Later that year we went on a trip interstate and attended a Kryal Castle, a Medieval themed attraction, to make up for missing his favourite festival. It was a good day that day. Little pain, no wheelchair needed and the warrior was back in action!
This year he was an Archer. My big 10 year old. The confidence is back. The enthusiasm is back. Maturity has kicked in. He is tall and wearing a men's tunic. We still needed the wheelchair this year, but not for the whole day. He is learning to cope with his physical issues and manage his pain. This is my happy, social, talkative, inquisitive, funny young man. Dealing with and overcoming his hurdles. Loving his homeschooling.
It's not till I take the time to reflect and compare photos
that I see the huge differences, the ups and downs. One day soon I
might get around to doing a review of the actual festival, but I hope you don't
mind that today I was a little distracted by memories and
thought I'd share (even if just for me to come back and look at)
a little photo timeline.