Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Overnight Summer Camp: Pick Up

Yes, I was a bit of a mess while Josh was gone at overnight camp;  not a full blown "can't deal with my life for a while, send out a mass email to all of my friends, stop meeting the needs of the rest of my kids" mess but a more subtle, internal mess.  My thoughts kept wandering toward dark scenarios of Josh getting lost in the woods or crying all night.  I kept having that jolting feeling of realizing that I've left my cell phone somewhere but then I would realize that it wasn't my phone, it was my first born, my thirteen year old baby who NEEDS ME DARN IT!

But surely, they would call me if he was having a really hard time... and they did not call.  So I tried to enjoy my weekend.  I went to my daughters' musical performance that came at the end of their summer day camp.  I helped them run a lemonade stand in our driveway. I took them out to a movie.   Admittedly, all of these things were much easier without also managing Josh.  I tried really hard to let it be a true respite weekend.  On Sunday morning at church, I had someone pray with me so I could let go of my worries and be more of a mom that trusts my son into God's hands.

Finally, after lunch after church, the girls and I drove back up the hills to the respite camp.  I race-walked to the check out station and signed all of the forms.  It seemed to take forever for Josh and his counselor to come out and when they did, my beloved boy had a silly hat on his head and a smile on his face.  "Hi Mama" he said, without prompting.

I asked his buddy how he did and this is what she said, "Honestly, in my three summers of being a counselor at this camp,  Josh was the easiest, most happy camper by far."  She told me that he had not once cried out or gotten upset.

She handed me their schedule/ list of activities and it turns out that Josh gladly participated in the following:

- Rode a horse
- Swam at a pool party with games (where he won the prize for "Best Underwater Dancer")
- Attended a dance after dinner
- Participated in a squirt gun fight
- Made a hand puppet
- Watched a talent show
- Ate a lot at an ice cream party
- Made sand art
- Packed up his own bag
- Enjoyed a slide show of the camp and picked up his camp award.

My relief was like a fresh wind on a scorching day.  What is this new world that we are in?  What is this new reality where I could possibly have a few days off and my son is having fun??!!

As I drove down the hill with my beloved son, who is no longer my baby, I realized that I had a little bit of sadness mix in with my joy.  He does not always need me in the same way as he has.  For all of my talk and goal setting about independence skills, honestly, that's not as easy for me as I thought. I'm used to being the one who keeps this boy alive day in and day out.  I am learning that letting him grow up means getting a chiropractic adjustment on my sense of my own identity as a special needs mom.   It's a little painful but I'm glad and willing.


  1. Sitting here all teary-eyed. Very happy for you and for Josh.

  2. So glad it went well! Huge step for all of you!

  3. So glad it was a positive experience for Josh :)

  4. Glad it was positive for Josh!

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Susan. Gives me a better insight of your day to day life. Hank said he wants to come and visit! We should make that happen!

    1. We'd love to have you guys, Karen. My girls really enjoyed being with you.