Today is Michael’s first day at a new summer camp. I am “nervous/excited just like Michael says he is. This is not his first all day camp experience, but it will be his first all day camp experience integrated in a regular type of summer camp. I have rarely tried this in the past, due to fears of him not being excepted and “sticking out”, as well as my fears of a negative experience wounding his growing self-esteem. Way back at the beginning of his autism diagnosis right after some disastrous experiences in settings with neuro typical children and their families, I was also worried about my own feelings of standing out too as the weird parent with the weird kid. I was battling my own parenting insecurities, but that is now fortunately water under the bridge for me and our family. I know I am a good Mom like all Moms, doing the best that I can. Still, other than in our church and four hours a week at an after-school program, Michael has only been with exceptional children in adapted settings. So this summer was really me going out on a limb here trying to practice what I have been preaching to Michael.
“Don’t worry honey. I’m sure camp will go great. You’ll be swimming a lot, and if something happens, I am always here to help you. I love you. And remember, God is always with you and loves you.”
Thank goodness for my faith. It is what carries me through when I am so scared to release my baby to the big bad world out there. I know, it’s not as cruel as the media sometimes makes it out to be, and of course, going out anywhere is a risk. Heck, life is one big risk, but if we don’t take chances and try things, we’ll never know what we’re capable of. Still, it’s hard. I remember my own mother releasing me to the world, reminding me she was there for me to help me through the obstacles of life, but that I had to face them on my own. That is how I would learn to live the life I was meant to live.
What fears are you holding you back, Exceptional Moms? What things do you worry about concerning yourselves and your Exceptional Children? How do you cope and move forward? We all have ways of dealing with stressful situations, and of facing change. I truly believe that the more we do this in a positive way in our own lives and in our children’s lives, the stronger we will all be. Plus, we’ll probably even surprise ourselves with what we and they can do. Until next time.