So much has happened in the past six months and it’s happened at a speed in which I have been unable to get off the crazy train and write. However today, today has been so monumental that I must. I must stop the crazy train and talk to you, anyone who will listen. Anyone who can hear me.
As anyone who has ever read my blog knows, my son Steve has had a long road. While our adventure has been different than many, it has still been trying, for us. Steve has autism and ADHD. Steve has been through years of intensive ABA therapy, speech therapy, OT therapy, SDC classes etc (me too!). Steve has also been mainstreamed more socially than educationally. Steve is also a person who has never stopped growing in all the ways a child should grow. He’s just done it at his own pace and on his own terms.
Today, today I saw just how much Steve has grown, and it slapped me across the face. Steve, this summer, is in a day camp with kids between the ages of 11-14. He turns 11 in a few weeks. It’s really more based on grades, when you promote from elementary, it’s advised that you move to this middle school camp level. So I did. I moved him. I did so knowing full well that the structure that is available in the elementary camp is not there as much in the middle school camp. In “Plus” as it is called, the kids have more freedom to KINDA do what they want. They are not made to do anything. If a counselor or two decide to take a group on walk, you can go. If you don’t want to, that’s cool, you can stay back at base. If you want to swim on swim days, great. If you don’t, no problem. While that is Heaven for Brooklyn, I knew this may be a challenge for Steve. Steve often needs to be pushed.
Then there are the PLUS field trips. Bigger, bolder, more adventurous. Steve would have to start carrying a wallet to camp for example. They walk to local restaurants for lunch, for example. He would have to keep track and of his own things. No counselor is going to do that for him now, he’s in middle school. “This will be good training for REAL middle school,” I told myself.
First day of camp, he dropped the wallet he was holding in his hand instead of putting it in his backpack, while scootering there. It has a $200 check in it made out to the camp. This is going to be interesting, is the thought that kept rummaging through my head.
Well today was the biggest test yet. Today, Plus took an all day field trip to our local Six Flags. He had to keep a wallet on him with enough money for the day (we are talking CASH, $50+ dollars- lunch, dinner, water, snacks, and a small souvenir) and not lose it. He would be in a group of boys in which he would possibly have to do things he may not want to do. He would have to remember to reapply sunscreen. He would have to remember to pee and eat without being told. There are so many things. I didn’t even realize some of which he would have to face until he returned home.
Steve returned home and patiently, quietly waited for Brooklyn who could neither be patient or quiet while talking about her day and what her group did.
When it was his turn he told me how after every ride he “made sure” he still had his wallet. How he went on the biggest ride in the park because he remembered me telling him, “you’ll never know if you like it if you don’t try” and “just try it once, if you don’t like it you don’t have to ever do it again.” Then telling me, “Mom, I wanted you to be proud of me so I just did it! And you know what? It. Was. Awesome!!!” He compromised with his buddies and did things he didn’t want to and they did things he wanted to do too.
He told me how he then told himself when he saw the next ride that looked super scary “aw, com’mon Steve, you can do it, you did that one!” And he did it, he went on ride…. after ride…. after ride. Big scary roller coaster rides at Six Flags.
“Did you eat lunch?” “Yep,”he replied. “Let me guess, your standard cheeseburger and fries?””Ha! Yeah mom, you know me so well, and it was delicious!” Delicious? Wow. Ummm ok.
“Hey Mom, wanna know what else?”
“Yes, I really really do,” wiping a couple tears from the corners of my eyes.
“I didn’t even spend all my money so I have done for the next field trip too!”
Yeah. I may have lost it right then and there. As my favorite blogger, Diary of a Mom, says…. NOW IS NOT FOREVER, AND FOREVER IS A LOAD OF CRAP!
My baby is growing up and boy are his wings beautiful. He did it. He did it wonderfully, and full of pride. Yep, my baby isn’t a baby any more. Fly lil man, you are going to fly!!!!!
This is the souvenir he brought home. The cutest Flash in the whole wide world. Then he said, “Look mom, your Flash was there and he was just too cute, I couldn’t stand it and he reminded me of you!” Andvyep, that’s his wallet right there next to it on the table. Phew!