Sean, my 14-year-old autistic son, is off to camp for the first
time without my husband or me.
And how does that make me feel??
Internally I'm a wreck. Wondering. Worrying.
A million what-ifs running through my head…
When I packed his rain gear earlier I looked at the blue poncho
and then the yellow one.
"Choose the yellow one," my head said, "it will be easier for
the helicopters to spy."
Oh world, help me now!
I even packed an emergency kit for him-complete with whistle and
compass-and told him to sit his butt down and wait for help in case
he got lost.
My imagination is on overload as I envision all the horrible
things that could happen to him while he's away from my side for a
mere 42 hours.
And it's not just the thought of him getting lost in the woods
or drowning in some nearby stream.
Will he remember to put on deodorant every day? Will he actually
use the bar of soap he took with him and wash his hands at least
once while he's out there?
Will he freak if he sees a spider in the outhouse?
Will he remember to change his clothes and pack them when it's
time to come home?
Will he know when to get into the chow line or will he be off in
his own world, wandering the camp, and talking to himself?
Will he eat the food provided or finish off the goodies from
home we gave him in case the troop served something he couldn't eat
due to his texture issues?
Oh the joys of parenting!
This weekend's decision did not come easily and was certainly
not set in stone. Even last night I questioned my husband about our
Are we really going to let him go without us?
Sean was thrilled with the idea of going alone-if you consider
traveling with nine Boy Scouts and three adults as "alone."
My husband took great pride in pretending to saw the umbilical
cord between Sean and myself as the two of us hugged before he
I know he knew Sean was ready and this day was eventually going
to come. But I swear I saw tears in my husband's eyes as he closed
the car door to go.
I have not shed a single tear.
Instead, I'm simply going to remain in denial all weekend.
Sean's not out in the woods, away from home, without us. No,
Sean merely is being unusually quiet.
Yeah. Let's go with that!
Sean called home tonight looking for his food bag. At least that
answers one question! Even though we had told him numerous times
before he left, Sean had forgotten that it had been given to a
leader for safekeeping.
He said he put up his tent in record time. He was really proud
of himself. It sounded like he was having a great time.
He asked how it was without him.
I handed the phone over to my husband as I choked back
I was unable to come up with something that was both upbeat and
yet conveyed just the right amount of missing him.
Whether or not he uses his deodorant or bar of soap, whether or
not he earns any part of his merit badge or eats the food they
make, this weekend is going to be a success.
A success for Sean because he went.
And a success for us because we let him go.
What to do with your weekend, delivered every Thursday.
Great deals and chances to win prizes, delivered every Monday.
Exclusive offers from our partners,usually delivered twice a week.
Resources for parents of children with special needs,delivered the second Tuesday each month.