Tuesday, July 17, 2012

so campy

for about a year, brooke has been talking about going to summer camp. she'd read about it in a book and seen some tv episodes about camping and she wanted to give it a try. it made me a little sick to my stomach when i first started considering actually letting her go. she's always been explosive when things got too loud or overwhelming. she likes to know what to expect all the time and she needs time to transition more slowly than most kids from one activity to the next. these are all things that would likely be aggravated by a typical camp environment.

there's a place i went as a kid, every summer, called word of life ranch. it's a wonderful, beautiful place in the adirondack mountains where college students who have done a year at their bible institute work as counselors during the summer. i have tons of happy memories of being there and i felt like, if brooke was going to camp, that's where it would need to be.

i got over my anguishy belly and signed her up for a week. i decided she would only go as a day camper rather than overnight every day for a week so as to have a chance to detox and calm down in my presence if things got too overwhelming for her. i was anticipating at least one SOS call from camp admin asking me to come get her because she was freaking out and inconsolable.

well, as it turns out, brooke was incredibly ready for camp. we drove to new york (15 hr drive) and for a couple nights we just went to the evening camper meetings and walked around the property. she had a chance to absorb the noises and smells and chaos and yelling with me at her side before i dropped her off for a whole day. she met her counselors and the kids who would share her cabin for the week. she was more than ready when i left her at 7:30 monday morning.

all day long, i waited for the phone call of distress. nothing. i enjoyed my day with family and when i picked her up in the evening, she was happy and full of sugary joy.

she got to take a horsemanship class that allowed her to spend a total of six hours with the horses over the course of the week and that was definitely her favorite part.

brooke functioned happily through so many various new things all week long. she had to learn how to go through a food line and pick her own meal choices three times a day. she had to sit still and quiet through bible meetings. she had to always keep track of at least one of her counselors and she had to stay calm even when things got super loud.

each night when i picked her up, she didn't want to sit quietly with me to cool down after a hectic day. she wanted to play and squeal with her cousins and practice her newfound trick of armpit farts.

all in all, it was a fantastical week, better than i'd even dared to hope. she can't wait to go back next year and she wants to sleep over in 2013 now that she knows what to expect.

it's amazing to see my little aspie girl absorbing and applying all the coping skills she's learned so that she can go new places and try new things without becoming overwhelmed or freaking anyone out in the process. my soul is a happy place.


  1. Your soul SHOULD BE a happy place. Just look at the smiles on that girls face. Transitions and new things are hard for Most people, let alone those who struggle with such things.
    15 hour drive.....WOW
    you are a good mom to give her this experience

  2. An loving mom, an amazing daughter...that combination can defeat anything. Proud of both of you.

  3. It sounds like you've provided her with wonderful memories that will stay with her for te rest of her life.

  4. That is great that Brooke had such a good time and handled it beautifully.

  5. I'm glad to hear that Brooke had such a great time, it looks like a lot of fun to me, like Stephen says, this is going to be an experience that she will remember for the rest of her life.

  6. Love those happy kid shots... what an amazing experience for Brooke. Sounds like she'll be counting down the days til next summer! :)

  7. It's great when everything works out so well. You both look so totally happy.

  8. This all makes sense now. I read "Adirondacks" which are in New York which is where you are not. Then, I read you were making a 15 hour drive (my six hours to Virginia were bad enough. Can't imagine 15). Ohhhhhhhh...........
    The Adirondacks are breathtakingly beautiful. We used to vacation there when I was a kid. We also went to the Catskills. Where NOBODY put Baby in a corner. I really hope you got my "Dirty Dancing" reference.

  9. that's wonderful, Sherilin. I'm glad Brooke had such a good time. It sounds like an absolutely beautiful place. This is heartwarming, because I always feel that kids SHOULD be outside in the world as much as possible, and sometimes it's so hard to get them there.

  10. aww that sounds awesome. Well done to Brooke!

  11. That is so adorable. I love that post.

    PS - Why don't I have you on the twitter?! @snappysurprise

  12. Yay Brooke! So happy for her and for you. Nice job, mama. Love her awesome boots and her ability to make armpit farts. She is my hero. :)


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