Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My chicks are all back in the nest. I am so relieved. Deep sighing doesn't even begin to describe it.

I want to blog about it. I think I need to. But the week brought so many emotions, I think both Mason and I are absolutely exhausted from it all. So, I've started this...worked on it for a couple of days and finally think I'll just put it out there in the hopes that someone gains something....although maybe this particular post is just about helping me process emotions....oh, who am I kidding, all my posts are about me processing!

When Mason told us he wanted to go to CIY, I understood. I love camp. I cherish my memories of traveling with my youth group to various camps, mission trips, etc as a teenager. I know there is so much to be gained by spending time in spiritual retreat, making friends doing the same and exercising your independence a bit. I get it.

This trip, however, challenged Mason in ways, that if I am honest here, I have to say I wasn't ready for him to be challenged. I was not ready to tax his body with the mundane aspects of being away from home on a college campus where we had never been. I had no idea how accessible -- or inaccessible -- things were on the campus. That alone made me crazy....and as the Mother, asking questions of a wonderful youth minister who has responsibilities to plan a week for ALL of the almost 1000 kids attending, I am certain I came across as overprotective and worrisome.

I asked anyway. But here's the thing. If you look at my amazing Mason, you'll see his crutches, but he is so strong, so self-confident that you might gloss over the DIS in his disability...not understanding all that his Cerebral Palsy means for him. So even though we discussed accessibility prior to the trip -- and even though we took steps to increase the accessibility in areas we could control, there were definite issues that made the week extremely exhausting for my guy.

There were obvious things that made me worry -- the last minute addition of a white-water rafting trip; the hours of rec time where he would have little to do (he could swim...but it was cold!);  getting his food in the cafeteria (trays are a challenge for people who use crutches to ambulate.); getting from the shower down the hall back to his room; etc. There were things that others might not realize are hard: the dorm had steps leading to the door. Steps present a physical challenge to Mason. He could have walked around the building and entered from the parking lot where there were no steps but adding MORE walking certainly didn't aid in his exhaustion. Sigh.

Mason is not a complainer. He will work to figure out a solution himself before telling someone that the situation is inaccessible. And he did that. He met the physical challenges head-on last week. But the physical exhaustion affected him and his ability to fully enjoy his week.

Spiritually-speaking, the week had some great parts. Mason learned and grew from speakers and worship leaders and from time alone with God. But he was also forced to be bold in the face of language and conversations that he found inappropriate. While proud of his boldness, my Mommy-heart would have loved for him to NOT be exposed to such at church camp.

The bottom line, we were all stretched this week. We identified some areas that will need work before his next camp experience. He learned he can stand on his own -- no matter how challenging -- he CAN! He also discovered that he is bold in his faith and exactly what that means. I am so proud of him.

So yes, camp is a blessing. But today, I am thanking God mightily for the blessing of having my crew back in one place!


Allison said...

I randomly stumbled across your blog from Kelly's Korner. I don't have children with special needs, but that's the link I found you under. I have been addicted to reading your blog since then. Your passion for Jesus and love for your family just inspires me. It's great to see Jesus shining so brightly in you and your sweet family!

Blessing Counter said...

Allison, Your comment blessed me! Thank you for taking time to read -- and to comment! I look forward to getting to know you!! :)

Hoekzema said...

I don't think I got the full camp experience from this blog post. I therefore am putting in a request for a guest blogger post from the camper himself....Mason!!! Please tell us what camp was like, what you did, was the food good?, did you miss being at home, did you meet some new friends, etc. Please!