Among my many roles on this planet, I am also a Girl Scout Leader. Every so often, I take the time to volunteer at a week long day camp from 8 am to 4pm (or until the last girl is picked up from my unit). It’s a fun job and I genuinely enjoy it in the North Carolina heat. Okay, so maybe not the heat. The perks of working the camp is you daughter goes for ½ price, you get free lunch and your younger children (BOYS) can attend the camp for free in the “Pixie” unit. Cool, huh? A few months back I shared with JD’s special education teacher I was working the camp and the opportunity JD had to attend. She smiled weakly, “You could try it I suppose…” A bit deflated, I asked why just try? “Meghann, you know JD.” She said softly. Yes, I do. I silently agreed.
Herein lays that big problem. Yes, we do know our kids. We know their limits and we do know how far we can push those limits. However, we still shoot for the stars. I like to tell JD’s doctors that I go into everything believing it will work out well and perfectly without any discord. I turn a deaf ear to the naysayers not willing to buy into the idea that things could not work out well and then fight with myself when I question my decision. When things don’t go well, I do not get disappointed. I like to remember that movie “Meet the Robinsons”. You don’t learn from success, you learn from failure and always keep moving forward.
Meanwhile, back at day camp. I told the director that JD might be a challenge and that if it did not work out, I had childcare for him so it would not be an issue. I was hopeful that it would work out well. School had ended the week before and he was still in structure mode and it would be okay. Here’s where I learn. I did not share with his unit leaders he had SPD, which was so dumb. I explained was that JD’s transitions best with a 5 minute warning, make sure he is aware of the schedule and what’s next and if he’s getting antsy to offer him play dough or paper and crayons. Oh, scissors too! Pretty simple, no? For those questioning why I didn’t tell them. Well, they had nearly choked on the Epilepsy pill and I feared that they would have a hard enough time dealing with that (even though his seizures are all sleep related) and I just wanted them to treat him as normally as possible. Again shooting for the stars, I wanted it to work out. I wanted him to enjoy this amazing space themed camp and go on the moon bounce at the end of the week. Long story short, it just didn’t work out. For both boys almost because my 3 ½ year old feeds off of JD, but that’s a whole other blog!
We tried one day, just as his teacher suggested. She said too that we should at least offer him the experience. We did. He has fond memories of his one day and came home with a cool lab coat.
It’s hard, sometimes. I know what he can do and what he can’t do, but in my mind pushing him that little bit and shooting for the stars will yield more positive than negative results. And here’s where I learn more. Be more realistic. Know what he can do and what he can do and when it is appropriate to push it a teeny bit.
Should I still shoot for those stars or should I shoot for something more tangible? And the war in my head wages on. But I do know this for certain: I love my son and my love for him is bigger that the world and the galaxy that those stars live in.