This has been a strange two weeks for me. My son went to camp for the first time on his own. The past two years he has been to the same fine arts camp he is at now but his sister has always been on the same campus. It was always comforting to me have her there just in case something happened.
My son has Autism. He has done very well at this camp and I have always been impressed by how his cabin counselors and unit director have spoken to me ahead of time to find out exactly how to help him succeed at camp. This year was no different. We talked about giving my son two choices to help him move on if he gets stuck on something or how to let him know he needs to take a break from a situation without making him feel defensive about it.
The other night someone asked me if I missed my son. It was strange because I miss him but not all the stuff that goes with him. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my son. But, it is tiring caring for him. It is not so physically tiring as it is mentally tiring. He is always thinking, talking, and seeking input for his thoughts and ideas. He expects you to keep up with him and honestly now he has surpassed me in his knowledge of certain things such as history and science. I can still keep up with him on certain things but sometimes I have to Google as he is talking so I know exactly how to respond to him or to help him look at things from a different point of view.
When he was about 4 years-old our neighbors, one of whom was an ex-Marine, took him to the zoo for the day as a treat and to help me out. They brought him home about 5 hours later and the neighbor looked at me and said, “That was so exhausting. How do you keep up with him? He never stops thinking, wondering, and talking about his theories. I need a nap to rest my brain.” I laughed because it was true. You get so mentally tired that everything else seems more difficult than it really is.
So, yes I have missed him. Tomorrow I get to go pick him up and hear his orchestra concert. I will get to have him tell me all about his Shakespearean theater minor that he chose and all the fun he had at camp. I can’t wait. But, the best part? He did this all on his own.