camp awesum

IMG_6143Camp Awesum. Monday morning.

Independence. Julia wants it. I think she is ready for some. The question is always how to arrange it and keep her safe. An opportunity at camp has arisen.

There is coffee in the mornings starting at 6:30, breakfast is not until 8:30. I made it down for coffee at 7:30. Before I left the cabin, I told Julia, mostly asleep, that I would telephone her. Hopefully, she will wake up, get out of bed and start getting dressed.

I called, explained what I wanted and she wanted to meet me by the beach, dressed and ready for breakfast. T minus 15 minutes.

A week in Maine and now this, a week at Moon Lake near St. Germaine, WI. The quiet is stunning. The lake beautiful although it has eaten up the beach, some say it is higher than they’ve ever seen it. We are in the cabin called Loon which pleases Julia to no end. We saw common loons in Maine and she loved calling to them.

I have so many pictures to post—a few days of cruising, my niece’s wedding and Maine. I’ll get to it this week. There was neither electricity or web connection at the Maine cabin. I did prepare for it. I brought paper books and journals. I read and wrote. Between Maine and the cruise, there has been days and day’s without outside world connection. I got more writing done than I have in a long time. I’m taking up fiction again. When we were back home after the cruise for four days, we went to church and I met the husband of a woman I know. We chatted and he told me about his writing group and wound up inviting me to join. It was an invitation I did not know I was waiting for. If I am going to take up fiction again, I need community and first readers.

Our return from Maine and turn around to come to camp was an adventure. Our 6:30 pm flight out of Bangor was cancelled due to weather in Newark. (We had delay for the same reason coming out to NJ.) Bangor airport is small with very few planes coming in and out— 6 departures a day on united, a similar number on Delta. Not all flights going somewhere where we could connect to go to Madison. They were going to reschedule us for Sunday or Monday—not difficult to believe that Saturday’s flights were full. Some good advice from the gate agent and we were taking an dawn bus from Bangor to Boston and then a flight to Chicago and another to Madison. I wasted no time rebooking and quickly going across the street to get a room at the only hotel visible from the airport. Yes, I’ve done this before. No good movies in the hotel but crab cakes for dinner (Julia loves them!) and movies on the 4 hour bus ride. We were in Boston in time to have lunch with Cheshire and friend, followed by very easy flights home. They rebooked us in the economy plus seats and yes, they are more comfortable. Space!! Like in the old days of five years ago.

We were home by 8, put in a wash, picked up supper fixings, clothes went into the drier, salads got made. We ate and then gratefully fell into bed. Days like that leave me exhausted—more than the level of activity warrants. When careful plans collapse, I’ve gotten good at managing on shifting sands but I stress over Julia. She did great and more and more she does well with plan B’s. I will learn to stop stressing and let her roll with changes. However, before I got into bed I wondered if I could really get ready in time to leave for camp by 11 am.

We didn’t leave until one and I drove with determination to make it to camp before supper. We made it by minutes and then sunk into the luxuries of Camp Awesum—families who get it, acceptance of less than totally appropriate social interaction, and familiarity. We know some families from madison activities, some from our last time at camp. Some volunteers are also familiar from our last visit two years ago.

Having two experiences this summer with organizations who serve families with members on the spectrum is an embarrassment of riches. I am so grateful to find out about these experiences and to be able to take part in them. I have had challenges at times but Julia flourishes. Each experience educates her in ways I cannot do alone. And she has fun, something that is missing at times from our ordinary life.

Julia made it to the meal hall in time and alone. Dressed and washed and brushed. I didn’t need to go to prod her along. She even made her bed. She brought her phone and coloring, neither of which she needed but we had time after breakfast to go back to our cabin and change out her swim shoes, get rid of the gear and take meds.

Then she was off to a morning of camp activities with her group and I to yoga and then a long write and read.

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