A New Beginning

Twelve days ago A and I made the trip to North Carolina- we left at 4:30 am from Newark Airport. It was  familiar f flying alone with him. But the feelings were different. I wasn’t worried about how to keep him safe on the plane ride, I wasn’t worried about how he would react to me leaving him in an unfamiliar hospital. This trip was different. It was exciting anticipation. We talked about what the trip would be like- what it would be like to take care of a llama, to trek through the wilderness, to go rafting down a river. At one point A snuggled up against me and told me he would miss me. “I’ll miss you to. I can’t wait to hear all about the trip when you get back! Just twelve days!”

We rented a car to drive from the Ashville NC airport to base camp. Enroute, we made a stop at Target to replace the sunglasses he fiddled with on the plane and popped out a lens. A must have been having similar thoughts to me on this trip. “Mom, have you written in the blog lately? I mean, have you finished it yet?” I told him I hadn’t but really needed to. “Well, you should write. And you should tell everyone I am okay now.” Wow. He was okay.

The trip to Target was a little unnerving as he tried every pair on, dismissing each as too big, too small, too tight or too loose. He was on edge, but held himself together. Finally he picked a pair. We paid for it and approached the exit door and he cried “They don’t fit either!” So we returned them and started over. A eventually found a pair- the same exact pair we just returned, but I didn’t tell him that- and I rushed us out the door before he could discover something wrong with this pair too.

We had an exciting car ride on the Great Smokey Mountain Highway and then what seemed like off roading for a few miles to base camp. We were greeted by smiley 20-something year olds so happy to see us. We had an in-brief session discussing A’s goals for the trip, his meds and an overview of the experience. Then we had a tour. We met a boy in A’s group (only 4 kids in a group and 3 counselors!) Interestingly, A really hit it off with this boy, who was a little too friendly, spoke a little too much and was very active. Peas in a pod. After our brief tour the counselor asked A how he was feeling about saying goodbye to me. With a slight wave of A’s hand I was dismissed.

We received two letters while A was trekking:

“Dear Mom, I miss you so much I cry for you everyday. Love A”

“Dear Mom, When I get home I don’t want to go to sleepaway camp. I will tell you why when I see you. Love A”

We had a few phone calls from staff letting us know A was doing great- a few days of really bad homesickness and then he was terrific.

A and D are on the plane flying home now. I’ve heard from them throughout the day and can’t wait to see A’s face and hear all about the trip. He says he has a best friend (the first boy we met there.) Asked if he could do the Florida trip next year. And told me he can’t go to sleepaway camp because as much as he loved his experience, he just missed home too much.

So the plans for the rest of the summer are up in the air. Friday A and D leave for a weekend fly fishing program. The following weekend we all go to New Hampshire to a “farm resort.” While we are there we will be telling A the plans for September. D and I will decide then about sleepaway camp.

Our boy is okay now. He told me to tell you.

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3 Responses to “A New Beginning”

  1. Judy kirkwood Says:

    So what happened to effect the change in A so that he could enjoy this trip. Was it stopping amatadine or what?

    What was your change in perspective and A’s ability to better control his behavior due to?

    I’m very happy for A and your family. Sounds so much healthier for all. Congratulations!

  2. Mama Bear Says:

    What great news!! Enjoy the moments.

  3. hank miller Says:

    my son attended HCS and was Bar Mitzvah’d there- we should talk….. and you should also talk with my wife….

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