Just got home from taking Rojo to camp. Sleep away camp. Five full nights camp. Go ahead, take a moment and let that soak in.
We've been psyching him up for a full year, and not once has he said, "You know, I don't want to go to camp," or "I'm scared to go to camp," or "Why do I have to go to camp?" Today he was SO extra super duper hyper it was unbelievable. He kept talking about his counselor, "Steve Bennett," a name he dubbed him for no apparent reason. Because I thought the counselors slept in the room with the kids, I assumed the boys would have boys and the girls would have girls. He's been talking about his boy counselor that he's going to have for months.
So, of course, he got a girl. Turns out his cabin mates are all boys, but the counselors sleep OUTSIDE of the cabins, to make sure kids don't wake up and sleep walk/wander off/etc. Anyway, the counselor is his 1:1 for the whole time, and she could not be any sweeter. Ruby. Don't you love that name? Ruby is 23, has been married 5 years, has a 1-and-a-half-year-old and is pregnant with number two. She works and goes to college and this is something she's doing (just for 2 weeks) for college. She wants to work with people with disabilities when she graduates. Ruby was sent straight from heaven.
We have been talking about this camp and how it's for kids with disabilities - all kinds - and how everyone will have a counselor to themselves, and so will he. Still, I don't think he connects the dots and realizes he has a disability. They talk openly in his school about it, we talk openly with him and around him about it, yet still, I just don't think he thinks he does. His eyes were huge when we got there and in the parking lot parents were pulling out the wheel chairs. (So humbling.) There were kids with disabilities that were obvious and some that were not. Mostly boys, I think I only saw a couple of girls. As STM said when we left, "We have so much in common with all the parents there, yet no time to try to connect with them, because we're all busy doing what we have in common."
Most of the kids are repeat campers, I think Rojo might be one of the few that is there for the very first time, and perhaps the only one really away from home for the first time (besides grandparents' houses and his one night at Outdoor School three years ago, and a night at the liz's). When we went through the line of the Behaviorist, she noted that this was an awfully big deal, and asked what would comfort him if he got anxious. He said, "swimming," (that's a whole post for another time right there). Since swimming isn't really reasonable I suggested time with Elmo. Ruby said, "Oh, my son loves Elmo!" I forgive you for pointing out that your BABY loves Elmo, because I know you are still learning, Ruby, and you mean well, and you want my son to be happy, safe and comfortable, and that is all that really matters. But still.
We finished the long check-in process, answered questions the Speech Path had (he's giving Rojo a printed schedule each day so he will know what's going on), and the nurse, we unloaded all his stuff, found him a bunk, and said our goodbyes. He was being brave when we left but I could tell he was processing a lot.
I was processing more. STM and I drove straight to the closest pub for a beer and a burger before climbing back down the mountain. After checking my cell phone for the umpteenth time to make sure it would both vibrate and ring should they call, I looked up and there was a sign in someone's yard that simply said, "God provides."