A week from today, I will be waking up wondering how my son’s first night at camp went.
Up until now, his first overnight camp without the family has been a distant, almost theoretical topic – something we referred to but didn’t dwell on.
It’s now time to start labelling clothes, checking packing lists and focusing on what will make this a success.
Last summer, we did a three-day family camp that Deane hated. All he wanted to do was stay our cabin and watch his iPad. On reflection, I concluded that having his parents there let him misbehave in a way he rarely does at school or with other people and that he had spent much of the summer up to that point watching videos and saw no reason to stop.
He has watched videos this summer, but we’ve been pretty strict about him getting out as well. Now it is time to worry about the other details.
Deane used to have a page of symbols on his tray to help him communicate his most common thoughts and questions. He also had a list of the adapted signs he uses and what they mean. Somehow I never got around to replacing them this year when they became disgustingly dirty. These are a must to help counsellors and other campers know what Deane is thinking and feeling.
I am also contemplating compiling a Book of Words – my grandparents’ term for users’ manuals – of instructions and suggestions about those things that are part of Deane’s routine that may or may not be obvious to outsiders.
A month ago, we spent a day driving to visitors’ day at the camp. It was good for Deane to meet some of the counsellors and for them to meet him. He says he is looking forward to camp.
Deane is doing his part by adopting a good attitude. I’m hoping that focusing on the practical details will help calm my nerves and stop me from thinking about next Monday morning.