We can’t have it both ways…. but it’s still a little bit sad.

Today was my son’s first day attending day camp this summer. He has attended this camp since he was 5 – he’s 22 now.

Every summer he was able to attend camp all summer long, even staying after until 8pm for a special after camp program they hold twice a week. He loves it there.

Now that he’s 22 and aged out of the school system, he is in a work program, year round. When I started looking at programs for him I was shocked that they didn’t get the summers off!

Of course they don’t, they are adults and have to do their job every day, just like we do. But it was a rude awakening for me at the time.

Everything changes after “school-age”. He’s aged out of Challengers baseball. Seventeen years of baseball….over. No more February vacations, Spring Vacations or Summer vacations. He’s “working” now, with 3 weeks’ vacation, holidays and some sick days, just like everyone else. This was probably the hardest transition for me so far. I have to think to call “work”, “work” and not “school”. It takes a minute, when I panic that I haven’t set up anything for February vacation – to realize that there is no February vacation any more. Becoming an Adult may actually be harder on me that it is on him. It’s just such a huge change.

Yes, I know we are moving into adulthood and working toward independence; as much independence as his capabilities will allow.  Yes, I know this was the goal all along, but on the other hand, he’s still so much a child. He’s still watching “Barney” (22 years of Barney! That’s a Support Group I need to form, anybody?), he’s still reading and watching Disney and is not embarrassed to hug and kiss his Mom.  On some level, for me, as much as I always work and hope for more progress, I love it,  it’s nice.

This should be a happy time, and of course it is. He is an adult. He is in a program that he loves, but when summer comes around and it’s time for Camp to start, it’s a little bit sad that he doesn’t get to spend a fun filled, happy-go-lucky summer at camp as he used to. He only gets his two weeks.

Because…..he’s an adult now………

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11 thoughts on “We can’t have it both ways…. but it’s still a little bit sad.

  1. Vickie, This was a touching piece. I could feel how this must be bittersweet for you, and I think it’s very natural to feel conflicted–happy that he’s becoming a more independent adult, but sad that he doesn’t get to fill his happy-go-lucky spirit with the fun adventures of summer camp. You’re a wonderful Mom.

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    • Thank you for your comment, Wendy (and for the compliment). It’s really been much harder that I ever imagined. He’s been “working” for a full year now and it really hit me yesterday when I went to pick them up from their first day of camp. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

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  2. I have been thinking those same thoughts for John. It is definitely bittersweet. You are not alone! You have done an amazing job as a mom:)

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    • Thanks, Patty. Glad to know I’m not alone and just being a big baby :). It was weird last year. I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much now.

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  6. Wow, this is really beautiful! I enjoyed reading this very much. You told it excellently…helped me see (and feel) things from your perspective. And even your son’s, in a way, though I don’t have autism.

    I actually appreciate this from at least three perspectives – yours, your son’s, and other people’s. This encourages me to see and think about what life – what each day – might be like from each view. Of course, I can’t fully understand unless I walked in these shoes. And even then, I’m not you or your son. But I am sympathetic with the joys and the challenges that must continually unfold.

    Frankly, based on what I read here, I think both of you have a stronger appreciation for the marvel of life and all that it can bring than many others unfamiliar with this type of experience. I’m sure of course things are more complex than they appear, but I’m impressed by how it’s all been.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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