My son has gone camping with Cubs. Not your girly in a lodge camping, but on the ground in a tent with wild things around camping. He has done this before and had great success. Right now, with every fibre of my being I want to run up there, snatch him up and bring him home. I worry that he is cold, I worry that I didn’t send enough clothes, I worry, I worry, I worry.
I realize that parents of children without challenges worry but as a parent of one of each, I can honestly say it is different. I’ll tell you a story – once upon a time, I had a dad. One day when I was 20, he died and I no longer had a dad in the physical sense. Shortly before this time, I had “lost” my dad to divorce. There were hard feelings, bad circumstances, etc. But he remained on this earth and was there to be reached out to when I was ready. Apparently it wasn’t going to be for long, so several life lessons were learned during this time. I had experienced losing him in two ways which were distinctly different. I had a friend whose parents had divorced tell me that losing your dad to divorce and death was the same thing. As her dad was still walking the earth, I vehemently disagreed having experienced both and greatly preferring the loss to divorce. So when I say that I see things from both sides, I honestly mean it. I tend to look at things from as many angles as possible so I can have a real picture of the situation. Then I store that information for future references as hopefully most people do.
I look at both my kids as distinct individuals. While I have compared my son to other boys, I don’t tend to compare him to my daughter. They are as unique to one another as siblings as they would be as strangers. I do worry about my daughter but I don’t tend to get as shirty about her. Right now she is sleeping safely upstairs and I have no doubt in about half an hour she’ll come tripping down the stairs with a Hello Momma. I still worry that my son will wake up. I still worry that he will be able to see a new day. I still wonder if his allergies will get him in the night or if his asthma will kill him quietly while we sleep. Up until a month or two ago, I still checked on both of them while they were sleeping. I still went in and put my hand on their backs to make sure they were breathing. I’ve even gone so far as to put my hand in front of Thomas’ mouth to make sure the air was making it’s way out.
Now I’ve sent him out in to the woods, in a tent, in a bag to keep him warm with men who will teach him how to survive in said woods for two nights and two and a half days. I’ve piled him up with sweaters, socks, hat and mitts, long johns, medications and warm blankets. I’ve sent snacks and a fishing pole and rubber boots. And all I want to do right now is get in the car, drive the 40 minutes just to put my hand on his back and make sure he is breathing. That he has awoken to see this new day. That I still have my son, my heart, my all.
Having said all of that, I know he is fine. We have camped as a family in this kind of weather and he was just fine. He is gathering skills, he is having accomplishments, he is making friends and building up his confidence. He routinely gets very positive feed back on camp outs. He loves it. He loves the fishing and the fire making and the hiking. He comes home dirty and smelly and proud. I will go in to hock to give him that feeling. I will keep him in Scouting as long as he will stay to give him that feeling. His Aspergers makes it hard for him to get that feeling. He routinely feels bad about himself for whatever reason. I am usually not to blame but have on occasion contributed to these bad feelings via frustration and irritation. Mild Aspergers kids are notoriously hard on themselves and he is no exception. Experiences away from us helps to give him the memories he needs to get over the bad feelings. It gives us field of reference to say – Look what you did buddy ! You did that so yes, you can do this ! He remembers, he smiles and he tries whatever it is we need to do.
So I will control my fibers. I will stay out of my car. I will sit at home and continue to send him positive loving thoughts as I’ve been doing for the past hour or so. This is one occasion where being psychic comes in handy. I can tune in to my son and know that he is fine. I can visualize my son and know that he is fine. I can send my love and hugs to him and know that he feels it. And I will wait to see him Sunday and see how much he has grown. And he’s not going to be the only one who is proud.