I dropped off my 8-year-old son Scott at camp Sunday afternoon. Thanks to a “campership” from Easter Seals Louisiana, he is once again attending Camp ASCCA (Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults). Last summer was his first time to go.
I was a little anxious this weekend as we made the drive up to Jackson’s Gap, Ala. I felt pretty confident Scott had enjoyed camp last year, but his verbal abilities are limited (he has a rare chromosome disorder resulting in an intellectual disability), so it’s hard to know. We have dozens of pictures of him smiling and laughing last summer at camp, and he won the first time camper of the year award, so probably pretty sure I’m thinking he loved it.
Still. You know how kids freak out on the second day of preschool? The first day’s drop-off goes OK, minimal crying, and you think, “Piece of cake!” But then Day 2 comes. You return for the morning drop-off, all smug-like because the first day was such a breeze. And it would have been a breeze if your kid hadn’t TOTALLY LOST HIS MIND when you attempt to leave him, Not that this has ever happened to me. Ahem.
The kid has figured it out, see. He realizes you are bringing him to that place to LEAVE HIM.
So I wondered if Scott might respond the same way, this being his second year of camp. Maybe he wouldn’t want me to leave me? Maybe he would cling to me and weep, breaking my heart as I drove away.
Well. I was wrong wrong WRONG SO WRONG, holy geez I WAS WRONG.
As we pulled up to camp, Scott caught sight of familiar faces, counselors from last year. His face lit up, and he was practically gleeful when he heard them all shouting his name. He couldn’t get out of the car fast enough.
As we wandered around the campgrounds, first to check in and then to find his cabin, it seemed like everyone recognized Scott and called him by name. He was eating it up, running around and hollering and whooping it up at the top of his lungs.
That’s when I realized, he was done with me. It was pretty much over between us–he was ready to chill with his peeps, and DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YA, MOM.
Really, I think he might have said that. Pretty sure he was thinking it. The tearful goodbye I was anticipating never materialized, unless you count the part where I cried as I left him. Just a little. Because, my baby.
My baby, who couldn’t give two hoots that I was leaving, who was actually RUNNING AWAY FROM ME and gleefully hollering about his good fortune, to be back at Camp ASCCA.
This is good, I know. I’m glad he’s happy to be there. I’m thrilled, even. But I miss him, a whole lot. I think about him all day. I obsessively check Camp ASCCA’s Flickr stream, in the hopes of seeing a recent picture of Scott doing fun camp things like petting goats and riding horses.
The pictures make me smile. They remind me of why we sent Scott to camp, so he could go swimming and tubing and horseback riding, and he could participate in archery and zip-lining and all of the other things you do at camp. These are things he wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do, if not for Camp ASCCA. Thanks to the well-trained counselors and all-accessible equipment, kids with all sorts of disabilities get to enjoy a typical summer camp experience, right down to the friendships and camaraderie.
We are so grateful to Easter Seals Louisiana for once again making this camping experience possible for our boy. And if you have a child or know somebody with a disability–doesn’t matter the age!–I can’t recommend Camp ASCCA to you enough.
Check out their website at campascca.org.