Every picture tells a story

RodI admit it, I am a little bit obsessed with looking on the boys camp websites for photos. I’m not alone, right? You do it too, yes? So here’s the thing about the pictures, they are very revealing and often tell you a lot more about how your kid is doing than a letter, a phone call, or an update from the group leaders.
What I noticed initially about Jason’s photos was that he was alone. He had a big smile but he was by himself in the first few photos. My radar goes off, is he just smiling for the camera or is he really having fun? Ok a day or so later more photos where he was in the “thick of it” with other kids, familiar faces from last year, and looking into it. Ok, check, one kid ok. We also spoke with him on the phone over the weekend and he sounded confident and happy. Yay!
Now looking at the photos of Bryan, well, that’s a whole different story. There is a layer to this that I cannot pretend doesn’t exist. He doesn’t smile well when told to, but his natural smile is great. We have seen both types of photos but overall he does look well, lost some weight, hair growing in, etc. What is not so obvious and what hits me when I look is, gee, Bryan is not a typical boy. I think to myself, he is way more with the program than a lot of other kids, and then I look at his photos and the other kids photos and they are the “same”. So I can’t trick myself, you see, into thinking he is outgrowing the disability, or that he is really not like the other kids. I’m shameful with these thoughts but when you see the photos, they don’t lie. As with every thing with autism, I am always lulled into a false sense of security by progress and maturity, and then blasted back to reality by something unexpected or unforeseen. It is the demon of still holding onto the dream of a typical child while accepting and loving your child with a disability. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
Tomorrow Bryan is going on a camp trip to Dorney Park, Amusement Park and Water Park in Pennsylvania. I called to find out some info about the trip. The camp owner told me he is really blossoming. Such a wonderful word, makes me feel so hopeful, so proud. It’s just a day trip but we did check to see how they staff the trip and the ratios of campers to counselors. 2 kids per counselor plus group leaders and a nurse. Camp LeeMar knows how to do things right. A little relief here and excitement for Bryan who loves water parks and thrill rides. Ironically enough, I’m already looking forward to the photos.dorney


2 thoughts on “Every picture tells a story

  1. “I am always lulled into a false sense of security…holding onto the dream of a typical child while accepting and loving your child with a disability”

    Nailed it.

    When A.J.was born, I was positive he would play third base for the St. Louis Cardinals. All I had to do was take him out in the backyard everyday and hit ground balls to him, right? Didn’t turn out that way. But hey, there are millions of kids who don’t grow up to play in the big leagues, so I let that one go. But I’m stubborn and I’m his mother and that’s the only dream I’m ever going to let go. Maybe our dreams look a little bit different now, but we need those dreams, Jane. They give us strength. xoxoxo

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