i blinked

~

So I’ve been tryin’ to slow it down
I’ve been tryin’ to take it in
In this here today, gone tomorrow world we’re livin’ in
Don’t blink

~ Kenny Chesney, Don’t Blink

~

Katie, 2003

*

Tomorrow, we will drive that little girl to sleep away camp, two hours from home.

That tiny imp, no bigger than a minute, will be away for three-and-a-half weeks.

The time will pass quickly.

It will feel like an eternity.

I am thrilled.

I am terrified.

I am overjoyed for her. I know not a soul who deserves it more.

A place to be herself. Not defined by anything nor anyone else. Simply herself.

Her argument was as sound as it was out of the blue – I really want this. I’m ready, Mama. I can handle it. I want a chance to make real friends.

Her requests were clear – All girls, horseback riding, a pond or a lake, and, most importantly – a place where I know no one.

A fresh slate.

A chance to start anew outside the contrived hierarchy of school.

Independence.

Growth.

Confidence.

A place of her own.

She’s ready.

I think.

I hope.

I’m not.

I am terrified.

I don’t know how to surrender my heart for three-and-a-half weeks.

But I will.

I am so proud of her.

I am terrified.

Tomorrow, we will drive that little girl to sleep away camp, two hours from home.

And she will thrive.

Damn it, I blinked.

Katie on Sunday

~

It’s not living if you don’t reach for the sky

I’ll have tears as you take off

But I’ll cheer as you fly

~ Mark Harris, Find your Wings


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27 thoughts on “i blinked

  1. You will cry all the way there and back but it is all part of the letting go that you have been preparing her for. She is ready but you will never be. It’s just the way it is. Just wait till the college trip to drop her off for the first time.
    I still remember your trip tocamp and school as if it was yesterday and the painful joy never leaves.
    Love you,
    Dad

  2. Who understands this more than I do! I lived this with you and look who you became! I’ m now living it with Katie and Brooke and watching them bloom before my very eyes! It’s not an easy trip but it,s so very worth it!

    Love you,
    Mom

  3. Tears in my morning cup of tea!

    The truest thing: the days are long, but the years are short. I blinked and my big guy is four inches taller than I am and just keeps going. Away for camp, not for the first time, but really away–at a place I don’t know anyone, and he doesn’t know anyone, and “no parent phone calls allowed except for emergencies.”

    There are lots of worst and best things about it, but spending one on one with my little guy, the one I still have an inch or two on, is really the very best. We’ve had adventures, he’s read new things, and made up new jokes. Precious time.

    Have a wonderful time, Katie! Your mom and dad and sister are going to miss you like crazy.

    Karin

  4. As former Camp Counselor and Camp Director know that the best thing you can do for her is send lots of letters filled with encouragement. Know that she will have both good and bad days. Kids tend to send sad/come get me letters on the bad days. You never get a letter when everything is great because they are too busy having fun. But in over 15 years in the camping business I have never had a child that could say they didn’t have any fun or learn anything. Besides Katie with her personality will thrive at camp.

  5. Sent my oldest away to Texas for two weeks this summer. She thrived, as well. Good mommying means they fly easily. You’ll do fine, too. She’s beautiful.

  6. Damn it. You made me cry before I was out of bed. No fair.
    I will miss her with you. But I am so proud of her, and you, and in awe of her self-awareness.

  7. I took Molly yesterday to sleep away camp. She’ll be gone for four weeks. The girls in her bunk all have a wide range of disabilities. I left her to go to the infirmary and meet with the nurse. When I came back 30 minutes later she pretty much pushed me out the door of the bunk! The girls were all busy learning a card game with their counselors. Made me feel good that she was so ready. There is nothing like sleep away camp to learn independence skills, whether you have a disability or not. I hope Katie loves every second.

  8. Look how she’s grown….I hope that her next few weeks are enjoyable and memorable. What a big step..for you both. Hugs, and best wishes!

  9. Have a wonderful time, Katie. May that amazing heart of yours find friendship akin to only to family. May you find your “media naranja” there in the outdoor splendor. Deep breaths, mama. Your girl is amazing and so ready for this.

  10. Sent my ASD girl for the first time just last week. Her’s was only a week but that was enough. She wanted to go. Said she was ready. I wrote a 4 page note describing things that were going to happen although I hoped for her sake they wouldn’t, but they did. The counselors handled her very well. It has taken it’s toll, but she still wants to go back. My “neuro” is there this week and I am sure he will enjoy it too. It’s amazing how ready they are and how unready we are.

    I know that Katie will have a wonderful time. With her personality, poise and maturity how can she not.

    I only know your family from this blog but I love you all. Enjoy this one on one time will Brooke, it will pass just as quickly as all the other time.

  11. I cried dropping off my neurotypical girls, I know I’ll cry when my younger two are ready to spread their wings. Thank you for sharing, and helping me think I may be able to let them fly, too, even when my heart wants to hold on and protect.
    even if they don’t need that protection.

  12. Awww, have fun Katie! Hang in there Mama. I know this is super hard for you, but you also know she needs this. It’s a beautiful gift you are giving her. She will come back better than ever, and thrive from the experience.

  13. well, she is definitely ready…she’s mature, more level headed than most adults i know…but that is still a big change, so i hope she goes and has a blast and enjoys the clean slate of it all. and i hope her mamas heart doesn’t hurt too, too much…3 and a half weeks is a long time!

  14. The universal adage that all parents hear even before they ARE parents is that it all goes by too fast. And it’s not even that it’s fast so much as we want more of it. You are going to cry like a little girl. . .

  15. Go Katie (and Jess)! That’s great that she came up with what she wanted to do and is doing it. Our social skills group leader runs a two week sleep away camp for high-end autism kids in Vermont. I’m already nervous/excited about the possibility of sending Andrew there when he’s old enough – in 3 or 4 years. Not rushing it by any means though, NT day camp is enough for now. And we got off to a great start since I wrote a letter to all the new camp counselers introducing him. THANK YOU for the idea (taken from your beginning of the school year letter). Many hugs and tissues for tomorrow!

  16. She looks so mush like her mama! What a super great thing to shed a tear over, this will be wonderful :)

  17. That is so amazing for Katie…she is going to do great!! You will too…when the tears stop. I am crying just reading this…I would not be ready yet either! But you and Brooke are going to have some amazing time together too! Hang in there Mama…and I hope for Katie that camp is everything she wishes it will be!!!

  18. My goodness, I have tears as I write this. Such a wonderful gift you’re giving! I’m always amazed at how self-aware she seems, to know and ask for a fresh start at that age, or any age really, is courageous to say the least!

  19. I can’t tell you how impressed with “a place where I know no one.” I was just talking to a mom in the grocery store today about all the kids in our neighborhood doing camps together — and lamenting not being in the same homerooms next year — and we questioned the wisdom of always sticking with who they know.

    She is so ready. And imagine this…she will be making memories that last a lifetime. I love it.

    Lastly, kudos to you for letting her go. I’m nowhere near ready to let my guys go for more than a day or two.

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