As I’ve been blabbing along in my blog-posts, I’ve all of a sudden realized that I’ve totally forgotten to write about a huge blessing for our son Jeffrey (as well as mom and dad).
I’ve written before about how hard it was to find events that Jeffrey could participate it – I mean really participate in. Yes he could attend, but usually he wasn’t able to do a lot of the things the other kids were doing. Hard for me as a parent to watch, for sure. But then came Special Olympics, and we were excited that Jeffrey was able to make some friends of his own (Caring For Those Who Really Need It).
One day we heard from the parents of Jeffrey’s new friend that there was a special needs camp up on Whidbey Island outside of Seattle which the Kiwanis Club sponsored every year for kids aged 6-17 years-old, and we knew we had to check it out. Plus, it was entirely free of charge to the families!
The counselor to kid ratio was 1-on-1, and there were all sorts of health care professionals – as well as students – who would take vacation time every year to go up and make sure that the “special” kids had a week to remember.
We had made a pact as a family that every year we would do our best for Jeffrey to be able to attend that camp. (Besides – it was the only week Gary and I had alone every year where we could actually go and do something by ourselves!)
The way it worked was that all the kids met with counselors/nurses at an assigned meeting place in the Seattle area, and then they were all loaded on buses to head up to the Island.
But that first year Gary was starting to have anxiety attacks, stating there was no way that he was going to let Jeffrey get on a bus with people he didn’t know and go up to a camp that he’d never seen. So we drove him up there.
We were floored! There were kids with all types of disabilities, and they had all sorts of activities like swimming, horseback riding, games and dances catering to the kids with varying disabilities. The counselors were amazing, and the nursing staff totally alleviated our fears. (Well, at least mine – Gary was still not totally OK with it!)
The first year Gary and I stayed close to the camp in a hotel – just in case. But we needn’t have worried, because when we went to pick him up after that first week, Jeffrey was beaming from ear-to-ear.
Mom & Dad – finally I’ve found a place where I can totally fit in – there’s lots of kids just like me!
Yep – there was definitely no way that we were ever going to have Jeffrey miss his camp.
So here we were, having just moved into our new home in Oregon (Finally…) and now we were going to have to take off and drive back up to Seattle!
We had just finished moving our stuff from the storage facility into our new home in 100+ degree weather (boy, we weren’t used to that) – and still had boxes scattered all over our house.
Gary and I were exhausted, and we had been very short-tempered with each other ever since we had moved into the area. This was the first time we’d moved since having Jeffrey, and trying to keep everything on an even keel was not going well.
Yet after seeing how excited Jeffrey was getting as we headed on-the-road yet again to camp, we were thankful that we decided to make the trip.
After camp we rushed back home to try and get settled because Gary was going to have to start working again. Plus school was going to start in a few weeks and we still needed to get meetings with the school staff scheduled.
Did we do the right thing moving from our Seattle area home? I have to admit there were moments during that first month that I was contemplating that question. Yet I knew I had to let that go, and keep moving forward. After all, the Lord had opened all the doors, and I needed to trust Him.