Posted by: sistermom1 | July 6, 2011

Learning even more lessons

This summer’s challenges continue. Our daughter went away to a leadership camp, and it was hard for her. She struggled with homesickness, and she worried about my needing her to help me with daily activities. She struggled with having a daily schedule that went from early morning to late at night. She struggled with being part of a large (200+) group of strangers.  She really struggled.

I struggled along with her.  I do depend on my daughter to make it successfully through my days.  She helps me in the bathroom, and helps me reach things that I can’t reach in the kitchen.  She goes with me to the public bathrooms to make sure that my scooter can fit in comfortably.  She checks to make sure that I am ok during the day – (more often than my son or husband do — you know how different males and females are!)  We bake cakes and pies and rolls together – and when she is away I really miss her energy and her bright and lovely smile.  My son and husband are wonderful, and if something were to happen and I needed to get out quickly, my daughter would be the first person to check on me.

Anyway, her discomfort really pushed me to an uncomfortable place.  Should we rescue her, was it too much of a change in her daily schedule, or were our expectations in line?  Should we use an “old school” response or be the more touchy-feely parents that we are on the edge of being?  As a result of my illness do I rely on her too much making her feel guilty if she leaves for any length of time? 

After some real discussion with my husband, we decided that she needed a night at home and some love from her family, followed by a swift return to the session.  Luckily she was only 10 minutes away, so that option really worked for all of us.

We encountered wonderful counselors who really understood what she was managing.  They were kind and wished her well and told her that they would see her in the morning.  To be honest, she was not interested in hearing that she would be back.  After a good night’s sleep, she only wanted to return to get her clothes and come right back home.  Her father was out, but I decided to spend some time really talking with her about what she really thought was the best thing to do.  I do think that this approach came to me through the patience that I have had to develop because of my illness.  Thinking about what I am doing at any given moment rather than just “going with” whatever random thing comes to my mind without thinking it all the way through has forced me to do more thinking about how I approach everything I do.  This also applies to my daughter, and we had a wonderful discussion.  She decided that she needed to go back without my having to plead, threaten or cajole.  I think she just needed some space and the open discussion.

Well, everything turned out great.  She was welcomed back, had a lovely time, made some new friends, and is even smiling in the group pictures that the leaders sent us on the internet.  It was a real victory for her.  I had to take a big breath and give her some space to be able to enjoy her time without us.  The factoids that keep dropping out of her mouth in random conversations have been real proof that she got something out of her experience.  So did I. 

She leaves for a week of sleepaway camp on Monday.  It will be her third time there, so I do hope and pray that she feels ready to go.  My son will be away at his annual beach trip with the family of his good friend the same week, so we will all have a great vacation next week!

My learning continues — there is room for all of the lessons this journey is teaching all of us.  Here’s to our lessons!

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Responses

  1. Linda – thanks for sharing the discomfort. I think you and your husband reached a wise decision, and then the next day the patience and compassion you modeled for your daughter helped her understand that she also has to do what is right for her growth, and not let her legitimate concerns and love for you overwhelm everything else.
    Her week at sleep-away camp, coinciding with your son’s beach trip should prove to be another challenge that you weather with patience, grace, and compassion -and maybe more lessons you share with us – your friends and students.

  2. Linda, I commend you on letting her just talk and make her decision with your support no matter what. Not sure how much I would have tried to influence my daughter to make the choice I preferred. I can’t get her to sleep away from me for more than one night.


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