Susan's Blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I spent a few hours poring over my guidebooks but the thing is I am just not psyched. My heart isn’t in it. I guess it is because of Nat, mostly; not knowing how he will feel about our leaving him in camp. If he is sad about it, I can’t bear it. I could write the mother of all Nat books, which Ned said to me as I drifted off to sleep last night. But what if it doesn’t help? What about the unforeseen outburst over not knowing where his dirty socks should go, or if he’s afraid at night but doesn’t know how to say it so he just yells. ARGH. You sign on for motherhood, thinking only of plump rosy babies and dirty diapers, and you never realize how much more it is. It’s language-impaired teenagers who are lonely but don’t realize it. It’s not knowing how much more your boy wants out of life, but just kind of resigns himself to a vaguely painful existence. I am not complaining, I am observing. Well, maybe I’m bemoaning.

And then there’s the rest of it. I began to get excited because I found a place called Comanche National Grasslands, a park in Southeastern Colorado where there are huge dinosaur footprints, and you can’t even get to them unless you are on foot or on horseback. So I figured we’d ride! But Max and Ben don’t want to.

They do want to go to Mesa Verde, but I’ve been there two or three times. I guess the thing is I am not that excited about mountainous vistas, rivers, lakes, tall pines, etc. I’m a beach girl. I love the ocean.

Nat loves the ocean, too.

So why am I sending him to a camp way the heck out there away from everything he’s ever known and loved?

Maybe I won’t do it.


Is there a camp closer to home?

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 5:47 am

Can you guys vacation in the same state that Nat is going to, then you can be close by in case he does need you, but you will also be getting your own fun vacation.


P.S. I think he is going to have a blast. My daughter went to camp (not a sleep-a-way, but a WHOLE day one) and she LOVED it, still talks about it. I would have never thought so. They had awesome counselors.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 7:00 am

He’s 17 you know – you have to give him a bit of room to breathe, room to see the world without mom and his family. It is going to be difficult – I can’t even imagine what you must be going through – but maybe it is time to try? You’ve said before it is a good camp. They will know what to do to make him comfortable. So there is no ocean. This is going to be a new experience for him. You and I and a lot of other mothers are still in the best – easiest part of being a mom – we get to mother them up close and we do that no matter what difficulties they have in life. The hard part comes when they need us to start letting go. It is going to take you a long time with Nat and probably with your other boys too but you need to give him this opportunity. If it isn’t for him you will find out soon enough. Take a chance for him – you might be pleasantly surprised.

— added by lizziehoop on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 9:17 am

You know, our state Autism Society runs a great camp every summer, where kids go for a week and stay overnight. I understand your apprehension and slight guilt, but you are so not alone in this. SO many parents here do exactly what you’re planning to do…their spectrum kid goes to camp for a week, and the family takes a much needed autism break.

He’ll have a great time. So will you.

— added by ASDmomNC on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 9:59 am

your kids will sense your “blah-ness” and it will effect them. mesa verde is cool-too bad you could not find something in the Pacific NW for Nat in the way of camp-then you could have your ocean too. Your boys might like white water rafting. that is fun for all….

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 10:30 am

Susan – think of all the accomplishments and milestones Nat has achieved – you and Ned have done an excellent job in making sure Nat has these opportunities.

A contingency plan may make you feel a lot better about this, so maybe you don’t want to travel so far from the camp.

I am stringent in my belief that you are giving ALL your boys a great opportunity, and it is okay to plan a different adventure for Nat.

Lastly, a friend just returned from the Grand Canyon, where they rode donkeys to the floor of the canyon. She says her ass still hurts, so listen to Max and Ben on that one.

— added by Lisa on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 11:24 am

Complex situation, especialy emotionally. Any possibility of 1. sending an Aide to camp with Nat, someone who knows him and cares about him(an aide or therapist from his school or home program)?, or, 2., if you decide not to send him to camp, bring said aide with you on vacation so you can have some breaks? Expensive, I know…

— added by Em's Mom on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 11:49 am

Does your friend’s donkey hurt from all that traipsing in the Canyon, or is it your friend’s butt that hurts? 🙂

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 7:50 pm


As a mother of an autistic son, I know all the emotions that are stirring inside of you. I know that you are confused and scared. That is normal for any parent.

Nat is 17 years old is a teen. Let him be one. Let him start to experience this for himself. He will never be able to see what life is like unless you allow him the opporunity. This will only make him stronger and he needs that. He needs his own time. Allow yourself to be ok with this.

— added by Autismlicious on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 11:44 pm

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