At 2:40 today, we dropped the birthday girl off at Camp Cheerful in Strongsville, Ohio.
This will be the eleventh year straight that she has attended this week long resident camp.
It has gotten a little easier for this mom, although I still get teary eyed as I walk back to the car without her. I truly believe this is a great experience for her. Being away from mom and dad, even for a week, creates greater independence and self confidence.
She basically registers herself now. I make one short visit with the nurse to drop off the nebulizer and her asthma meds. The bag is much lighter than in the first few years when we had lots of medications. I originally chose this camp because the counselors are trained to take care of kids who had trachs and other special needs.
As the years went by and Sarah became healthier and stronger, I realized that she does not necessarily need to be at this camp, but for one week she becomes the helper of those needing more care than she. And for most of us, including Sarah, it is a good feeling to be helping others.
There are usually two cabins for females and two for males. Chippewa has frequently been Sarah's home away from home.
She almost always picks the same lower bunk, one away from the corner.
Something new this year. They put her name at the foot of her bed. She liked that.
After the bed gets made, she always has to try it out. It is a humid 90 degrees today so I tried to convince her to open up her sleeping bag, but she wasn't to keen on that idea.
The little brother came along to see where she would be staying. Sarah wanted Matt to come over and try out her bunk. We don't like to stay too long for fear that she will not want us to leave. This is the one week each year that we can focus on the boys or our marriage. Some years John and I take off for a little "honeymoon," other years we just spend more time with the boys. It's nice having a break without the need to stop for breathing treatments and medical intervention.
So one last wave and then we are out of there. I usually head to a really great mall that is just down the street from the camp to unwind and get my emotions in check before getting back on the highway. Sometimes I am by myself, but today I have John and Matt with me.
We went on one marathon back-to-school shopping trip today. You can check it HERE. As we were walking across the parking lot today Matt said, "All of a sudden I feel like an only child. If Sarah were a typical sister she would be leaving for college and it would be like this everyday. But I'm glad she's not because I like having her around."
And with that, I find more tears flowing being grateful and so proud for having the privelege of raising such a great son.