For many years, my extended family has spent a week in the mountains at a camp on Fallen Leaf Lake in Tahoe, CA. The cabins are modest with comfortable beds, a bathroom and deck. It’s all we need. Each meal is prepared for the guests and served in a community dining room where the staff made up of college students serve and clean up. No cooking or cleaning up after meals for an entire week!
The children attend group activities with other children during the day with counselors that are college students so parents get lots of adult time. Then families reconnect in the afternoon and gather around the dining table. Days get filled with activities like hiking, swimming, tennis, kayaking, rowing, volleyball and great conversation with other camp guests. It’s a true vacation and I’m deeply grateful that my parents make it possible for us to go!
We haven’t taken our older son, who has autism and is non-verbal, since he was 18 months old as it felt too complicated and overwhelming. I didn’t see how it was possible.
But this year, my husband and I decided that 2012 would be the year we would bring Ian. When we arrived last week, we began asking the staff about the possibility and we were so delightfully surprised by the welcoming attitudes from every single person we spoke to.
I had the opportunity to speak in front of half of the guests and share how Ian has taught me to listen beyond words. Several guests approached me throughout the week with encouragement and expressed their desire to meet him next year. My husband and I felt the love from the entire camp family. And as we said our goodbyes on Saturday morning, many guests reiterated their encouragement and support.
This experience strengthened my hope in the human ability to embrace and welcome diversity. Every day reveals more evidence of how this is so.
When we told Ian he’ll be joining us, his brother, his grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles on our special annual trip, he squealed with delight. Next month Ian will join his father, brother and me for a week in Del Mar, California. We’re taking small steps to build my confidence. With each experience I let more and more fear go. What replaces it? Peace and it feels divine.
Is there a fear in your life that’s holding you back? How do you feel about the possibility of letting that fear go? Or have you experienced letting go of a fear that opened up beautiful opportunities for you and your child? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
As a Mind-Body and Equus Coach, Diane Hunter helps parents reconnect with their inner guidance system to find a sense of peace and a deeper connection with themselves and their child. She writes on her blog www.afterautism.com to share her stories with others and share how to listen beyond words, open up to the power of non-verbal communication and find freedom from physical and emotional pain. On most days you’ll find her hanging with her greatest teachers, her children, and her husband in their home in Los Gatos, CA.