I fall into the trap every year like most of us do for the summer. Starting in January (yes, I know it IS crazy) I begin searching for and registering my girls for camps. I look at family vacations, school specific requirements, sports team requirements or "highly suggested clinics or camps", family events and the mapping of the summer calendar takes shape. Part of me questions what in the world I am doing, and then the other part of me is so concerned that I am going to miss out on a deadline for the camp or activity that they love or that I think they will love. Inevitably, we figure it out. The girls have fun, whatever they end up doing. Well, maybe with the exception of that math camp- I am certain I will continue to hear the story at Thanksgiving or family get togethers for years and years.
My point in all of this is that this summer, I didn't have a good plan. Actually, in comparison to previous years, one might say no plan. My oldest was now working, my youngest starting at a new school so she had orientation. That didn't align with high school sports in August and us fitting in a family vacation, not to mention that I mixed up the dates for sleep away camp for my daughter with Down syndrome. By the time I realized that, I missed the registration for her regular camp. Then to top it all off, I fractured my knee and I chose to "embrace the pace."
It was uncomfortable to drive for weeks, so I chose to not make plans that required us to go immediately from one thing to the next. It was difficult to do many every day things without being able to bend, so I chose to have my kids do more. It was difficult to stand for long periods of time, so I chose to relax at home with my kids and family more often. I like to say that I chose to slow down, but honestly, it was something I HAD to choose. I simply couldn't move quickly. But by choosing to embrace the pace, I was able to appreciate it and to not only be happy with my new perspective, but to learn from it. Especially in an area that I work so hard to be in control of- parenting my daughter, Devin, who has Down syndrome.
- I learned that I need to get out of my comfort zone. I ended up sending her for a week to a sleep away camp where she didn't know anyone, and she came back with this spark of growth that blew us all away. I mean, why had I not thought of this before? People send their kids for weeks at a time to camps WITHOUT their close friends for this exact reason!
- I learned that I need to do a better job of trusting her belief in herself. I saw her at a cheer camp watch her teammates learning a dance for an hour. She didn't stand up once to slowly go through the motions with everyone else and I was ready to pull my hair out. Then when they added the music and performed, she had the basics of the entire thing.
- I learned that I need to be more aware of letting her JUST BE. With the increased down time, I would find her in her room creating folders for "her classroom". She would set up her desk like an office and create notecards with instructions and checklists. When I asked about lunch, she would get her cookbook that she made in middle school and choose something she wanted us to make.
Although the summer is not over yet for many, our family has begun the transition into the new school year. Sports tryouts and practices, college essays and applications are daily topics and events in our home. By all accounts, this should be an absolutely crazy year for us- three different high schools, three sports teams at these different schools, one senior and everything in between. Fortunately for me, not only do I know that I can learn from "embracing the pace", but I can also be really happy doing so.