Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Swamp Thing

We went camping over Memorial Day weekend. My sister and her family came with us. So did my parents. We camped in a beautiful setting in the woods in Big South Fork National Park in Kentucky.  But it was like we went camping without John. He spent most of the weekend in a swamp.

John is getting close to ten years old now. Only two summers ago, I was having to literally teach him how to have fun. Birthday parties often entailed a great deal of excitement only to end in toddler style tears and tantrums when something innocuous to everyone else would happen, like there would be skating at a skating party. It has been especially difficult as John is quite big for his age. He looks at least a year older than most of his same age peers.

Last Summer, I watched him play tag on the playground for the first time.  And it didn't even end in tears.  Then he began making friendships that he could maintain for a couple of hours without getting called mean names.

This summer, it's like Pinnochio has finally become a real boy. When John is in a social group at this point, most of the time, strangers would have absolutely no idea of John's issues and I'm very happy that's the case. It means he's having fun and he's growing emotionally.

Theo commented after our weekend that he was sad he didn't spend much time with John. Oh, but I wasn't sad at all. I posed the question, "When have we EVER done anything for three whole days where John was HAPPY the whole time?" It has never happened before.  It's never even been close.  

There were about ten boys in the campground aged 6-12. They played most of the weekend in a bog doing boy things. They caught salamanders and tadpoles.  They chased the only two girls in the campground. They visited each other's campsites and played cards. They started at about 8 in the morning and John would wander back to camp exhausted and starving when it was finally dark around 10 pm. It was hard keeping him quiet and not knocking on  doors before 8am.

Theo went to let him know that dinner was ready at one point and he said, "awwww, do I have to come?" Theo told him he was just letting him know that it was hot. He appeared a couple of hours later and wolfed down some food barely sitting long enough to warm the picnic table bench. The few family activities we did do that involved a ride in car or some other reason he had to sit still, meant he was sound asleep.

He was dirty and he stank. He was covered in mosquito bites and encountered a tick who decided it wanted to stay in a very private area. He was overtired. He was underfed. He hung out in a group of boys just as slime covered as himself.  I was so proud! I can't wait to take him camping without us again!

And the girls just sat around reading trashy magazines.


MamaHolly said...

John wanted everyone to know that he *liked* one of the girls. LOL

Beck said...

It sounds like a lovely weekend! For people who are not me. I am not a big fan of camping, since nature is trying to kill me and all.