So I decided to do something crazy. I decided to really test myself and my kids and go on a camping adventure without my husband. I definitely didn’t want to leave him behind, but he had big deadlines and had to work for the entire 4th of July weekend. My kids have a really short summer, and all my daughter has been asking to do is to go camping so I wasn’t sure if we would have another opportunity. I knew a million things could go wrong, but I also knew I would have the help of my friends.
So I packed the kids up. Made sure to include Mickey Mouse (the go-to comfort item), several toys and the two new favorites – a matching bear sleeping bag and chair from Target. Teo kept saying “For camping” as he pointed to the chair. His excitement made me think I was definitely making the right decision.
We arrived in the dark, and I could hear the river rushing as we pulled up. Oh my goodness! A rushing river and a kid with Autism. Only one parent! This has got to be a recipe for disaster. I was instantly on edge.
My husbands words in my head “keep a really good eye on him, don’t let him out of your site.” He was worried too, there has always been two of us, taking turns- keeping our eyes on him. I thought back to when we took them to a themed kids park when Mateo was less than 3, and how we both turned our backs to help our daughter and he was gone. In an instant- and the sheer panic! The fear that takes over! Racing around the park screaming his name and no response. We found him hiding in some bushes near where we were standing. There were lots of bushes around that rushing river. I definitely wouldn’t be taking my eyes off of him for the weekend!
The description of the campground said not far from a slow running creek- yet directly behind our campsite set a fast flowing river made of freezing water from freshly melted snow. A friend said, “Even Michael Phelps couldn’t survive if he fell into that!”
So I knew this wouldn’t be a “relaxing” weekend! But he was older now. And as you saw in my previous post he was learning DANGEROUS. So I took him aside and I pointed to the river and told both of my children that it was VERY dangerous and to not go near it. And they listened. They avoided the river and played with their friends. Swung for hours in a hammock. Threw balls and chased each other through the campsite. Made S’Mores and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
And when I finally got them safely into the tent, away from the rushing river, I was able to relax. We even visited a lake still surrounded with snow and played in our flip flops as we made snow angels and had a snow ball fight.
And there were no close calls, no scary moments, no meltdowns, no freak-outs. Just a really nice time with the kids and some amazing friends. I really missed having my husband there, it wasn’t the same without Reuben. And I felt bad that he spent the weekend working while we got to play in the snow and fell asleep to the soothing sounds of the river. It was an adventure I definitely would have preferred us all to be together for. But I was happy that it went so well and that Maya got to have her camping trip!