Summer fun! and the Camp Care Countdown

Yesterday, I read a post by Dana of the Uncommon Sense blog–a wonderful blog about life with her adorable daughter Maya! She talked about having SBAD, or Seasonal Blog Abandonment Disorder, and how she’d been letting her blogging slip by in exchange for ice cream and park trips and all-around fun. I got a kick out of this concept and it is so true!! Summer showcases so many more fun activities than sitting on your couch (ahem, like I am right now) blogging.

For the most part, I feel like I’ve suffered from this a bit as well between weekend getaways, trips to the beach, and just being plain old busy, but right now I feel like writing. About what?

My first swimming lesson went great last week! I was nervous the night before, but when the time came I promised myself I’d try everything at least once and see where it took me. By the end of the half hour a swam all way to the deep end with just two noodles under me for support! Needless to say, I will be having another lesson this week.

We are officially 11 days away from Summer Camp Care 2011 and I couldn’t be more excited! Not only will this summer’s camp be acting as a sort of reunion between myself and some QU friends that I, regrettably, don’t get to see very often, but I also feel more “ready” for this year’s camp.  As I said in this post, you can never be truly ready for the amazingness that camp bestows upon you, but you can try.

First off, I’ll be staying up in the town when Camp Care is located this year, which is going to make things all the more wonderful! Camp is only about 45 minutes from my house and I had been going one because it was easier to shower, etc in my own house but that also meant either leaving early from fun night events with the kids like the BBQ and talent show, or getting home at 11pm only to leave the house by 6:30 the next morning. No good. Staying will allow me to have extra bonding and fun time (and extra sleeping time!!)

I’m also looking forward to taking on the dual role of Camp Care camper and volunteer. At past camps, I have had moments of questioning my place–if I really belong as a camper or a volunteer, what I could even do to help the kids, what I could even do to help myself?  Though I’ve had many times of questioning myself over the past few months, I feel much more sure of my abilities to be available for our amazing kids physically and emotionally. I also feel much more sure of my own goals and things in order to make the most of my experience as a camper.

It’s going to be a great 4 days!! Followed immediately by a week of beach vacation before the semester starts up…but let’s not talk about that yet!!! 🙂

Life with no ceiling

This past week, I was talking to my PT about this whole pool concept that’s been kicking around in my head for weeks.  I have my first lesson tonight, and I had been starting to feel a little overwhelmed, like I had jumped in (no pun intended) a little too quickly. Not to mention I’ve been sticking with my MO of picking some of the most difficult things to accomplish, which is tough when “patience of a saint” doesn’t quite describe who I am.

I am still constantly on that balance beam of trying to figure out how to make CP a part of my life instead of letting it mold me, and that becomes an even more of a struggle when you are constantly choosing physical challenges and physical goals for yourself.  One of the biggest downfalls of creating physical challenges (anyone remember Nickeloden’s Double Dare?! :)) is that we constantly want to make comparisons.  I say we because we are all the same in this way, disability or not, we are human. We compare. We compete. And we try our damnedest to come out on top.  This comparison always gets tricky for me though, since it’s not quite fair to me to start comparing the things I do physically to “normal” able-bodied people.  However, I can’t exactly compare myself to someone with CP, because it comes in so many different forms, you’d be hard pressed to find someone exactly the same. Okay, I know some of you are probably thinking “you shouldn’t compare at all. it’s bad. blah blah”, but I’m pretty sure we can all think of at least one time we have done that, so that option is off the table. It’s not realistic.

A ways into our conversation, my PT said to me “the sky’s the limit for you” and it got me thinking…

It’s a funny thing to think about when you take the time, isn’t it? (Which is probably why you’re not really supposed to take the time, but of course I do.) The sky being the limit to everything we want to do, try to do, or will ever do in our lives? We can never actually touch the sky. The closest I’ve ever come is being in an airplane, and even then there is still such vast, amazing space above me.

In my case, I think starting to understand that the sky is the limit begins by realizing that not being having someone else to compare to is actually one of the best gifts I could receive. It gives me no ceiling, nothing to measure up to.  It allows me to see what a can do and to never stop trying. Ever.

So for now, I’m waking up each morning and asking “What can I accomplish today?” For me. Based on my standards.

Shake it off and step up

It’s ridiculously late right now. At least when I was planning to get “a good night’s sleep” and go to bed three hours ago. There was something I wanted to share here first. Look out for a new, deeply strong and honest post for me in the next day or so, but for now, I have to share this story from Jen’s blog–my cousin though not by blood, friend, and honestly, my God-given gift. The author is unknown, but the story is incredibly powerful and something that hit me in exactly the right spot in my heart this morning…

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had an old mule. The mule fell into a deep dry well and began to cry loudly. Hearing his mule cry, the farmer came over and assessed the situation. The well was deep and the mule was heavy. He knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to lift the animal out.

Because the mule was old and the well was dry, the farmer decided to bury the animal in the well. In this way he could solve two problems: put the old mule out of his misery and have his well filled.

He called upon his neighbors to help him and they agreed to help. To work they went. Shovel full of dirt after shovel full of dirt began to fall on the mule’s back. He became hysterical. Then all of a sudden an idea came to the mule. Each time they would throw a shovel full of dirt on his back he could shake it off and step up. Shovel full after shovel full, the mule would shake it off and step up. Now exhausted and dirty, but quite alive, the mule stepped over the top of the well and walked through the crowd.

A great attitude. A great way to approach life. Shake it off and step up. Too often we hold on to what has happened to us.

We hold on to it for a week, a month, even years. We cannot shake it loose from our memory. It eats away at us and steals our joy, happiness and peace of mind. The past hurt can create feelings of bitterness, resentment, anger and revenge.

We keep allowing these emotions to be thrown on our backs and if we do nothing, we will be buried deep in the well. Walls will be built in our relationships. We will avoid each other and the cold war begins.

But, we have a choice: keep it inside and embrace the hurt or shake it off and step up. Give it a try. Shake it off and step up. Words that have been said or actions that have been done, shake it off and step up. Let it go. Whatever it is: a rude comment, a past mistake, being ignored, we can stew over it all week. It occupies us all the time.

Too often we nurse hurts, we keep them alive inside and go over them time and time again; not only stewing from them, but now chewing them over and over until it gets us sick. Too often we rehearse hurts, tell everyone what has happened to us.

The cure is to accept what has happened, try to make sense out of it, learn from it, then shake it off and step up. When you let it go you feel free and you are no longer buried in the well. Once you are on your feet again you can take some action. You decide where you want to grow in life, the direction you want your life to take. You decide whether you will allow the hurt to make you a bitter or a better person. Learn from it. Emerge stronger.