Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mothers Day at Gator Camp

Saturday, in honor of Mother's Day, I made the trip to see Bashful at camp.  Bashful has been at camp since October.  He lives there six weeks at a time, and then comes home for four days to practice what he is learning in the hopes of transitioning back home and being successful in the areas that caused he and our family stress and angst up until his departure.

Weeks before, camp sent out invitations to each mom (female caregiver) come and join our sons for the annual, Mother Son Banquet.   The staff and the boys were celebrating Moms.  Working at rebuilding relationships.  Assisting them in an area of great struggle for many of the young men at camp.

As I headed out, I thought I knew what to expect.  I assumed that there would be no surprises, no great revelations. This was just one of the events that we committed to when we agreed to have Bashful placed at camp.

What I came away with Saturday was a deeper appreciation for every mom, grandmother, or aunt that has gotten to the place in the life of their boys, where they can't manage any longer. You see, after 12 years of parenting special needs children, sometimes I forget that there are others out there that have similar struggles.  I assume that what I am doing is just for my dwarf, that others rarely have to face what we have faced, and forget many have been forced to respond in a similar manner with the boys they love.

As I sat and looked around the room Saturday as moms were meeting their boys and getting seated, I was overwhelmingly burdened by the number of women in the same boat that  I am in. I wondered about the support that they have, about their broken hearts, and about their healing.  I could see some of them were overwhelmed with joy to spend time with their boys, others were still feeling the sting of years of hurt and anger directed at them.   I wondered what was the catalyst that  made them realize they needed a place for their boys? What made them realize they could not do this any longer? What caused them to make the decision to turn their boys over to strangers. Strangers that act as intercessors,  healers,  teachers, mentors, coaches, doctors, linguists, social directors, monitors, negotiators, big brothers, cooks, chaperons, chauffeurs, outdoor enthusiasts, trailblazers, captains, leaders and Godly examples of what it looks like to be a young man that honors their mother and father.  I know our story, but I wondered how similar it was to the others in the room.

Saturday was all about honoring their mothers.   You could see that some of the boys embraced the task with much enthusiasm.  Other boys like Bashful, struggled even in an environment where all the social ques were teed up for them, and directions had been given in advance, to know and feel comfortable in the role of caring for their momma's.  To start the luncheon, each young man went around the room to introduce their female caregiver (mom, grandmother, aunt) and shared one thing that they appreciated about this woman in their life.

So many of the boys shared how they loved that their mom, stuck with them through their problems, that they loved them even when they were unlovable, that they cared enough to send them to camp, that they were sorry for how badly they treated them with their words and their actions... it really tugged on your heart.   Several of the boys shared poems and stories that they wrote about their moms and grandma's that would make even the coldest heart melt.   Heartfelt words of affirmation about the role of the female caregiver in their lives.   These words, stories and poems allowed the healing to begin, or continue in those relationships that were so battered and bruised.  It was sweet, the sentiments heart felt. The tears of joy in a mother's eye overwhelming.

At camp they work really hard at helping the boys see how important the relationship is between a mother and a son, and how they need to work to repair it, restore it and regrow it.   Does it sometimes stink that my youngest dwarf is away from the kingdom, missing daily life and significant life events in the history of our family for an undetermined amount of time.  It does.  But at the same time, his being away helps us heal, and gives us the opportunity to focus on the lives of the others in the family unit that were bypassed and looked over often in times of poorly timed meltdowns and struggles of said dwarf.  No family is perfect.  All families struggle.  These things in the normal ranges help us grow mature and develop.  When the struggle is all consuming,  too often to be healthy for anyone, and is disruptive to life, changes must be made.

That is how each of the women at the luncheon got to sit in the seats of honor next to their sons, grandsons and nephews.  We each made a hard choice,  to love the unlovable, to seek help for their brokenness and to choose hope for the future.

They closed the luncheon with a group song.  There were not many dry eyes in the house.  Again, as I looked around the room I saw women of all ages, relations, and in various stages of their relationships with their sons, weep.    These boys are so broken, so hurt and so vulnerable.  They lash out at the one (aside from Jesus) that loves them the most.   Camp does a great job of reminding them that aside from Jesus, no one loves them more than their mommas! (female caregivers)

Somebody somewhere was praying last night 
when Jesus came in and I saw the light. 

It must have been Mama. I heard her before as she knelt by her bedside, her tears touched the floor. 

Thank you Mama for praying for me. If you had not prayed, then where would I be ? 
They called you old fashioned but you loved the Lord and your prayer touched the Master as your tears touched the floor. 

She held to the alter and wouldn't give in till she knew all her children had been born again. 
Just an old fashioned Mama but she loved the Lord and your prayer touched the master as your tears touched the floor. 

Thank you mama for praying for me. If you had not prayed then where would I be ? 
They called you old fashioned but you loved the Lord and your prayer touched the Master as your tears touched the floor.

1 comment:

  1. I am one of these Moms, the women who the boys are being taught to respect, honor, and appreciate. My son opened the luncheon with an article he wrote about Mother's day, and why it was important to him. I couldn't hold back the tears as I beamed with pride. This camp, it's a miracle, and the staff are simply blessings.