Wade's coming home from church camp today. He's been gone for five days, and from the reports I've been getting from my husband who's there with him, it hasn't been a great experience. He doesn't like the food. He doesn't like the games. He's been asking to come home since the second day. It breaks my heart to think of him struggling so much, especially when I see photos of smiling kids from the camp on Facebook with captions like: "Kids are having a blast!" I've offered more than once to come pick him up. My husband, ever the rational thinker, says not to come because Wade needs to stick it out. He's right. This is exactly the kind of experience kids with autism need. They need to be stretched beyond their self-imposed boundaries and experience life beyond their little world of one. I like to think that for every time Wade is forced to wait while the boys play a game he doesn't want to play, sit through a dinner he doesn't want to eat and listen to a speaker he doesn't want to hear, that he grows a little.
The funny thing is, the farther into the murky waters of Wade's autism I get, the clearer I see myself. I wish I had known, when I forgave people I didn't want to forgive, apologized for things I didn't want to admit to and committed to tasks I didn't think I could do, that I was really doing exactly what I needed to do to stretch myself beyond my self-imposed boundaries. And how many opportunities of growth have been lost because I just didn't want to do the thing that could take me out of my little world of one?
Wade will be home soon, and I have no doubt he'll shut himself up in his room and not come out for a few days, and that's okay. At least he tried. That's often more than I can say about myself.