Monday, July 4, 2011

A day in Other Life

Everything feels different with Max away at camp, and not just because he isn't physically here. I've never fully realized how much our life revolves around him. As we went about our very different day, he was always on my mind. Sabrina's, too, because she kept asking what we thought Max was doing at camp.

Our town has an annual Fourth of July all-day celebration. Usually Dave and Sabrina go and I stay home with Max, who can't stand the crowds. This year, the three of us went.

At 11, there was an ice-cream contest. Sabrina dropped out because she decided she wanted a pop from the Good Humor truck instead. Max definitely wouldn't have participated because they only had vanilla.

Hanging out

On the spinning thingie

Trying to dunk the nice emergency corps volunteer

Percussion drum hour


The circus was in town.

They picked Dave to join in, because they know a fun guy when they see one.

Dave rocked the air guitar. I think he'll be needing an agent soon.

Sabrina loved every second. At one point, we gave our camera to a woman sitting behind us to snap a photo. "What a nice family," she said. THUD went my heart. I ached for Max.

For dinner, a picnic.

After we were done eating, Sabrina ran off to play with friends, Dave chatted with neighbors and I sat alone on the picnic blanket, observing the families around us. Dave came back and suddenly, I put my head on his shoulder and started crying. We were an incomplete family in a field full of families. But if Max were home, we wouldn't have been there, enjoying the beautiful evening. I felt so conflicted.

"Maybe Max will be here someday," Dave said. There wasn't much more to say.

Just before the fireworks started, Dave's cell phone rang. It was the camp director. I hadn't wanted to seem like a helicopter mom, so I had Dave call today to see how Max was doing. Dave just handed the phone to me anyway. 

"You know how you told us he doesn't like crowds?" the director said. "Tonight there was a big dance and because you'd told us about the crowds, he and Kirsten were playing by themselves. But then Max heard the music and dragged her in there and started dancing!"

"Who is this child you're talking about?" I said, laughing.

"Max is doing incredibly well," he said.

"And he's sleeping at night?" I asked, incredulously. Max religiously walks into our room at 1 a.m. to crash with us. 

"Yes!" he said.

I hung up and told Dave. "Watch, Max is going to come home with a girlfriend!" he said.

And then the fireworks started. We lay there watching the sky light up, Sabrina nestled in the crook of my arm, and I just tried to enjoy.


  1. ((hugs))

    i am so glad to hear that max is having a great time at camp! those moments where the "maybe someday" becomes "oh, maybe that's a whole lot sooner than i thought! like *now*" are amazing. :-)

  2. I love that Max is having a wonderful time at camp. I wonder how Jake would do.

    I feel the same conflicting emotions when we take our daughter out without the boys. I wish they were there, but if they could be there, we wouldn't be. My heart goes out to you.

    And, I absolutely LOVE the picture of Sabrina with her head on Dave's shoulder. Frame-worthy!

  3. Max! So bold and confident - what a testimony to your lovely family. Keep going, Ellen - I'm so glad you had the chance to do something special with Sabrina.

    No guilt, right?! Xxx

  4. Ellen - two things.
    First "independence" is something we all strive for in our kids but breaks our hearts when we see evidence that it's happening.
    Secondly, he is succeeding purely because of your love and support.
    Great photos btw xx

  5. What a beautiful post. Such great photos - love the one of Sabrina with her head on Dave's shoulder. Precious! And I'm glad Max is having a good time at camp - I think that right now, you're all right where you need to be, and this is good for you. Much love to you all~

  6. Wonderful. I'm glad you were all able to have a great time yesterday and that Max is doing so well and enjoying himself so much at camp. You must be so pleased and reassured.

  7. This post made me cry. So bittersweet. Way to go, big man Max!

  8. This post is incredibly sweet and brought tears to my eyes reading it. Who knew by letting him go a little he'd do fine. What an amazing young man you have, but I didn't need to tell you that.

  9. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I would feel and have felt exactly the same. Joy and sadness all at the same time.

    It's hard meeting everyone's needs including your own.

  10. I'm so glad Max is having a great time at camp! I put my guy on a bus this morning to his new Extended Year program, and for all my nerves about a different teacher, different time frame, he just hopped up there like he was the king of the world, and barely even said goodbye to me!
    I liked dderbydave's comment about independence: we want them to have it, but it kills us when they do.
    It's ok to miss him. and it's ok to have fun while he's at camp having fun.

  11. I understand how you feel; I'm glad you had that time with Sabrina, even though you missed Max. When our disabled child is in respite, and I get to do things with the grandchildren, it hits me that my life usually revolves around the disabled child, and I really miss her, although it is lovely to be able to give the grandkids my full attention for this time.

  12. Achingly beautiful post. It's funny, isn't it, that sometimes we need to give our children a completely different set of circumstances to allow them to shine? I know you'll be glad to have Max home soon...even with a girlfriend!

  13. You are a good mommy. Max is a tough little guy....but then deep down you know that. Look at how much he's accomplished? Camp/Shamp. I'm happy for him and I'm happy you guys had a nice 4th

  14. Try not to feel quilty I am sure Max is having a ball and I agree with Dave Max is going come back with a girlfriend how can he not he's so handsome :)


Thanks for sharing!