I really struggled to nail down the title for this week's blog; I knew exactly what I wanted to write about but I couldn’t get comfortable with the best way to capture it. In the end I went with, "Take Time to Process," but my other choices were, "Cry - Let it All Out," and, "Grieve and Accept Reality." I was wrestling with the fact that in the grander scheme of things my problems are extremely immaterial, especially when there's people out there fighting for their lives, or adjusting to lives without loved ones, or facing the possibility of bankruptcy and potentially losing businesses they've put their heart and soul into. The list of unfortunate events seems endless, with many scenarios that are significantly more serious than anything going on in my life.
However, while all of those things are devastating in their own right, I also know that it doesn’t mean I can’t be sad, or I shouldn’t have the opportunity to be upset with all the things negatively impacting myself and my family. This week in particular was a rather emotional week as we learned the boys sleep-away camp would not be opening it's doors this summer, meaning all the excitement that had been building up throughout the year came crashing down.
Additionally, this was to be an extra special summer because our middle son had been really excited at the prospect of joining his older brother for his very first sleep-away camp experience. For those of you who went to sleep away camp, or who's kids went to camp - especially one as family oriented as Camp Nock A Mixon - knows full well that camp is everyone’s happy place and is something kids fervently look forward to all year long.
If I'm going to be honest, I knew this day was coming and appreciate that it's probably for the best, but that logic certainly doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. My eldest son put on a brave face, but I knew he was upset, which long term has left me on tenterhooks anticipating him acting out when the news properly sinks in. My middle son, who's much more emotional, just burst into floods of tears. No matter which son I was dealing with, I knew this was going to be one thing I couldn’t just sweep under the rug; I had to get ahead of this and make sure we processed it together as a family.
Three things were really eating at me: I was sad for the boys that they wouldn’t get to build camp memories this year, I was worried for how we would fill the summer with activities while also working full time, and most of all, I was scared for the reality that "normal" wasn't coming anytime soon.
So how did we set about dealing with the bad news? Firstly, we watched the camp video and talked about how they felt and why they were sad. Secondly, when we were all ready, we shifted the focus to what we could control and how we were going to do everything possible to make it a great summer. I pulled out a piece of paper and started making a "Summer Bucket List." I turned to my best friends, Google and Amazon, and started researching everything from vacation homes, to pool clubs, to local camps and activities. Although this summer will not be filled with camp friends and memories, I'll be damned if I don't do everything in my power to ensure the summer we do end up having is the next best thing.
The moral epicenter of this story is that having feelings towards any situation is a totally natural process and that one person's interpretation has absolutely no bearing on another person's interpretation. The important thing to realize is that everyone deserves the chance to express how they feel and be afforded the opportunity to process their feelings however they see fit. For example, if you're sad and need to cry, let it out; if you're worried about the future, acknowledge your worries, take the time to process, and when you're ready, let it go. Leave the past in the past and turn your energy towards the future and what you can control.