I really enjoy camping but there is one thing that always drives me crazy and quite honestly – it is me being scatty! No matter how organised I am or how well I pack up everything to come home, I always manage to misplace something. This time it was my note book with the handwritten copy of the #WASO post you are about to read. When I finally found it, I decided that, as the camping trip had now been and gone, I would just write it up and put it on at a random time, but seeing the launch of the new website ‘Adoption Social’ I couldn’t think of a better week to put it on here:
For several years Bumble and I have joined several adoptive and foster families camping and over the years the volume of attendees has increased. When Bumble and I first started attending we were newly approved prospective adopters and so childless but this did not stop everyone welcoming us with open arms and since the boys moved in, Buzzbee has not missed any (Beeswax has attended one and a half camps but finds them difficult to manage due to his need for control).
This year Buzzbee and I (along with Beedog) were flying solo as Bumble and Beeswax had other commitments. So although I have a really good idea what Beeswax and Bumble feel is important about the camping weekend, I am going to stick with mine and Buzzbee’s viewpoints.
The campsite is held at a wonderful outdoor adventure centre, which on a clear day has a breath-taking view of the Black Mountains. And for me the site has all I could need (ok it doesn’t have 1:1 bronzed Adonises for the mums, to wait on us hand and foot) but it does have indoor accommodation for a handful of families, onsite tents for the hardier among us (although personally we bring our own, which this year fell foul of a freak gust of wind), 2 well equipped kitchens (one for self-catering and one for the communal eaters), shower facilities, a large campfire to sit in front of drinking “hot chocolate” (disguised as glasses of wine) once the children are asleep and so much more.
Buzzbee has a different point of view as to why the site is perfect:
- There is a tree swing
- Fields, woods and lots of open space to play in
- LOTS of trees to climb
- Toasting marshmallows over the campfire
- Fun activities to join in with if he wants
- Later bedtimes (although usually by day 2 he is asking to go to bed rather than needing to be coerced into the decision)
- His partner in crime, who he only sees every now and then also attends.
- Getting to be a big boy and helping collect the wood for the camp fire
- But, most of all! He feels normal. He knows that all the children struggle in one way or another and that the ‘mummy and daddies’ are not going to “be mean to him”.
So what do I get from this weekend and why do we go back year after year? Well, it is not for a physical rest that is for sure. I still have to be mummy, head chef, peace envoy, tree rescuer, story teller, first aider and whatever other hat I need to wear, but for me it is not the same. Yes I still have to be all these things, but the difference is I don’t have the stress or anxiety that comes with parenting my boys’ day in and day out.
Why? Well, if we ignore the fact that you have an extra 30 or more pairs of eyes keeping an eye on my little (ahem) “angel”, everyone at the campsite is in the same position in one way or another so there isn’t the intense level of feeling judged I feel in the outside world. I know I am among people who understand what my children are dealing with and the impact that has on all of us. I know I am among people who will let me cry on their shoulder if I should need to or will join me in sharing my boys’ triumphs no matter how tiny they are.
There is so much more I get from this weekend but I believe when we first began on the long road of the adoption assessment process I underestimated how valuable I would find spending a weekend once a year with people who not only understand, but have walked more than a mile in my shoes.
I could have written here a blow by blow description of every moment of the weekend but hey, there is only so much time in the day. So instead I will leave this post with the one and only paragraph that was written in full (all the rest were notes) to give you an idea of how this usually highly strung, stressed out mother was feeling:
“I am sat here on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon staring at my notebook and watching a couple of girls playing with Beedog (trust me she is getting as much out of it as they are), wondering what I could write about this weekend and wishing that I could bottle all the memories and save it for a day when things are getting tough and I need reminding that we do have wonderful moments as a family and just because we have had yet another day when Beeswax has smashed another hole in the wall or his fist has come in contact with some part of my body, doesn’t mean that every day it is going to be like that (OK at the moment most days when he is home, feels like that, but these are the times that I most need reminding that it isn’t all bad).”