Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why we take the brothers to camp.

A few weeks back Bella said "I wish you were allergic to brothers and not cats". We both laughed. She and I both know that our lives would be so different without our boys and we wouldn't be who we are without them. They both have unique personalities and keep us on our toes in very different ways.

Recently I was asked why we take the boys to camp with us and why we go as a family.... A great question! We use the time to bond as a family. While the experience was initially for just Bella, we learned the first year that it was truly a family experience. There were sibling activities, parent groups, groups for limb different kids, there was truly something for everyone.

It's especially important at the ages they are now (3 and 5). They live with Bella every day. Her hand and her difference is not usually a topic of conversation. We usually only really talk about it when something comes up (a situation at the playground, difficulty with a certain task). They are used to it. They don't see other differences every day. It's not their norm. This allows them to think about and see others with differences, to learn empathy, compassion, kindness. We realize that there may come a day when the boys don't want to go and we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

As a pediatric nurse, I see differences every day. Feeding tubes, facial deformities, broken bones, amputations, heart defects, pumps, machines, buttons, NG tubes, oxygen... the list goes on. For me, seeing kids with differences is normal. I'm drawn to them and always have been. I volunteered in the "special needs" room in elementary school because I loved those kids. There's little to no shock factor when I see something that others think is "different".

For my kids, this allows them to embrace differences. This allows my boys to learn that different isn't bad, that we are each unique in our own way, even them. To be honest, we each take something unique away from camp. This year, a little older... we'll see what they take away!

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