My family’s about to embark on our favorite week of the year! We’re headed to Forest Home family camp in the San Bernardino mountains. I absolutely love it there!
The fresh air, night zip-line, hiking, swimming…
Games and milkshakes in the lodge, evenings with my hubby and our friends, not having to cook even ONE meal for a week…
The packing, the kids fighting while I run last-minute errands, the dog chewing up our suitcase….
Oh, wait, that’s this week. The part that’s NOT my favorite!
While we won’t be in tents at camp, we still have to pack everyone’s necessities, bedding, medications, and things to do in the cabin. All made slightly harder for the fact that school’s out, so all four girls have been home.
Together all week.
And I mean spectacular fighting here, people. Take my two oldest girls (both bipolar/ADHD) and change their routine and you get paranoia, 2-hour screaming fits in their rooms every afternoon, aggression, and lying. Which means I’ve felt like an octopus this week: four arms packing, and four keeping chaos at bay. I’ve been in high gear helping them cope and calm, while balancing time with my younger girls for fun and peace!
The good news is that I’ve supported my local Starbucks through it all, blowing through an entire pound of Dark Roast since Monday.
Why do I DO this to myself? This whole end-of-school-year, hectic, packing, calming, errand-running, coffee-pounding routine just so we can all go to family camp each year? My mom would say it’s because I’m a stress junkie. Which might be true…. But more than that it’s because I am NOT taking this summer lying down! Summer is one of my hardest seasons with my two older kids because of the change in weather and routine. Change triggers memories of loss and feelings of anxiety in children with a history of trauma (like mine had in foster care). Loss and anxiety translate to rage, tantrums, lying, and other tough behaviors in children with bipolar/ADHD.
Instead of fearing summer, over the past few years I’ve learned the value of facing summers with my kids courageously. Not in denial, or reactively, but being proactive and investing in lots of good memories before and during the break. That way the kids can forget their anxiety at times, and I can remember that I actually like them as people when they’re having a blowout and I’m not so sure!
How about you? What challenges are you facing right now?
Have a courageous week everyone!