Pre-summer retreat before staying put

Confession: (warning – moderate whining alert) I am intimidated by summer. I have been for quite a few years.  For our family it means a seismic shift in the day to day routines.  Routine is grounding for all kids, but non-verbal kids with autism gauge expectations and regulate their anxiety in response to what they know will happen next.  If they don’t know, well then…every summer we hammer it out again.

We’re also feeling intimidated by the major shift in Caleb’s routines (read also ‘our routines’) because he is truly finished school forever.  As an adult who will always need supports to journey in this real world, we have to depend largely on the institutional structures available that provide these supports.  They are somewhat broken right now, so supports are sketchy, pending or mythical.  We are therefore wrestling with ourselves to not let summer feel like the beginning of forever. Like Jesus said, ‘Do not be anxious about the beginning of forever, summer has enough trouble of its own…” or something like that.  So what did we do to prepare ourselves? — we ran away for a few days. Otherwise known as a retreat or as ‘put the oxygen mask on yourself first.’

Bowen Island is a 20 minute ferry ride out of Horseshoe Bay.  The generosity of a friend made it possible and we were good to leave the kids in respite care and stay for a few days with no WiFi, little traffic noise and no agenda.  It turned out to be the very best way to begin the summer.

Violet Petunias

Come and stay
hide away
hermit-ted and safe.

Open up
with the dawn
bees’ hum, hummers’
crows’ caterwaul
and then…

with mid-day malaise give in –
breath lengthened, deepened
your inner soldier slouching
finally succumbing in time
to new orders issued on the deck
by violet petunias.

© 2016 – Laurel Archer

Those who come to the Lower Mainland of BC are often surprised by the amount of driving we do (not to mention the sheer thickness of the traffic in which we do it) to go places that in reality aren’t that far apart.  ‘Traveling’ can be a matter of perspective.

This summer I plan to keep an ‘atravel’ journal.  ‘A’ used as a prefix in English denotes, ‘without’ or ‘not’, as in achromatic – without color.  An ‘atravel’ journal is then, a journal about not travelling or a journal about staying put, at least for the most part and within the context of Lower Mainland living.  There are at least as many things to be learned about staying put as there are about travelling abroad.  That is the emphasis of this series of blog entries.  They will be a combination of prose and poetry peppered with photos.  Hope you will enjoy the ‘journey’.

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5 thoughts on “Pre-summer retreat before staying put

  1. Yes – I empathize with you regarding the end of public schooling and the beginning of adult life. Our 17 year old (with severe physical disabilities) just graduated as well, and I’m feeling weird – kinda lost in the transition.

    1. Thanks Lori. It’s a big shift isn’t it? I’ve always heard that it is a hard transition, but additionally there is a whole lot of emotional stuff that accompanies it. It is not merely a change in setting, but a global change in perspective, in attitude, in understanding…strength and peace to you all as you navigate it together.

      1. Yes – the emotional stuff just sneaked up on me yesterday (the day after my son’s Prom) – I wasn’t ready for it! Hoping all settles down with this momma’s heart soon.

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