Again this year me and my two daughters packed up the van and headed out for our favorite weekend of the year. All year I wait for these three precious days of TOTAL RELAXATION. And I do mean total relaxation.
As a parent of a child with Tourette, you are always on your guard when you go out in public. You know what I mean — that nagging voice at the back of your head worrying about if your child will have a ticcing episode and how people around you will react.
No matter how hard you try not to think about it, it is always there lurking below the surface. My mamma bear instincts are always on high alert when out in public — ready to spring in to action to protect your child. There’s also that feeling you get when your child goes off with another group of kids by themselves, hoping that they will have a NORMAL kids day. How you long for those days before diagnosis when you didn’t have this concern.
Well, if you’re sitting there reading this and are nodding your head saying, “Yes, I know what she means” and have never been to Camp Bernie, I suggest you mark your calendar right now today to attend next years camp. Circle June 6-8, 2014, in red pen, mark it with stars and start counting off the days.
When I’m at camp, all those feelings I just described totally melt away the minute I drive up the dirt road leading to camp. You don’t have to worry about having to explain your kid’s behavior over and over again. You don’t have to worry about what if they have a lot of tics when they are with other kids and they start making fun of them. You don’t have to put up with the funny stares from people. Like I said, TOTAL RELAXATION.
When you arrive at camp and are surrounded by other families going through the same daily battles, you understand that feeling of “strength in numbers.” Knowing you are not alone and that there are others there to help you along your TS journey is such an uplifting feeling.
Being able to sit in on a discussion with other parents to vent all your frustrations of the last year and going to seminars where you can learn more skills for the coming year can give you back all the strength you might have lost during the last year.
Your kids get to go play with other kids without the fear of ticcing. I have always noted when you are at camp, it’s hard to tell which kids have TS and which ones are the siblings. It is such a relaxed, stress-free environment — at least for my daughter, and her tics are almost gone.
The fact that they, too, can stop that little voice in their head from worrying about their tics — that they can run and play without that concern — has got to be totally liberating for them. That I, as a parent, can give this feeling to my daughter for those 3 days a year is the best medicine ever.
So what ever reservation you have had about why you still have not attended Camp Bernie, throw them away. Please come and join in the fun and support of the “BEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR.”
Price of Camp: $100
Cost of gas: $25
Lost wages: $200+
Weekend with no funny stares and explanations: PRICELESS.