Redefining Typical

A Mother, A Son, A Journey…..with Autism

It’s been over 30 days July 30, 2012

Filed under: autism — Cheairs @ 2:59 pm
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It’s been over thrity days since we took our little guy to camp.

A special place nestled in a valley.

A camp for children who have autism.

With counselors who should stand high on a podium and have gold medals placed around their necks.

A camp where laughter runs through the creek.

Where reciting verses from Baby Einstein videos is the norm, and flapping arms and high pitched squeals are embraced.

A village where my son walked through the squeaky screen doors and was greeted with the words that every camper yearns to hear when they go back to camp, “Hey! Look! It’s Dawson! We are so happy you’re back!”

A magical kingdom where counselors smiled as he jumped like a frog around the lodge waiting for his turn to see the nurse.

A place where I looked at other parents.

The way they gently pointed to an icon on a board or softly spoke one or two words to their child.

And I knew.

Yes, I knew.

That these parents were My People.

Yes, it has been thirty days since Dawson went to camp.

And as I sit on the floor sorting through papers that have been piling up on our dining room table for this last month, I come across Dawson’s Daily Camp Notes. And like finding an old photo album stuck in the back of a closet, I slowly begin to turn the pages that bring back Dawson’s week at camp.


June 12, 2012

We enjoy every bit of Dawson! But especially his smile! He has one of those contagious smiles. So that when he is smiling everyone around him is too!

June 13th

Dawson really enjoyed song time again today. One of his favorite songs was sung, “Baby Bumblebee.” He held onto his bumblebee through the entire song (don’t worry they were not real bees).

My favorite time with Dawson today was his greeting after naptime. When I went back to get him at the group lodge he had a huge smile on his face and said, “It’s Sarah!” Favorite moment all week!

June 14th

The firetruck came today and Dawson had  great time checking out the hoses and getting in the front of the cabin with all of the other campers. He was really interested in all the knobs and levers trying to figure out what everything did! Then Dawson had a yummy bowl of ice cream!



And I think back.

To thirty days gone past.

To Dawson’s last day of camp.

When I heard his counselor read…

Dawson wins the Jack Of All Trades Award for his stellar performance in activities this week! He is a justified jump roper, a brilliant beach baller, a super sweetheart, a basketball bouncer, and a music master! Dawson is truly an amazing camper and we all wish he could stay all summer long.

And I remember my Dawson grabbing his award and running over to the ceiling fans.

My memory of dashing after him fresh in my mind.

My arms still feeling the brief hug he allowed me to give him before he darted off to try and play the piano.

My voice coaxing him to come and sit with me on the floor.

The weight of his seventy pound body sitting in my lap.

And the peace.

The happiness.

The acceptance.

I felt it in my little boy.

I felt it in that room.

And there is no other word to describe it



Copyright Cheairs Graves July 28, 2012





















5 Responses to “It’s been over 30 days”

  1. cc Says:

    Do you also remember that part of his talent was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and when he was too excited to start the singing a chorus of voices rose from the back of the room…16 counselors lending a hand? Or am I crazy?

    My favorite part of the show. That and Fred Flintstone.

    • Cheairs Says:

      No, you are not crazy. I need to write a post about that moment too. That Talent Show is a post in and of itself. Thank you for your sweet reminder!

  2. Holly Allen Says:

    I love this post, Cheairs! I am so happy Dawson had a wonderful week at camp!

  3. McAlister Says:

    This post is beautiful, and describes so many reasons why I love camp! I worked my second summer this year, and am looking forward to my third! We love Dawson dearly, and can’t wait for his return next year!

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