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August 04, 2008

Camp is Over, It's Back to the Real World

Camp_lions Camp week is over--the kids are back home.  We've plowed through the mountain of laundry and emptied the gritty stuff from the bottom of the duffle bags.

My daughter is moping around the house.  "You know, Mom, if I was back at camp, I'd be cheerful and happy," she announces.

I sigh. 

I know the letdown.  I used to be a camp counselor at the very same camp that all three of my kids attended last week.  I remember the feeling of wanting camp to go on forever.

Every year, the kids look forward to going to Camp Lions and spending an entire week-- with kids just like them.  All three of my kids are deaf and hard of hearing. When they're in school, they spend all day working hard to understand everything that is communicated around them.  They often miss out chunks of conversations if they're in groups.  Interpreters can only do so much.  Lipreading can only go so far.

That's why they enjoy attending camp.  For one week, they're surrounded by kids with hearing aids, kids with cochlear implants, kids who sign. A battery runs out, they just shrug and replace it or go without it altogether.  They walk into the middle of a group conversation and someone quickly summarizes what's going on.  They laugh, they fight, they make up.  For one week, the world is utopia for them.  For one week, they're just like everyone else. 

Reality bites hard when they're back home.  Friends live a car ride away.  Playdates have to be arranged in advance to include driving time and pick up coordination.

"How about if we start a commune and we all live in the same town?" I joke to the other moms before we go our separate ways after camp.

They sigh. 

They know. 

They understand. 

Karen blogs at A Deaf Mom Shares Her World and is a feature writer at Disaboom.  This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post.

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