Parent Programs bring the healing power of Camp to parents and caregivers. Year-round opportunities such as opening day parent picnics, parent work days and parent retreats held on and offsite, Parent Programs offer current camper parents a multitude of ways to expand their supportive community and connect with other Camp families.
When we checked in at COPE, I was prepared for just a relaxing weekend. And while I did eat too much and relax all weekend, what I was not prepared for was the experience: the kindness, the caring, the camaraderie, the tears of relief and sadness and joy and understanding all intermingled. The host parents who welcomed us at the door set the tone: Joyce provides much-needed comedic relief (our coping mechanism!), and Father Dom’s storytelling is second to none. Dividing into moms and dads was beneficial for us on so many levels, and I hope it was for others, too. Knowing that we all struggle with the same feelings, despite the diagnosis, brings us together. Opening up is hard, especially when you are forever struggling to keep up the strong façade and holding in the feelings that threaten to overflow. I always fight it, I try to hold it in, but the women I met this weekend helped me realize that it really is all right to let go. It’s okay to not be okay. I can’t thank them enough for helping me reach that breakthrough.
After our weekend at COPE, we both left feeling like we could take on the “real” world again. I left feeling energized, with a new outlook on life, as clichéd as that may sound. The self that I lost, that I neglected, is back. I have realized that I need to be kinder to myself in order to be the best nurse-mom I can possibly be. I needed the reminder that I’m not alone and that a listening ear is a text or call away. I needed the reminder that, before we were Ava’s mom and dad, we were Dave and Lindsay. We are still Dave and Lindsay, and that is a life-changing realization.
Did you know?
A favorite COPE tradition? Musical chairs on Saturday night!