Blake is home! After nearly three weeks, our boy is back! He is exhausted. He seems older and more mature in some ways. He is struggling with re-entry, and he is still basking in the bliss that camp apparently was. The stories are just beginning to come out, and I am sure we will learn the details of his time away over the next days and weeks.
I had noted that he never wrote, but he insisted, as we drove home, that he did write us one time. Sure enough, a letter from him was waiting in the mailbox when we arrived at the house! Leave it to Blake to conserve space. Three letters (one for each of us) were written on one, postcard-sized notecard:
“For the sake of convenience,” it began, “I have divided this letter into three sections – one for each of you on the back.”
He continued, “I found out that writing letters is like showering at camp (one of those things you keep telling yourself you’ll do and then never do).”
Have I mentioned before that Blake is a character? Needless to say, he had a wonderful time. We did discover one reason why we almost never saw him in photos. Apparently the camp was very generous in taking his group off-grounds for camp outs and activities. One trip was to an amusement park within five minutes of our home! It was on this trip that Blake once again found that his Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) treatment experiences for his OCD came in handy.
“It was really cool,” he told me. “There were kids in my group that were terrified of roller coasters. I got to be a helper.”
“How did you do that?” I asked.
“I talked to them in line about facing their fears. I let them know what to expect. Then, as we got close, I told them that the choice was theirs and that this was a real opportunity for them. And then, they always got on the ride!”
“And they ended up being glad that they did?”
“They did!” he said. “It’s funny. I think I got to feel what it was like for you and Dad coaching me on facing my fears. I got to do what you did.”
It sometimes amazes me that Blake still holds on to what he learned in treatment. He recognizes the importance of standing up to a fear and not giving in to discomfort. These are some of the basic tenets of OCD treatment, and he has no problem implementing them with others. Then he basks in watching their success. I wonder to myself what this is about. Is he practicing with others so that he can keep himself sharp? Will he actually start using these tools that he has with his own OCD one day? I don’t know the answer; only time will tell. Still, I’m happy what he learned in treatment helped him to get closer to others, and that, maybe it made their lives just a bit better for knowing him.
Welcome home Blake!!