Summer is upon us and, believe it or not, that means a busier time of year for me. Most people look forward to summer time because it means vacation and travel, in essence a time you get to do what you want when you want to do it. For me summer is about transitions and it can sometimes be incredibly stressful. What helps me get through this busy time is the feeling of the heat in the air and the sun on my face. Yes, although I am aging and I care about my skin I still love the sun to warm my face – it makes me feel like a kid again. It brings me back to a time when life was simpler (don’t worry I wear sunscreen).

With my son Keyan transitions are difficult. By the end of the school year he is beyond fed up!!! I hold my breath often in the month of June hoping I don’t get a call from school to pick him up because he is in crisis mode. Last year I had to pick him up a total of 3 times and this June I am happy to report I didn’t have to even once. PROGRESS! The week between school and camp are the best for him because, similar to us, he feels as though he has control over his days: pool, spa, iPAD, swing, bike, car….repeat. He can tell by the absence of his school bag in the morning that the day ahead is his. In order to help with the transition to camp I got him a new backpack – a bright orange “Camp Oasis” bag to help signal to his brain that today is a camp day. I think thus far it has helped tremendously in the processing of things – he knows when he sees either his regular school bag or his new camp backpack that oops “I guess I am not staying home today”.

This is where my summer gets busy. In 2016 S.Au.S. (the charitable organization I founded) started a summer camp for teens on the severe end of the autism spectrum. My thought process was the following: parents can make the choice to pay a babysitter to follow their child around the house all day, to ensure their safety or they can send them to our camp which is designed to have them doing activities that they enjoy alongside their peers in a safe and nurturing environment. When I think of Keyan home with a babysitter I know he rules the roost. It is difficult enough for him to understand that not everything is about him (we have yet to have that conversation – wink wink) so I need him to be in a structured environment. So my summer is pretty busy from organizing the camp, monitoring the camp and ensuring Keyan transitions well into the camp. The latter is out of my control. I do my best to prepare both Keyan and the camp team but ultimately he gets to decide how things play out. I am proud to say that the usual transition to camp can take days even weeks, this time it took 2 days total. I think his level of comprehension has increased and he has matured somewhat over the past year.

In the past, I have taken the summers off to recharge my batteries and spend time with my daughter, Manisha. This is the first summer she is working full time so she is no longer home in the day time. Also, with the amount of work we currently have in the office paired with our future plans I have to be present to push the agenda forward. I feel the ongoing work has kept me engaged, motivated and driven for things coming down the pipe. With the promise to build a day center, to provide much needed services for the adult population who are on the severe end of the autism spectrum, we have our work cut out for us. In going forward the days will have to be dotted with time to recharge my batteries rather than the few weeks I am used to. I welcome the challenge.

That leads me to the next point that makes the summer months busy and that is marathon training. I have decided to run another marathon. I know some of you might be thinking why the hell is she doing that with all that she has going on? The short answer is because I want to. When I am training for a race I get micro specific in my training. I follow the training program very diligently and it helps set the tone for the rest of the day. While running I feel, healthier, stronger and better prepared to face adversity. Training for a marathon is a big time commitment but the energy it frees up for the rest of the day makes me more productive, focused and increases creativity. If you have been thinking of taking up running I strongly encourage you to do so because it enhances all aspects of your life. You can join a running group providing the opportunity to meet new people if you are looking for connection. I can talk about running forever but let me save that for another blog.

Back to the fact that it’s summer time and my favorite time of year to host dinners for our family and friends. You see we have an exquisite back yard with an abundance of trees lining the perimeter to provide the utmost privacy. We have an in-ground pool and spa for all to enjoy. It is especially great for Keyan who spends hours in the water. Then there is the fireplace that we huddle beside to ward off mosquitoes. I have enjoyed many songs around the fire oblivious to the fact that it’s a propane fireplace and not wood burning. I thought the visual would make you laugh. So it’s really great to have people over to enjoy our outdoor space. This past week alone there were 4 nights that we hosted friends. For those who host you know the efforts put into hosting. There are several layers to hosting that include preparations, cooking and cleaning – Keyan is a bonus consideration which means sometimes he is simply not onboard with having people over so we have to manage his moods. Hosting can take from a few hours to almost all day to prepare and that depends on the number of people being hosted. If it sounds like I am complaining I am not. I LOVE HOSTING dinners/parties especially in the summer when for the most part everyone is in a good mood (this year in particular after our long drawn out winter).

Summertime is a busy time but it remains the best time!!! I love catching up with friends. It’s that time of year where those who live afar come back home. I love catching up with friends or hanging by the pool with my children. My heart is filled with pride when I think of my team at Camp Oasis who are doing a phenomenal job. Then there is the office staff who are hard at work preparing for big things coming this fall (gala #5 is November 2nd, 2019 – mark it on your calendars). After a few weeks of intense preparation for a presentation at the ARNA conference I am back to my writing which similar to running fills my soul.

I hope you are doing what you love to do this summer. If I see a post from you with the hashtag #lovesummer then I will take it as a direct message that you read this blog.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the summer sun.

© 2018 Audrey Burt

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