Jul 01, 2013 0 Share

Summer Vacation


Illustration of young man flipping burgers.
iStockphoto

Ah, summer vacation. A time of family togetherness … like it or not.

For the past three summers, I’ve gone through the same Extended School Year (ESY) dilemma with Cameron. I’ve historically opted out of sending him to summer school, but then left myself with the challenge of filling his days. This year, I never really considered sending Cameron to ESY. After all, this is the last summer before he graduates from high school. If I can’t plan his summer, what am I going to do when he graduates? The short term-ness of the summer should be a breeze compared to the great unknown that looms ahead of us this time next year.

And because I can’t be satisfied with the challenge of filling Cameron’s days, I’ve added an additional challenge to the mix. Since my husband is either traveling or working from home, and Cameron’s job at the pizzeria is over until the college students return to town, I thought it would be a great idea to spend four weeks at my mother’s seaside home. Yay for us! But … Cameron doesn’t like the beach, or the heat, or being out in the sun. So what’s a boy to do for 28 days? Get a job, right? Well, that was my plan, anyway. Now all that’s left to do is implement that plan.

It all seemed so perfectly clear when I devised this plan. “What’s Cameron going to do this summer at the beach?” family members would ask. “Why, he’ll get a job!” I would say. But now that I’m about to embark on the execution of that plan, I’m stammering over how to introduce Cameron to potential employers. Do I immediately play the autism card, or do I let the hiring manager figure it out on her own? I’m sure most 18-year-olds don’t have their moms with them when they ask for a job application. And I’m even more sure most 18-year-olds don’t have their moms fill out the applications on their behalves. I feel a bit like I did in the days of early diagnosis and temper tantrums in the grocery store. I feel like I need a sandwich board around my next that explains why Cameron is the way he is, and why that’s (mostly) okay. Maybe I’m being optimistic thinking a sandwich board would suffice. Maybe I’m being over-the-top optimistic thinking that in this job market, a job opportunity will be available for Cameron.

By the end of the day, I’ll have a better understanding of just how crazy an idea this was. I’m pounding the pavement with Cameron, and we’ll see what the day brings. I’m crazy enough to think this is going to work, but I’m realistic enough to know it might not. If the latter is the case, I’ll be taking suggestions for how to fill a person’s day at the beach who doesn’t like being outside. I guess he could spend his time researching recipes for all the crow I’ll be eating.