The Summer List

Oscar was devastated when he learned he would need a 2nd surgery and that it would have to be this summer, before his curve progressed even more. We waited almost a week after conferring with his surgeons to tell him—long enough to digest the news ourselves, set a date, and start to put together a plan. Oscar doesn’t deal well with uncertainty and our anxiety only fuels his, so I just couldn’t tell him before I’d processed it myself.

“Nooooooo!” he wailed when we broke it to him over breakfast last month. “Noooooo, noooooo, noooooo!” He was sad that a good portion of his short six-week summer would be spent in recovery and that he’d miss out on all the fun activities he looks forward to after a long school year.

As soon as he was calm enough, I got him to start listing the fun things he wanted to do. And then we divided the activities into two lists — “before” and “after” surgery. Swimming and kayaking fall in the “before” category, mini-golf and board games can happen “after”. It took a while, and a whole lot of reassurance, but we finally came up with a plan. And he’s holding me to it. We’ve crossed off the A’s game, zoo building, beach, listening to music, and lots of games (Catan, Boggle, Avalon, Pit, and a family Connect 4 tournament). Paul checked off the train ride and geocaching this weekend, and Abe’s signed up for a trip to the zoo tomorrow. He’s also gotten to do a some unplanned fun things, like dog-walking for a friend, math and physics sessions with Abe, and ukulele lessons with Ruby.

Most importantly, Oscar’s spirits are now pretty high. Just this morning he said, “I’m going to have a good summer after all.”

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