Thursday, September 20, 2012

Still on Track

Remember when I talked about not letting those unexpected life events get in the way of persevering on with your homeschool? Well, I had the opportunity to put this into practice this year already.

It was the day before we were planning to start school. I had done most of the prep work, but still had a list of stuff to be printed, cut, laminated, and a few books I had to find. Greg was asleep on the couch, the kids were still asleep in bed. I heard Greg's phone and saw his sister's number. I thought it would be a good time to wake him up, so I handed him the still vibrating phone and left the room to do more chores. A few minutes later he came to me, and I could tell before he said anything that the news was bad. My mind said "Who?", frantically going down the list of his family members, each possibility filling me with dread.  Then he said, "My dad's plane crashed," and began to cry. We would later find out that Henry's Grandpa-Dad had miraculously survived the accident and would slowly but steadily recover. But for that initial time we didn't know what to think.

I pushed away the tears of uncertain grief and tried to think practicalities. My husband's business had been steady, but his income was still cyclical, he will sometimes wait months to be paid for any one particular case, occasionally creating very dry times for us. This happened to be the absolute lowest we had ever been financially. We had a couple of near-maxed out credit cards and .38 cents in our bank account, no exaggeration. I went upstairs to my family and told them what happened, and asked to borrow money for gas to get down to TN. Luckily they were able to help us with no questions asked. My sister came down with me and started packing a bag for the kids, and I packed for Greg, then started packing for myself. Half-way in I just gave up and got everyone into the car and began driving.

We drove all day and night, arriving in Memphis around 6am the next morning. Greg saw his Dad right away and we were all encouraged as he took the first steps toward healing. We spent the week with Greg's sisters, working around the TICU's visiting schedule. We took Henry with us once, but the combination of emotional strain and running after him was difficult, and after that he stayed home with me or one of the aunts. Despite the stress of the situation, Henry did get to spend time with and interact with his aunts and his soon-to-be Uncle Ron who he absolutely adored.

We got back late on the following Sunday night, effectively skipping our first whole week of school. We were emotionally drained and worried, not just for Grandpa-Dad, but for his wife and daughter who were left behind to walk with him during what will be a difficult recovery time. I did not feel like singing songs or reading books to Henry. I wanted to spend the next day sleeping or reading or in some way recovering from the trip. But I got out my schedule and shifted some things around and cut some things out, and eventually figured about how to combine the first week into the second and third weeks. And Monday we had school. And it was awesome.

Henry had an amazing day. He listened, he remembered what I taught him. I was able to take care of Baby Stella and do the dishes and the laundry and teach Henry and even make dinner without a hitch. It wasn't perfect by any means. We won't get to do every single thing I originally planned. But it will be work, and Henry will have a great year, maybe even a better year because we stuck with it.

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