They don't take attendance at Family Day, do they?

The hardest part about living 800 miles away from your family isn't what you'd think.  It's not about missing my parents or dreading the drive there and back or having to block out large chunks of time to commit to a trip home.  It's the little stuff, like not being able to drop your kids off with Grandmom and Grandpop while you get your hair cut or go to your annual gynecology appointment (let's be honest - who wants to take three kids to that?).  That little bit of selfishness aside, it's also tough being the reason the opportunity to get all of your grandmother's great-grandkids together at her assisted-living facility's Family Day is missed.

We were supposed to be "home" this weekend.  Sam was going to be training folks in New York, and the kids and I were going to crash with my parents' house in Maryland while he got his business on in Long Island (or something that sounds slightly less dirty than that).  But the plans fell through, and here in Georgia we've stayed during a record-breaking heat wave, no less.

Family Day was the reason I got a little teary when Sam told me the news that the trip was off.  I really hated to miss it.  The Masonic home where my grandmother lives spares no expense to make it a day for the children.  And while it might seem a little strange to hire face-painters, a mobile petting zoo, and carnival rides for a bunch of elderly folks, it's actually quite appropriate.  Not only does it let them recreate their own childhoods and remind them of a simpler time and place, they get to watch their grandkids and great-grandkids, and their roommates' grandkids and great-grandkids just absolutely loving life.  And we all know a few old people who just light up when little children are around, don't we?

With the last-minute hope that was mostly a joke, I casually asked Sam this morning if he was interested in packing up and heading to Maryland tonight.  Almost as simply and directly he said something along the lines of, "Sure."  

I wasn't expecting that.

He's a good man.

Of course, that launched me into an 8-hour tailspin.

"Should we?  Shouldn't we?"  

I even made a pro/con list.  

  • Love a good surprise!
  • Would have all the great-grandkids together for Family Day & Early Birthday for Grandmo

  • Price of gas
  • Already going in July (re-scheduled business trip)
  • Have to coordinate getting Ben back from other grandparents
  • Have to miss my first summer Bible study meeting on Tuesday morning
  • Miss the copy/laminate deadline for VBS on Sunday
  • Have to line up a substitute for Sunday School on 2 days notice
  • Get to Family Day tomorrow completely and utterly exhausted
Needless to say, the Cons outnumbered the Pros, but that didn't mean they outweighed them.

My heart was begging me to make the decision to go, but my head was telling me it was ridiculous, frivolous, and extravagant.  Even though I'd spent over an hour packing us up (which doesn't seem like a lot, but I've had lots of practice), at the last minute (around 4:00pm) I tearfully decided not to go.  Usually when my heart gives me urges like this, I can't resist.  But something was telling me it was just not the time for us.

Around 6:30pm I was feeling good and sorry for myself - sitting at my computer googling things like "How to be more spontaneous" and "How to make decisions" and "How to hear the Holy Spirit".  Abby & Sarah were bickering like an old married couple, like they do, when Sarah just started wailing for no reason.  She climbed up in my lap, laid her head on me, and that's when I felt her fiery skin on my chest.  Clearly, she was not feeling well.

I took her to the doctor's after-hours (where, after less than 30 seconds in the exam room, she fell off the rolling doctor's stool and got a nice goose-egg right over top her big scar causing her to scream bloody murder).  Her ears were clear (or at least, clear enough to be deemed "not infected"), but her throat looked very red.  The in-office rapid strep test came back negative (but it always does), so we left the doctor behind us with a high fever and a diagnosis of "virus".  By the time we got home, her fever was so bad and poor little girl was so miserable, she laid down on the kitchen rug.

I think you have to understand how Sarah normally operates to understand the gravity of this.

Abby was sweet enough to bring her a pillow, blanket, and baby doll.  Then she sat next to her rubbing her back while she waited for her macaroni and cheese to finish cooking.

 Have I mentioned once or a dozen times that I am just in love with these two precious sisters?

She's resting sweatily in her bed right now with doses of ibuprofen and Tylenol coursing through her veins.

Maybe it's hard being 800 miles away from your family, but I know one thing for sure - There is a Maryland Masonic home full of blue-hairs that are thankful Sarah is not infecting them with whatever feverish-sore-throat funk she's got going on. 

Call it mother's intuition, call it heeding that still, small voice, call it luck.  But now I know why I had that nagging feeling that even though I wanted to head out with all my heart, something just wasn't quite right.

I'll work on the absent-from-family-events-guilt another time.  

Today, I'm vindicated.


Richard said...

Never underestimate the significance of intuition! It is the thing about woman-hood that I least understand (no logical arguments...anywhere), but that I most need to be complete. Just further evidence that God knows what he's doing!

Anonymous said...

I love your honesty! And I thought I was the only one whose kids took major spills at the doctor's. And get those judge-y mommy looks. Good thing I'm working on saying 'so long' to insecurity! Melissa

Sharon said...

Just precious, Jennie. Not the fact that Sarah's sick, of course. But those precious photos of those two sisters just melted my heart.

You know what? Your whole post reminded me of how God works in our lives. Sometimes (a lot) it's in the *looking back* that we see why He did or didn't do something in our lives. Sometimes He's kind enough to spare us from what we think we *want* - and other times He just answers our prayers in His way.

I understand the family guilt - but you get huge Mommy points for making the right decision, and for listening to that still, small voice...

Hope Sarah is feeling better really soon - and that everyone else stays well.


Debbie said...

I'm sorry to have missed this post earlier, Jennie, because I would have prayed for little Sarah. The pictures of her brought back memories and gave me throat constrictions.

Funny how an all knowing God was speaking the entire time.
For reasons that I'll leave unyakked, I needed this post this morning.

Tina Modotti said...

Grab me a hankey!

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