I. A Weekend AwayWe were intending to travel to Atlanta for Father's Day with Chris' parents, but Mary came down with an illness the day before, and was so unhappy with fever, aches, and pains on Friday morning that she whimpered, "I don't want to go to Atlanta."
I stayed back with Mary (7) and the baby (11 months), sending forth Chris with John (9), Margaret (5), and Joseph (3) to Atlanta.
We parents feel deep gratitude for the safety of our family after Chris witnessed a horrific crash right in front of him.
Chris was driving on I-85 South outside of Spartanburg/Greenville when the 18-wheeler directly in front of him needed to stop abruptly (he doesn't know why) and couldn't, so veered from the middle to the left lane. The 18-wheeler hit a truck and drove it into the grassy median, then plowed through the median wall and drove into oncoming traffic, where it hit an SUV head-on (and flipped it?), causing either the SUV or the 18-wheeler or both to explode in flames (reports varied because Chris had his eyes on the road, with secondary crashes happening all around him, and John was watching but he's a 9-year-old reporter). The 18-wheeler continued careening across the three lanes of oncoming traffic and came to a stop on the grass at the other side.
Mere seconds--one? two? three?--were the difference between my family driving on safely and my getting the call that more than half my family was dead.
With the Mass shooting in Orlando this week, the alligator death at Disney, and this crash so close to home, we're all hugging our children tight!
On Saturday, Chris and his dad took the children hiking up and down Stone Mountain.
|"Gross gum tree"|
|On top of Stone Mountain (where it was cold)|
|On top of Stone Mountain (where it was cold)|
|Margaret following John|
There was more fun, such as swimming, shooting the BB gun, and eating a great dinner cooked by Grandmom!
II. Weekend at Home
On the home front, it was quiet and really peaceful. Mary commented, "It will be kind of nice to be mostly alone for three days because it's a lot easier not to sin." That led to a good conversation about how the exercise of virtue is found in actually living life around other people. For example, I would be a fabulous, patient, and basically angelic mother if I had no actual children!
|Throat tamer tea with raw, local honey|
Mary having read Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess," we watched the 1995 Disney version. My review in brief is that the visuals are beautiful and acting is fine. My 7-year-old loved it.
Negatives: There is a somewhat frightening animated demon from an Indian fairy tale. The Lord's name is taken in vain a few times. The entire second half of the movie is completely changed from the book: in the book, Sara remains virtuous and humble when she is made a servant and treated unjustly, but, in this movie, she does many mischievous, naughty, and outright bad things to take revenge on Miss Minchkin, which is not the Christian example set so beautifully by Sara in the book. Also, the fate of her father is utterly changed!!! Hollywood takes the easy way out, once again.
|Popcorn and juice boxes during Mama-daughter movie time|
On Saturday, Mary's fever broke and she seemed to have a regular, drippy cold, so we took a load of homeschool curricula to the consignment store, where I then went shopping. I found three major finds of big-ticket item I had been seeking for the 2016-17 year.
|Parking the baby by the Duplo table to occupy himself|
Feeling better, Mary was really delighted to have all this quiet, alone time with her Mama! Thus, she invited me to a slumber party and presented me with a written itinerary.
|I wrote our slumber party on the calendar, of course.|
Mama-and-Mary Slumber Party
- Start watching "Heidi" movie (1995, Warner Bros.).
- Take a neighborhood walk.
- Eat supper together.
- Read the final four chapters of "Rabbit Hill" in a row! (and then I'll read them again to the others when they come home)
- Get the baby to sleep.
- Eat cookies in Mary's bedroom.
- Go to sleep together in Mama's bedroom.
|Reading "Rabbit Hill"|
|Eating our cookies|
The plan had to be slightly modified because the baby fell asleep on our stroll before dinner, thus causing him to be wide awake late. So, we finished watching "Heidi" while eating our cookies in the den.
|Mama and daughter|
In the morning (which was so slow-paced and easy compared to usual!), Mary asked if we could go on another walk--where we saw a baby bunny--and we played numerous games in which we invent a story, each of saying only two sentences at a time before the turn alternates.
We missed having our family together--and I felt, with my children missing, like my limbs were chopped off and missing--but I certainly came away feeling relaxed, calmed, and like I'd rediscovered the patient, multifaceted, flexible human being I used to be. This is a reminder that I need brief respite--even a daily walk by myself--much more often than I take it!