Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The Week Before Christmas, part 4
The men and women in blue fill the hallways, greeting everyone. Their warmth and sincerity felt like a thick cloud in the air. Big smiles on so many faces and the sound of laughter booming all around me. Over and over again, Merry Christmas could be heard. I loved how it was ok to say that, after all it is a Catholic run, private school. To me it was one of the benefits of having Teale here, rules were not the same as they were in public schools, there was an actual Christmas tree in the foyer. To say Merry Christmas, to have a Santa wandering the hall, to be able to talk about Jesus and God, it all felt right to me. As the firefighters walked to a room assigned to them for taking off their outerwear, I see a Mom I have met at meetings and ask her what will happen next. The cafeteria/auditorium is set up with chairs facing the stage. As everyone floats around the hallways, I realize my camera has died. I debate with myself if I have time to run home and get my charger. Knowing that being without a camera would probably break my heart, I take the chance of missing something and go. In the car I call Mark, but my words are completely inadequate, the feelings are too difficult to describe. Besides, I can tell he is distracted, it was the day before Christmas break and I knew he was swamped. I hang up disappointed that I can't share this experience with him and that he has no clue what he is missing. I hope my pictures and videos will do the day justice. I hope that when he gets home I will be able to share what I have felt today. I run into our house, grabbing the charger and throwing on a little make up. I had not planned on seeing people when I left earlier that morning. I was going to hide in the background and then quietly slip away. Now that I am going to stay, I decide to spend a few minutes to try and look better. Lack of sleep had been catching up to me and dark circles were dominating my face. I threw on some concealer and hope I didn't look as exhausted as I feel. I also check on Mark's Mom, who lives with us. She is declining in health and needs much care. I bring her drinks, food and make sure she takes her medicines. She also needs reminders about personal care, doctor appointments scheduled, medicines managed and much more. It was a big decision to take Mark's Mom in, but it makes Mark happy. He is grateful to me for caring for her and I know I will always feel like it was the right thing to do. Because it was December 23rd, Mark's sister was coming to get Mom for a visit with her family before Christmas. We would all get together next week sometime after all the craziness calmed. So, I made sure Mom was packed, that she had the most necessary items and was getting ready before I headed back to Teale's school. I'm often balancing much and, in my opinion, I mostly do it well. My house isn't perfectly decorated or as clean as I would like, but I do balance much else. Mark and I are a happy couple, even with the stressful lifestyle we live. We make much effort to spend time together and still have dates and fun alone. We take good care of our multiply handicapped child, his declining Mom plus our two other children. I still volunteer, not as much as I would like, but enough to help me feel like I am giving back a little. Mark works a job that can be very stressful, but it also can be very flexible for our complicated family. We often have many doctor appointments between Teale and his Mom. Also there are many educational meetings for Teale especially, but in general, for three kids. Some are important for Mark to be at and often his job is flexible and accommodates such needs. Unfortunately today was not a day they could be flexible, so I am heading back to capture it for him. As I pull back into the parking lot, I again feel the overwhelming excitement in me that we are really here. We are really part of this amazing place and Teale finally has a school that we all feel a part of. I open the door and tears fill my eyes as I watch all the good going on around me. One thought goes through my head, a statement the principal once said to me, "Welcome home."