Monday, August 24, 2015

No pomp. Just a lot of circumstance.

My amazing trio started college without much fanfare -- without much pomp. But oh sweet mercy the circumstances were enough to wear us all out for months ahead!

Benjamin had Welcome Week activities all weekend last week. We heard amazing speakers -- really wonderful, I will have to eventually give my two cents on each college's parent/student activities but know that Belhaven set a high bar for all others -- and watched him get to know his new campus and make new friends. It was off to a great start!

Rainbows in the sky at Welcome Week were an good indicator that God has this!

We went to Spirit Night at Cate's new school, St. Andrew's, Sunday night. I was nervous about walking into something completely foreign to us -- we didn't know where to park even -- but a bright smiling little girl saw us walking into the courtyard and bounded up the stairs to embrace Cate! They had met once...friends for life!

I knew we were sailing into a week of firsts -- Cate's first day ever not home schooled; Benjamin's first day of college classes; and Mason and Claire's first days living on their campuses. I knew we were sailing into a week of lasts -- last meals together as a family for a while, last TV nights cuddled on the couch, last coffee runs and walks and more more more as my little family sends two of our crew to live on college campuses. 

I knew we were sailing into a week chocked full of last minute preparations -- we needed to paint the headboards we had assembled for Claire and her roommate's beds, we needed to do some last minute clothes shopping for all four, and we needed to pick up one or 50 more things for the dorm rooms, and pack. We needed to pack.

I knew it was a big big week.

But if you read this, then you are all too aware that the week did not go as planned. Not even close.

Sunday night as I felt my grasp -- my control -- slipping over the week as I literally could feel Cate's temperature rising and her ankle swelling we sang songs. She was in my bed as I desperately tried to ice her ankle and get her to sleep. I began singing all our favorite songs -- Camp Garaywa favorites of mine and now her's -- and though I was trying to get her to sleep, she began to sing along with me. So there we were at one o'clock in the morning singing camp songs of praise with an almost frantic undertone as we tried not to imagine what the morning might hold.

I asked her today if she remembered that. She did. It was a precious moment between us. Not something we planned. Not something I insisted on. Just a sweet moment where I did the only thing I could think to do to calm my daughter and myself. I sang praises.

So much has passed between now and then. Horrible blood draws -- many many blood draws -- and an MRI that showed the abscess in her ankle; and emergency surgery. There was the horrible realization that this awful infection had already reached her blood stream and she was sicker than we even knew. And then the night when we thought we were home free and she spiked a 104.6 fever instead having to be packed in ice as we worked to lower her temperature so that she would not have to go to the Intensive Care Unit.

Benjamin started college Wednesday. Cate came home from the hospital Friday afternoon. We moved Mason to Millsaps Friday morning. We moved Claire to Mississippi College Saturday morning.

Saying good-bye from her hospital bed.

And today, as we drove sweet Cate to her first day of fourth grade a week late, I thanked God. I thanked God for her hospitalization. I thanked God for the fact that much of our to-do list is still undone. I thanked Him that the parts that got done ONLY got done thanks to grandmothers who drove down to help out; and precious friends who brought clothes over and let Claire pick; sweet cousins who baked and cooked and held down the fort with my recovering girl while I moved college kids in. I thanked God for brand new friends who brought meals, for brand new teachers and headmasters and school chaplains who dropped everything and came to see Cate in the  hospital; I thanked God for old precious friends who stopped mid-activities to sit with us as we waited on test results and then again when the fever spiked and we were scared to death. I thanked God for the rally of prayer warriors near and far through Facebook friends and friends of friends!

And I thanked God that I didn't focus on the busy of the week. I didn't focus on the lists, lists, and lists of lasts. But rather, in our crisis, I was able to recognize that my precious family will always be one that does what needs to be done. We will rally and flex and change our schedules. We will insist as my sweet Claire did that a cute headboard is not the most important thing -- time together is far far more important. And we will hold on tight as the ride is rarely what we expect.

Today, as my crew are off in the world doing their thing I am trusting them to the one that promises:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6

I hate to admit it but this was an important lesson for me. I have been in charge for the last few years. I ran the calendar -- I taught my four in our little home school, I planned their days, I planned their times off, I planned and planned and planned. And last week I learned that my days of planning need to be placed aside.

Oh, I might never understand the crazy that was our week last week. But if learned anything in the madness, it is that I need to let go and trust. So today, I thank God for reminding me to trust in Him to lead and guide and direct the paths of my three college students this year and of my precious Little Red. 

Carol - The Blessings Counter