Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sudden Death

This will be the short version of tonight... will write more later.

My sister called me this evening with the horrible news that she had found her husband (John) unconscious. The EMTs were trying to revive him.... I arrived about 20 minutes later, and 2 minutes after that he was pronounced dead on their living room floor. We suspect a heart attack. He was 41 - would have been 42 on the 23rd of this month. They were married for almost 9 years.

So sudden. So unexpected. Truly sad. We don't know if he had accepted Jesus. Scott and I have been ministering to him for the past year or so. He has had many questions about Jesus, and recently told us that he started reading the Bible. I found one Bible on the back of their toilet, and another in his night stand drawer - on top of all the other books there (and with no dust... must likely because he was reading it frequently). He was obviously in pursuit. We just pray that the moments leading up to his last breath, that the Holy Spirit came to him and he fell willingly into the arms of Jesus. He had enough torment in this life to last an eternity, so we do so pray that this was the first day that he truly felt peace.

About 40 minutes later, Scott arrived (the token pastor). I have never been so grateful to see him. As soon as I saw him, I cried and whispered, "I appreciate you."

Life is incredibly fleeting. My sister kissed John goodbye this morning on her way to work. That was the last she spoke to him. And now he's gone.

I don't know what I would do if I lost Scott. I don't give a flying rat's butt about life insurance and wills and all that other stuff (although, yes, we have been very responsible in that area - prepared for the most unexpected) but I would give all that I have if I knew I could keep my Scobby by my side. He is my other half.

As I watched my sister mourn the news that "there was nothing more we could do", she held her heart with her hand as she sobbed.... I wondered if a piece of her was dying too. I'm sure it was. She said, "He drove me crazy... But I loved him so much...."

I pray that God would use these tragic circumstances to minister to her heart. I am confident that she will get through this. She's an incredible survivor. But I do so pray that on the other side of this, there will be great joy. May it be so.

Now, go love on your husband or your wife, and your children, and your loved ones. You never know when they will take their last breath.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For the love of kids

When it comes to your kids, you will never in your life be more judgmental of other people and/or places. It all started with the writing of the Will. Then, we realized we needed to make sure we had life insurance for both of us... then, what would happen if we both died at the same time in some tragic accident? What would happen to Jeffrey?

And so, there it went... It has taken almost a year to get the Wills drawn up, and the trust fund(s) set up for Jeffrey in the event that Scott and I come to an untimely demise at the same time. Jeffrey will be well taken care of, and in good, trusting hands. There will be essentially a team of folks ensuring that he is cared for. The decisions we had to make actually weren't that difficult. It will be the communicating of those decisions that will be hard. See... when it comes to family, everyone loves him, and of course would want to care for him in the event that we are unable. But, as parents, it takes more than just love to raise a child. (Those of you with kids know what I'm taking about.) You have to think about the home they would be in... the environment... the extended families... the marriages... the friends... the jobs... their spiritual well-being... among SO many other things. When you birth a child, you always automatically think that no one can mother (or father) as good as you. So when it comes to who should take over the role of mother/father, mentor, spiritual leader, teacher and nurturer, you have to think who could do it as good, if not better, than I?

Tough stuff....

What is slightly easier is determining who will care for my child(ren) when I'm working. We have become increasingly annoyed and dissatisfied with Jeffrey's current daycare. I could give a very long list, starting with the fact the director and I do not get along. We have a very different philosophy of child development. I originally thought, well, she's the expert. But... after so many months, I've come to learn that my instincts were correct and all the other childcare/day school orgs that we've researched feel the same way. All the kids from 6 week to 2 years are in the same class. That's nuts. Seriously. There are so many developmental stages that infants and toddlers go through. They don't learn at the same rate. They don't learn the same things at the same time. They are completely different in every way. Why they put these groups together is truly beyond me.

When Jeffrey started in daycare, he was 4 months old, and the youngest in his classroom. All the "big" kids would come to investigate, as children do. And the first thing they would do is stick their fingers in his eyes. He's been bulldozed by tricycles, pushed into tables, tripped, stomped, smacked, punched. Lovely. I began to wonder why these kids aren't separated. The infants should be separate from the crawlers (and new walkers - "wobblers"), and the toddlers from the infants and wobblers. There. Simple.

Vacations were (and ARE) an issue. Inclement weather closures were an issue. The paying of the staff during inclement weather closures was an issue (i.e., they make the parents pay even though the center is closed, but they don't pay their staff unless they want to use their PTO...). Total bull crap from an HR standpoint. I'm just sayin'. Timing of our drop off and pick up were an issue. The lack of physical activity was an issue. (No outdoor play structure to climb on. Just a flat grassy/muddy area. Weee! Fun.) The lack of age-specific curriculum was an issue.

Oh, grrrrr.

So... finally, we decided to look for a new day school. We discovered
Salem Christian Day School - a daycare facility run by the Nazarene church here in town. We went on a tour, and we immediately could see (and smell) a HUGE difference (for the better) in their classrooms, the children and the teachers. First, it was SO clean! Not even a hint of poopy diaper smell. Second, the kids were all separated by age and developmental stage. Third, they have twice daily outdoor play time in a nice large area with a couple of play structures. Fourth, they have a huge gym where they have an independent PE teacher teach age-specific sports and group games. AWESOME! Fifth, since it's a Christian school, the kids go to chapel once a week. The entire curriculum is age-specific, and includes Biblical principles for each month. They learn Bible songs and stories... Sixth, the class sizes are much smaller. Seventh, when we visited each classroom, there was such order and contentment amongst the children! Even in the infant room, only 1 of the 5 was sleeping, and the rest were perfectly content. Not a peep from a one of them. No screaming. No crying. No fussing. We could tell they were well loved. In the wobbler and toddler rooms, all the kids were getting along, and playing nicely with one another. Amazing. (So unlike our current place... Hardly a moment goes by, save nap time, when there isn't more than 1 child throwing a massive tantrum.) Ahhhhh, such peace.

The staff is amazing. So helpful and excited that we were there, and eager to answer our questions.

And they just happen to have a spot available for Jeffrey.

So.... since the whole vacation snafu was an issue anyway, we decided that we would just put in our two week notice and withdraw Jeffrey from
SCDC, take our two week vacation at the end of May (sans any school) and enroll him in Salem Christian Day School beginning June 2nd. Perfect.

I sent in our notice to the director via email yesterday. Never an acknowledgement. Not a word of thanks. Nothing. We definitely made the right decision.

I chatted with his teachers this morning - an emotional conversation. We love Tammie and Janice. They have loved on Jeffrey so tenderly since he enrolled 18 months ago. They love him, and he loves them. Tammie got teary eyed, which totally got me crying, which made her cry even harder, which made Janice teary-eyed. So sweet.

When it comes to Jeffrey's care (and the care of our soon-to-be), we have to follow our instincts and make the right decision for their development and soul-care (as well as our budget). I think we made the right decision.

We'll do what we can to make the transition easier for him. I'll go with him for the first couple of days for the first couple of hours each day to help him gain trust and confidence in his new teachers. But I have every confidence that they will welcome him and help that transition go smoothly. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to enroll him in a Christian school at such an early age.