Three (3) days...Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These were the days classes were scheduled...It's a compressed course with a lot of online content and five days in class over two weekends.
Seems easy enough! BUT it was SOOoSosooO hard!...
As usual I had planned for everyone to be taken care of and the details all sorted out. For those that don't follow me yet, that's two children that still need some supervision, and one foreign exchange university student that needs to be included in meals. The plan for Friday was simple(?). I would wake up early (5-6am) to make sure I was packed and ready, send everyone off to school by 9am (lunches and school supplies and a kiss for the littles) then make sure I had everything and off to school for 9:30. For this day I had planned to take it easy after school. My littlest little would go for a sleep over at her friends and to kick off the weekend (FRIDAY!!) we would all have pizza together. That's me, my 2 littles, one exchange student, and my daughter's friend and her mother.
This is how it really went down:
Wake 5:56 am (late, but on time)
6:30am I am out of the shower and try to assemble clothes that won't make me out to be the dowdy mom in the class. Its not too hard, but maybe i should have thought about this yesterday? So many other things were on my mind then including a babysitter and a friend's art show several hours away. I seem to get myself assembled in a socially acceptable way, clean clothes a little makeup to hide the tired. This morning my oldest is moving like a slug...seriously kid!...I look her straight in the eye and BEG her to get moving. "I HAVE CLASS TODAY. It doesn't happen often, so get moving without my having to do everything for you!".
7:40am The slug gets out the door...the exchange student takes care of herself, and so one more little to go...'kiss, kiss, come on baby let's get you out the door!'
8:45 am...and now there is none. Yes it takes the whole time to get this little ready to go...
9:13am I better get going! Coffee, water, everything charged. Class starts 9:30 and I have to find parking. Lucky it's a 7 minute drive (or I like to think).
9:26am The parking attendant tells me the lot is full! So I pay for my day pass and off I go to the alternative lot. Its a bit of a walk and all up hill, but I've been working out, so I will make it. Maybe...
9:32 finally in class!
I am really enjoying my class. The intellectual conversations are stimulating. The people are great and I am finally feeling like I have a good grasp of the content. Today is actually Day three of in class work, and week five since content was released. My classmates and the teachers all make me feel like I have a fighting chance at doing really well even though it has been 17 years since I stepped on a campus.
Then it happens...
11:47am my phone on silent, so the screen lights up with a call...it's the school for my oldest. I am at the farthest corner of the classroom to get out, I answer the phone and say nothing, trying to sneak out without disrupting the class. "hello?..."
"Is this Corinne?" "yes...?", "It's the school nurse..." Chills run down my spine and my thoughts race, will it be an accident, something requiring a hospital, or are you just informing me of a scrape/bump...
"We've had your daughter on the bed in the room for a half hour now...She really didn't want to call because she knows you are in class today...but she is not doing very well..."
My heart sinks...
"Okay, I can't leave right now can you hold her for another hour so; I can leave class around the lunch hour?" ... "of, course, I will let her know you will be about an hour..."
As I sit in the hall, fondling my phone, panic sets in, and the fight begins. Do I pack everything up and head home for the day? Is there anyone in my life that can do the mothering for me?! She is old enough to be on her own, but can or should I really leave my sick little at home alone?! What am I going to do tomorrow or Sunday? Sunday will be fine as it's grandma, But Saturday she was to be alone for the most part with some check-ins throughout the day. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! Somebody please tell me. I only have these three days left of in-class work and now one of the littles is sick.
The thoughts race through my mind so quickly and I immediately set in motion a plan. I call in a team; I send out texts and IMs to several people. Asking my supports, will they help me check in on my sick little? I will settle her in to the comforts of home, but can they come around to check that she is stable and happy? It's so hard! The decision to leave her in her time of need breaks this mother's heart. I wish I could be there for every fever and stomach ache, cut, bruise, and kiss them all better. And to this point I have done a lot of that. But this class is important to our family as a whole. It will advance my knowledge, my dreams for my business. Contribute to our families success.
I return to class, feeling defeated. We are splitting into groups to do and exercise. I've got one hour...
The people I have lined up, their care is unmatched. These are the cream of the crop. But they are not her Mama. Really, I know that she is fine, its your standard run of the mill stomach ache stuff, and having them come to check on her is more for my peace of mind than littles. I know that I have done great mothering all along and the kids are trustworthy and responsible. They know exactly what to do until I get home, which totals to a very short time she was actually alone. None of this really matters in a Mother's heart. It breaks a little every time we can't do it all and make it all better.
Even if she hadn't got sick, I still had reservations about this whole adventure. Leaving my kids to tend to themselves even for that hour after school so I could go off to school was a tough decision. The doubts started long before the sickness arrived. The sick little just made it that much harder. Knowing I was going to have to give the duties to mother my sick little to several others over the course of the weekend, accentuated how much I was NOT doing for her.
She toughed it out. Even when she went out to the conservation area with the others for a walk and got stung by a wasp. And when she was sitting on our couch and threw up on my couch and shag carpet. In reality I know this was not a deal she is going to hate me for. She has apologized profusely for all the difficulty it has brought. She will get that opportunity many more times in the future. This was small in the grand scheme. But even the smallest heartbreak hurts. And with the independent parent the heartbreaks are a plenty...
Monday I will drown her with cuddles and love since it doesn't seem to be leaving soon...Lucky Mama!
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If you are short on answers to independent parent I am your woman. We have been an independent parent family for 8+ years with many trials and tribulations. My two littles have brought me many challenges, making me a solutions master!
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