I feel pretty strongly that there are lessons that I want my children to learn that will not be learned best in the school system. Some can be practiced there, but to really learn them I believe you need time, unplanned moments, and you need real life examples that aren't part of a "planned curriculum." Lessons about character, service, hard work, and life in general. Lessons that are only learned when you are actually living life. There's nothing like learning about life and death than from the real experience of loosing someone or something. There's nothing like learning how to work, then spending all day doing hard, back breaking physical work. There's nothing like learning about service than doing it, or having it being done to you. There are certain life issues that you would learn at school as well, more than you might in a home environment. But to me the important thing was what teaching happens during these life lessons.
There were times when my kids were in school dealing with hard issues. I didn't feel like I had adequate time to help them learn from it. I couldn't give them time needed between the few hours they were home and before they went to bed. Between homework, any after school activities, dinner, chores, baths and getting ready for bed, there were few opportunities to deal with the real issues of life. I wanted those teaching moments, that were short and fleeting. I wanted the opportunity and time to really help them work through them. I also wanted them to experience those magical moments that just happen, such as this one.
We had one of those life experiences this last weekend. It was a life experience that I've gone through before, but there always seems to be different lessons to learn. On Thursday I found out during an ultrasound at 16 weeks, that there was no heart beat. I had already felt that it was not going to be a good pregnancy, but that still never prepares you for the loss you feel, and the many emotions you'll go through. We hadn't told our kids yet that we were expecting, and so it was hard to explain "why I was crying" to them when I picked them up after the appointment. They had that instant excitement of mom being pregnant to the sad "oh" of realizing that the baby had died. They had an idea of what it meant since I had gone through 2 other ones, but they are still kids and not fully aware of what it entails. But what an opportunity for everyone to learn.
There's nothing like the moment later that evening, when I'm crying and Savannah puts her arm around me, hugs me and says. "Don't worry mom, Heavenly Father will make everything all right."
There's opportunities for priesthood blessings, to be comforted and blessed. To know that no matter what happens, we would be taken care of. Things went wrong with the miscarriage, I was hemorraging and after passing out a couple of times was taken to the ER via ambulance. Sitting and crying to my husband in the ER about how much I hate feeling like this. I hate being so weak and passing out. I hate the pain. I hate the fact that my body shuts down and they can't find an IV. I hate that an hour later, with sticks all over my arms they finally get one in so they can rush me into the operating room. I hate coming out of anesthesia, of just physcially feeling like crap, while emotionally being an absolute mess. I hate sitting there worrying about my children, because moms will just do that no matter how many times you tell them not worry about them. But despite all that I hate about the experience, there were many blessings that still came out of it. Many lessons learned. Moments where the Lord showed his tender mercies through people, his earthly angels.
I look back and started seeing his hand in it all. The phone call that was an answer to prayer, as we were desperately searching for someone to take the kids to a friends house. She called just in time, and got the kids just as Beau came back to the house and found me passed out. If he had taken them, and had been gone for too long, I could have been a lot worse. To also have had the knowledge from past miscarriages, that we could act quicker and get help faster. There was also the sister from our ward who happened to be one of my ER nurses. To just see a familiar face was such a welcome sight.
There were the people who immediately jumped at the chance to watch all of my kids, to come and spend the night with them while we stayed over night in the hospital. Dozens of people who called, emailed and stopped by, asking how things were going and offered to help. There have been so many meals brought, planned and unplanned from people showing they care. Family members who helped out, took kids, gave support from a distance and sent paper plates since they couldn't be here to help.
People who felt like they needed to just stop by and lighten my load, and brighten my spirit. People who were here just because I didn't want to be left alone. My visiting teacher and dear friend who showed up at the hospital just as my blood pressured dropped. I started passing out, was scared to death and didn't have Beau around. She held my hand and cried with me till I started pulling out of it. And just the love, dedication and service my husband alone has shown me. Who has willingly missed work, because I wasn't emotionally nor physically ready for him to leave me alone yet. Who is willing to come and be here just because I need him.
I have never felt so loved and so taken care of. Neither has my family. Last night Savannah told me before she went to bed. "Mom I feel like we are being treated like royalty. I feel funny, it doesn't seem right." She was experiencing for herself what it is like to let other people serve you, even when you may not feel like you deserve it. She was feeling it herself, after all the service and kindness she had been shown. She was learning what real service is about. It gave us the opportunity to talk about learning to let others serve us and making sure we do the same thing for others when they are in need of help.
They have also been learning for themselves what service means. We explained that physically my blood level is really low, and that I can't do very much at all. They are learning that they are going to have to help, chip in and serve mom so I can get better. They are realizing the need of being around family to help everyone heal during a time like this. They have spent a lot of time at other peoples houses and today expressed the desire to just want to be home with us. A need that I have too. To just have my children around, to see my many blessings, and help heal the loss I still feel. But realizing that sometimes we still need to do things we'd rather not do, to help to long term goal - getting mom better.
They are learning the real lessons. The vital lessons. The ones that are the whole purpose of this earth life. The lessons that help us become more like Christ. The lessons of how much God does love us, watches over us and helps us in times of need. The lessons of genuine service and love. That's not even counting the real science lessons they are learning too. What is a miscarriage? Why does it happen? How big was the baby? What did they do in surgery? Did it hurt? Why does it mean to go under? Why do you have bruises all over your arms? Why do they have these tubes hooked up to you? Why can't you do anything and how long will it take you to get better? Why do you need to take iron (supplements)? Why do you need to sleep so much? etc.
It's times like this that although difficult to manage, because I do homeschool, I would never trade for anything. The things they are learning right now are priceless.
If you'd like to read some other great blog posts about this same topic I really love these two by Diane Hopkins.