If there's one good thing that comes from tragedy, it's family that pulls together & stays banded through tough times & good. I know not all families are like this & that adversity sometimes tears families apart but that has not been the case in our family.
Last month, when my dad first got sick, he & my bonus mom Marie were on their way back from visiting my bonus sisters up in the panhandle (north FL for those not familiar) so when he was hospitalized they were 2 hours from home & about that, maybe a little more from my bonus sisters' place. It was about 2 hours from my sister's & 3 hours from us. Everyone did what they had to though & was there. We got hotel rooms, took turns watching all the kids & spent what time we could with my dad & with Marie, my bonus mom. If someone had to return home, we made sure someone else was still going to be there.
Traveling with kids is challenging enough, our boys are old pros bit every age comes with a new set of needs & a new challenge. Hotels are even more difficult primarily due to the lack of space to move around in & the boys NEED to move around, lol... The mall playground was our saving grace & the Gainesville Mall has hands down the best mall playground we've been to!
Well this last time my dad collapsed was a little different as far as location & even though some of us were even further away everyone did what they could to be there! I packed us up & had us on the road in 1.5 hours, not bad for a family of 5 plus 3 pets, 1 of which didn't end up making the trip. Anyways, one by one we all arrived, unloading pets at Dad & Marie's house & making our way to the hospital. When it was all said & done, there were 8 adults & 6 kids sleeping in my parents a 3 bedroom/2 bath house. 2 of my aunts stayed at a hotel & my sister & her family traveled back & forth from Jax & spent a couple nights in a hotel too. We were able to take the kids to see my dad this time (I'm still not sure how or why kids were allowed in this ICU) & we all felt it was important for them to see their grandpa one last time. The boys still whisper "Grandpa's sleeping" which is what we told the boys he was doing in the hospital trying to get well.
It's not often that all 4 of us girls are together at once or even more importantly all 8 grandchildren, so I wanted to get pictures done of the kids (the adults were all too puffy eyed from crying & my youngest bonus sister was still in India) So that Friday after lunch we rounded everyone up without Marie knowing & went for pictures. I wish we would have had time to line up my friend Kareen to do them, she did the boys 2 years photos & will do their 3 year too but time was of the essence so we went to a same day, no appointment necessary photo lab.
I love it, the kids were so busy & posing all 8 was hysterical! But I think we got a great picture for Grandma to cherish forever!
Even though we were all suffering & grieving in our own ways that week, we stuck together & took care of each other. FAMILY, even though most of us not through blood. I can't speak for everyone but I know I was quite impressed by us :) We made sure no one was alone & no one carries any burden alone, be it medical decisions for my dad or meals. We somehow even managed to find ways to laugh & enjoy our time together. I love that the boys got to spend an entire week with 3 of their cousins! I love watching the interactions & dynamics between them all. And even after a few fights over toys & maybe even rubbing each other the wrong way a time a two, the kids all hugged & kissed at the end of the week, until they see each other again...
This last week my bonus mom called, she needed a break & wanted to get together. She & my youngest bonus sister drove up to Jacksonville & the boys & I drove down & we all met up with my sister at the zoo. 4 adults, 6 boys ages 2-5 & baby Nadia. We had a good day seeing the animals & spending some time together outdoors.