Whew! The Madhouse has been CRAZY lately. Well, crazier than usual anyway. Today marks the last Monday of the school year. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me is jumping for joy because I won’t have to drag the kids from their beds or
nag gently remind them to do their homework. The other part of me is dreading summer vacation because by day 3 the chorus of “I’m boooooooored. He’s bugging me. She’s in my room. He touched my stuff.” begins. Ah summer, thou art a cruel conundrum.
Back to the craziness I spoke of earlier. It all started last week. Sunday Rian and I were preparing for her Gr. 8 year-end trip to Ottawa; 72-hectic hours in our nation’s capital from Tuesday to Thursday. Mid-morning on Monday I received news the kids’ uncle had passed away (their father’s brother; he was 53). I knew the kids would take this hard. Not only is this the first death of someone they were close to, but Alexi has great anxiety regarding death. I knew I had to handle this situation carefully.
The first thing I decided was to not tell them, at least not right away. There was no way Rian was going to miss her trip. Not only was she totally psyched for it, but I had already paid the $500 fee for her to go (yeah, 500 smackers!! No way she wasn’t going.) I knew this news would ruin the trip for her. Plus I was going as her “one-on-one” caretaker (the school insisted that she have a “one-on-one worker”) and there was also no way I was going to tell Alexi that his uncle had passed away and then leave.
Rian and I left at 6am (unless you’re in the military that is just a nasty time to wake up) on Tuesday morning while mom and Alexi were still asleep. I called my former in-laws from Ottawa on Wednesday and learned that the memorial service was planned for Thursday. We were still in Ottawa until Thursday afternoon (I’m going to share about the Ottawa trip, but it deserves it’s own blog, with pictures). I tried not to feel guilty about missing the service while assuring the kids’ family that we would be up* in a few weeks. I think the kids should visit the mausoleum where their uncle’s ashes have been laid to rest and have a chance to mourn with their family. (*The kids’ family lives in North Bay, about 6 1/2 to 7 hours north of here. I’m not keen on doing the drive alone so I need time to find a co-pilot.)
Friday rolled around and I still hadn’t told the kids about their uncle. I was still humming and hawing about it when my friend dropped the kitten off. The kids were laughing and playing with him. They were having a huge debate over what to name him (neither of them liked Felix, the name he came with) when I had an “ah-ha” moment. I told the kids about their uncle’s passing while they were focused on the kitten’s cuteness (slightly underhanded, maybe; pure genius, absolutely!).
After a few tears were shed and comforted hugs were had I suggested they name the kitten after their uncle. They both agreed (I’m thinking of sending it to the world record people because I didn’t think that would ever happen).
Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the Madhouse – Cliff the kitten. His arrival was divinely timed of that I’m certain.