When a person has been through a series of traumatic events, the person wants to protect herself from the next one- be prepared for it so perhaps the hit won’t hurt as much, or at least so she can be prepared for it and know what to do. I’m a Specialist at Being Prepared For The Worst. “Expect the worst, so when it happens, you’re ready, and if it doesn’t, you’re pleasantly surprised” are words I live by. Himself hated that, he thought I was the most extreme of pessimists, but I call it realism. I don’t think there’s one single thing wrong with being prepared for the worst. It has worked for me several times, not the least of which being Himself’s untimely demise.
And now, with #3 and Family’s house fire, being (somewhat) mentally prepared for Whatever Disaster Looms Ahead has meant an ability to do what I can for them- which, to be honest, isn’t much beyond emotional support at the moment, but I am also seeing #3 react with that same sort of behavior- digging in immediately and figuring out what to do, rather than standing around in a hand-flapping panic and having no clue, waiting on someone else to solve the problems. I’m proud of him. It is also (selfishly) nice to see one of my kids responding in a way I would in that sort of crisis. It means that I didn’t just incubate those kids, but actually have had a real impact on who they’ve become as adult. Which, I recognize, is a totally self centered way to be, but there it is anyway.
The community in Alabama continues to amaze me with their response and help. The generosity has been astonishing and heartwarming and all those things. When you’re standing around, watching everything you own go up in flames and smoke, it is natural to wonder just what on EARTH you’re going to do…where will you sleep, what will you wear, how are you going to pay for anything? Replacing the wardrobes of 3 people, buying furniture, what about those steel toed rubber-soled boots he has to wear to work? Those aren’t something you can just go pick up at Goodwill. Oh no what about diapers for the Punkin? How do you prioritize whether to buy steel toed boots or hay for the goats? So much was going through their minds and every last thought was written right on the surface. And then…the people showed up. Complete strangers, absolutely anonymous, sticking envelopes full of money and gift cards in their hands. Friends setting up Go Fund Me pages and churches organizing donations….Someone showed up with bales of hay and bags of animal food. Someone else offered appliances for their new place, when it gets set up. A brand new pair of shoes for Fine Wife. Toys for Grandpunkin. It won’t be so hard after all.
#3 has a friend who’s house burned several years ago. While I am not happy his house burned, I am profoundly thankful he’s in #3’s life and can guide him through the process. “You’ll have to swallow your pride and accept the gifts” he told #3. “Don’t be too good to take anything that’s offered”. He knows #3 enough to know he needs to hear that, probably more than once.
It’s too early to know what they’re going to do heading forward. If I’ve learned anything from losing Himself, and the shock of it, it’s that moving forward is necessary. Take some time to wrap your mind around what happened, then plow on. The Fine Wife will return to work today, and that will be a blessed way to think about something else for a while, and cuddle some critters (she’s a vet tech). #3 will be at work as well, but knowing him, his mind will be on figuring out a way to get a roof over their heads, tut suite. Currently they’re staying with her parents, thankfully they have room for everyone. But, y’know, staying with one’s parents, no matter how comfortably, isn’t the same as being in your own place where you can walk around in your unders, give your spouse a personal squeeze, or generally let your hair down entirely. So, here’s hoping a solution happens that is satisfactory and expeditious.