I then called my folks and told them. My dad, in a bit of uncharacteristically rough vernacular said that “This scares me poopless.”. I chuckled a little and said “That’s funny, because it makes me want to tee.”. For some reason, that interplay of words still strikes me as funny.
They were visiting my brother in Virginia, but they offered to fly out, to do whatever they needed to. However, at the time there was nothing for them to do. I was not even sure what *I* was doing at that point.
Now, during this time, I was driving down a road that was posted for 55 mph. But for some reason that I cannot fathom, the two cars ahead of me were only going 45. Now one was a truck filled with roof trusses, but I assumed that we would go faster when they turned off. NO! EVERY car was going 45 mph THE WHOLE WAY HOME. And when I say the whole way home, I mean one slow car even turned down our street! I have never experienced that before in my life—no traffic to speak of, no weather, midday, and no reason to go 45 mph. I honestly wondered if perhaps I was just losing mental ground from the shock and was just imagining that cars were going that slowly. Was I going crazy?
What do I tell the kids? I had always maintained that honesty was the best policy, and I would not say “Oh daddy is fine…we are just spontaneously flying out to Seattle for a checkup.”. No, that would not do. I never lied about Santa, the tooth fairy, or the Easter bunny, I was not going to lie to them about something so important.
I walk into the house and, still mindful that his med evac plane could arrive at any moment, talked to the kids. I told them that daddy has a brain tumor, that we have to fly to Seattle to get it removed. I told them that I had to pack for daddy and that I needed them to help with the work. I told them to pack as if they were going to Seattle for a week, to clean the guinea pig cages, to clean the cat litter, and to start the laundry. I put on my best, encouraging, coaching/drill sargeant voice--upbeat and caring, but no-nonsense and brisk.
They were amazing, thank the Lord! It was as if the Lord kept all of us calm and relaxed. No tears, no hysterics. They were shocked, of course, but then jumped into action in the middle of the crisis. They were just as brisk and businesslike and upbeat as I had tried to be for them. They were incredible troopers.
Leaving them downstairs to get organized, I got the bag out for TWS's stuff and started packing. I soon realized that I put NINE pairs of gym shorts in there for him. Nine. Like he was going to go to the gym nine times after brain surgery. Plus I was going to rapidly run out of room! I removed some of the shorts, and raced around looking for the other clothing and books and electronics that he had requested.
Jen had not arrived by the time I was ready to leave. I hated leaving the kids alone at this time, but I had to get the stuff to TWS. They were doing well, though. I drove back to base.