Monday, November 12, 2007

Family Matters & The Heart of a Father Update

Dear Friends of the Heart:

This last week was bittersweet. The bitter came in the form of a phone call at ten minutes 'til one Thursday morning. It was my sister-in-law. My husband's brother, Jack, was in the hospital suffering from a massive heart attack. We didn't know if he'd make it.

By 6:30 a.m. Jack had undergone 2 cardiac caths. He was stabilized and at a different hospital than where he'd started out. Things were looking up for Jack. Frank flew out later Thursday morning to be with him and our sister-in-law Lee.

The sweet part also happened on Thursday. My mother, two aunts and one uncle were visiting my cousin in Waco from Georgia and I was to go to Waco with Alex for lunch. I called to tell them that we'd had hardly any sleep and I was going to be a little bit late. The rest of the late morning and afternoon were spent visiting with my mother, Aunt Guyla, Aunt Paula and Uncle Otis.

Thursday afternoon Alex and I drove back to Temple so we could help out at Joey's swim meet. It was a good meet, although the much bigger team from a much bigger city romped our small team. :-( Still, the kids swam well and made some improvements.

Friday my family came to visit me in Temple. We went to lunch with my father and grandmother. What could have been an awkward event went well. I'm so glad to see my mother and father can be together without animosity. Joey and Megan (my sister's daughter) will be graduating next year and it would be nice if they could both be present for those special occasions.

On Friday night Joey and I left for a swim meet in College Station. This was a huge meet of 499 swimmers from all over (mostly central and south) Texas. Our team only brought 6 boys and 7 girls. Our boys finished 6th beating out much bigger teams! Joey got two best times and his relays helped earn the boys some good points. It was fun to watch Joey and his team do so well. Landry, our only diver, is one of Joey's best friends and I was happy to see him do well in the diving -- especially since this was the first big meet for him to attend and compete in as a diver.

We didn't get home until close to 1 a.m. on Sunday. The weekend was half over. But there was still Robotics to do! The X-Bots came over and worked very hard on their missions for a while before taking a break. During the break I talked to the boys about what they were doing and how to talk to judges about how they were interacting, changing responsibilities for missions, programs and building arms and attachments, and strategizing on the best way for their robot to earn the most points. It was an interesting meeting.

Coach Cristy and I also went over their homework from last week and reminded them about the field trip we're taking on Tuesday to the Families in Crisis center in order to continue working on their community service/robotics project. We got a lot done in 2 hours!

Then it was on to McGregor. This is a small town near Gatesville and not far from Hewitt (where my cousin lives) and Temple (where I live). We went to a restaurant called Luigi's which had wonderful food and excellent service. I was impressed.

It was the first time for me to meet my cousin Michelle as an adult. I had met her as a little girl, but that was many years ago. I also had the opportunity to meet her husband Ray. They both seemed very nice, but we didn't have much of a chance to talk because of the sheer number of us at the restaurant and the fact that my family was at one end of the line of tables and my cousin was at the other end. Still, we managed a little bit of conversation and I gave Michelle my card, so we might get together in the future.

Frank didn't get home until midnight on Friday and he had to pick up Alex from my dad's house. Saturday they went to Merit Badge College at Baylor University. We kept up with each other -- and Jack's progress -- thanks to our cell phones. My sisters-in-law (Susan and Karen) were also driving back home to Texas. We had a lot to keep up with and worry about. I know Frank and I both felt so much better on Sunday when we knew everyone was home safe and sound.

After Merit Badge College, Frank dropped Alex off at home and he went on to Scott & White to compete at the Toastmasters International Division Level Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest. Frank represented our Toastmasters club, Texas Stars Toastmasters, and did a fine job, although he went over time by 6 seconds and didn't bring home a trophy.

It looks like Jack and Alex may be able to compare scars someday. Today they did one of a series of 2 MRIs to determine when Jack can undergo open-heart surgery. Thanks to what Alex has been through, I understand a lot of what Jack is going through right now. I never expected so much information to be the same (between pediatrics -- especially since Alex was an infant -- and adult cardiology). The nice thing about that was that when my s-i-ls had questions, and they couldn't reach Frank, they could talk to me and I could explain what they were curious about. I always reminded them that I'm just a mom, not a nurse or a doctor, but when I told Frank about our conversations, he told me I did a good job explaining things. :-) That made me feel a lot better. I hate thinking I know just enough to mess things up!

So with all of these family matters going on, it's difficult to find time to work on The Heart of a Father; however, Dad made time this week to completely finish Chapter 1! Frank is writing the connecting material for the book and he sent Dad what he had written. Dad then completed the line and copy editing and feels the first chapter is complete. I still need to give it my stamp of approval and we still have to run it by all of the authors, but it's much closer to being complete than it ever has before! It's very exciting to see the book coming together.

We were trying to do a chapter a week, but things might have to be delayed a bit. Daddy is having eye surgery this week and he may be out of commission for a few days -- as will I since I'm going to help take care of him. It's a pity we don't have unlimited hours to work on finishing the book without interruptions, but that's just not the way life goes.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week. It's going to be another big swimming week for Joey and me. On Thursday we leave for TISCA in Corpus Christi. This is one of the biggest high school meets Joey will take part in. This time they'll have their whole team together and their relays should be a bit different. It should be an exciting meet. I plan to be back in time for Robotics on Sunday.

Meanwhile Frank and Alex will be attending Merit Badge College on Saturday to finish up Alex's merit badges as he strives to become an Eagle Scout. He still has a couple of years to go, but he is working very hard toward that goal.

When I get back from being out of town, I am hopeful we'll have Chapter 2 done. I'll keep you all posted on how that progresses.


Anna Jaworski

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