I have so much that I want to write about in regards to the conference. The tricky thing is finding the time to put down a few coherent words. If you want to read a really good overview of what the conference is about (and find out why I dedicate my time and money to VaHomeschoolers) check out Homeschool For Two's impressions.
I definitely want to write more about things leading up to the conference...a few things conspired to trigger a major anxiety attack (something that has been happening to me more frequently lately for some reason). For now, however, I will focus on "the icing on the cake."
Which was when I pulled into the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen and unpacked, only to find that while I had remembered all the boxes and books and other supplies I was supposed to bring down for the conference, I had forgotten one thing: my purse.
Which meant that I had no money. And no credit cards. And no check book.
I had managed to remember to bring my iPhone (we were listening to Huckleberry Finn on the way down, so I needed my phone for that). I also remembered my iPad (I was giving a session on apps and homeschooling for which my iPad was critical, so I had double checked and triple checked that I had it with me…if only I had decided to keep it in my purse, I would have been fine).
Luckily by that time, I had started to get a grip on my anxiety (or more truthfully, it had thankfully started abating once I had gotten down to Richmond.) So I had a little bit of breathing space to recognize the over-the-top ridiculousness of the situation and that there was absolutely nothing that I could do about the fact that my purse was sitting next to my kitchen hutch, 2 hours away. This realization at least made it possible for me to let go of trying to control the situation and realize that it was just something that was going to have to work out.
Of course, being the extrovert that I am (I process by talking with others), I started sharing with my friends about my plight...my kids had not eaten yet (I had planned on stopping on the trip down, but due to a variety of circumstances that did not happen), I had to do a projector check to make sure that the projector was going to play nicely with my iPad, I had to give a Beginning Homeschooling session in about 2 hours to 100+ people and I did not know how I was going to be able to check into the hotel without a credit card, much less get food for the weekend and cover all the other miscellaneous expenses for the weekend.
The first thing that became clear to me while talking with my friends was that I had nothing to worry about. Everyone I talked with offered me cash or to feed my kids or to cover my hotel. I had one friend who immediately opened her wallet and gave me $65 in cash (and later came back with an offer of more). Another friend gave me her "spare" credit card because she hated the idea of me being without one in case an emergency came up.
Then I got word that it looked like the hotel was trying to give away my room because for some unknown reason they thought that my reservation was for Thursday (not Friday) and they could not get hold of me to verify if I was coming in (they only had my home phone). This was another bit of sheer luck because the only reason that I found out was because a friend who was checking in happen to overhear the conversation at the front desk. Thankfully she did and I was able to contact them and let them know that yes, I was here and absolutely did need our room. Of course at that point, I had not figured out how to pay for it (though I had several offers from several friends).
Another stroke of luck was when I talked to a friend who said that her husband was coming down later that evening and did I want him to stop by my house and see if he could find my purse. This would only work if I could get hold of my pet sitter and see when he was going to be there...so I talked with the husband and sent an email to the sitter, but did not hold out too much hope (it looked like the husband was going to be leaving before my sitter got to the house). Not to mention I was worried as to how they would find my purse, since I often have trouble finding it myself. However, in another stroke of fate, there was a huge accident on I-95 which shut everything down and delayed my friend's husband from leaving. So around 7:30 I got a text from him with the message that he had my purse (and he even included a picture of it sitting in the back seat of his car).
Needless to say, everything worked out fine and I was only without my purse for one afternoon/evening. I also learned a terrific lesson that at some point you just have to let go and trust that everything will work out (I had also been worrying about getting the boys settled when I had so much to do...silly me, they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, had a blast and did not need me to do a thing). This was easier to do in this situation given that I was spending the weekend with my homeschool community, surrounded by friends. Of course they would not let me go hungry or homeless.
The truth is that this is the case with the rest of my life...I just have to remember it. And keep breathing.