No, not homeward bound.
That is the term for children who are too ill to go to school every day.
In our school district, a letter is required from the child's doctor. A letter that says in no uncertain terms that this child is unable to attend school due to his/her illness or infirmity.
It frightened me, the ease with which that letter was obtained. No argument from the doctor. No questioning her ability to sit, her level of pain. Instead, the doctor hung up the phone, dictated the letter, and less than 12 hours later, it was in my hands.
The counselor at the school is a remarkable woman. Her goal is, always has been, to help Twinks however she can. So that Twinks can go to school in as much comfort as is possible. Endlessly patient, she has adjusted Twinks schedule, worked with teachers and administration, and continues to encourage Twinks to work toward our goal of full-time days at school.
Now the counselor quietly takes the letter, clips it to a bundle of forms, lays it carefully into a folder that I surmise must have Twinks name on it. She has a small, sad smile - and promises to send out a teacher that loves cats and gerbils. We talk for a few moments more; does Twinks have everything she needs at home? Is there anything in her school locker that we need? She walks with me to the door; the secretaries and the school principal offer hugs and cheery messages for The Twinkie.
I walk into our home, seeing it suddenly through fresh eyes. We will need to reorganize the study area that we have created for The Twinkie to accommodate the presence of the teacher who will come to our house three days a week. Three hours a week - the rest of the time, we will be working "independently", on our own, between visits.
Our bright, vibrant girl is fading before our eyes. Body racked by pain, her legs weak, she is waiting for the diagnosis on Thursday. We feel suspended in time until then; our life once again divided artificially by an appointment. "After Thursday, we can plan your birthday party better, because we'll know what is going to happen." "After Thursday, we will know more, and we can decide about that." "Let's wait and see what the doctor says on Thursday, OK?" It is a terrible feeling, to want Thursday to come, so that you can move on with your life - and to dread it at the same time - because you are terrified of what the doctor might say.
Homebound is where we are now. It is what we are.
It is not what we will always be.