Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Football

NECC is happening, and I am going this year!

As the date for NECC approached, I kept having this empty feeling. I couldn't really put my finger on it. The closer it came, the stranger I felt.

Earlier this week, I was running with my dog and thinking about how lucky I have been this year to be able to go to NECC. I looked up in the sky and saw a meteorite cross the sky and burn up. It was an odd coincidence, but really underlined my good fortune.

Last year NECC was held in San Antonio. I led virtual tours of the Alamo and followed the happenings there very closely.

I decided then that I wanted to go to NECC this year because it is going to be in D.C. and that is pretty close to me in Virginia Beach. No plan, I just decided I was going.

Strangely, things started to fall into place. I applied for some money to pay for a conference of my choosing with my school system. Not really sure if my name would be pulled out of the hat, I really didn't put much hope in getting the money. Somehow my name was pulled! I am pretty sure that my selection had nothing to do with the fact that on the application I wrote that I was willing to buy beverages for my bosses who attend the conference. But it didn't hurt either, and now my hotel room is covered for my stay in D.C.

Early in this school year I became involved with VSTE in Second Life. I had no idea that this association could help me to go to NECC, but what do you know? My conference fee was taken care of by this wonderful organization.

Things have really come together, and in a great way for me, but I just couldn't shake the odd sensation that something was missing. Finally, it came into focus. I was going to miss my family. How could I have not seen that sooner? As excited as I have been about going to NECC, I was going to miss my little family unit.

I have tried not to make a big fuss over this trip, even though for me it is a pretty big deal. Calvin, my oldest child at 11, will be going to Australia for 15 days and I won't get to see him off because I will be in Washington. I have convinced myself that he will be fine and that worrying about him is silly. But he is always going to be my baby and he will be on the other side of the world.

Thinking about it now, I can't remember being away from my family for longer than 3 days- ever.

I sat down with the kids on Thursday before I left and went over the details of my plans. I explained how long I was going to be away and counted off the days on my fingers. Savannah surprised me by jumping up and said, ”Hold on.”

She ran to the garage and rummaged around in there for a few minutes. Soon she came out holding a football. She sat back down beside me and plopped the ball in my lap.

“Here. Take this with you, Daddy.”
“What is this for, baby?”
“In case you miss us, you can hug the football.”
How did she know I needed that?

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