Sunday, August 23, 2009

43 and Counting

Happy Birthday to me!! I turn 43 tomorrow, and while I am not particularly disturbed by growing another year older, I admit I certainly don't feel young any longer. Arthritis in my hip, obvious need for reading glasses which are a pain in the neck to tote around, the stray gray hair here and there are all signs of my ever aging body.

I am fortunate enough to be having an extended celebration of sorts...nothing over-the-top but lots of thoughtful little things happened over the past week. On Monday I had helped plan a get together with about 50 of our church family for our visiting friends as well as to celebrate the birthdays of 2 of our members who were just turning 60 years old. Little did I know as I was helping plan for others, I was also being included in the celebration with a cake and a beautiful hand made gift! Some friends had pulled a fast one on me and as I was at our church council meeting one evening, they got all our kids together (theirs and ours) and created a lovely and long-lasting very special bouquet for me. Their thoughtfulness and creativity touched me deeply, and it was perhaps the very best gift I have ever received. I love the non-LaJoy kids included almost as much as I do my own, and it was a really sweet gesture from their mom's as well.

You know, this is the stuff that a good life is made of. Not the grand gifts, not the huge parties (although my 40th was a great surprise for me!!), but simply knowing that others love you and relishing their expression of that love. For me, that is all I have ever wanted in love and be loved. Nothing else compares, and I feel incredibly blessed to have friendships with others who openly express their love and affection for others, who will go out of their way to say "I love you!".

That being said, I have to admit publicly that I am AWFUL about remembering special days. It is something I do not like about myself, that I am not organized or thoughtful enough to keep track of my friends' birthdays, etc. If reminded I love planning birthdays and surprises, but I fail in many ways in terms of being that thoughtful someone who always sends a card, etc. I can only hope that I am forgiven, and that I show my affection throughout the year enough that it makes up for being remiss in other areas.

This evening we were invited to dinner at our friends house, and I am looking forward to visiting and catching up. Dominick and Joshie made a birthday cake for me to take over to their house, and I received a rough cut wind chime from Dominick that he had custom made which has crosses on it and has the most beautiful sound I think I have ever heard from a wind chime. I can't wait to hang it up on our patio and hear it's lovely tinkle in the evening. The boys pitched in together and treated me to a gift card to Target to buy some perfume which I have not had for maybe 3 or 4 years. I will get some "smell good stuff", as Joshie calls it!

But I guess the best birthday gift I received was the email earlier this week that our dossier was finally moving. Amazing what a lift that has given my spirit, and how energized I feel. List upon list is being created in my mind, and I have finally allowed my thoughts to drift to what our first moments together as a family will be like. I am trying to envision a newly decorated bedroom, a new life as a mom of five, a new way of being family. It is nice to feel "unstuck" as I enter my 43rd year...and I hope it remains that way for the remainder of the process. 2 years + has been spent in Limboland, and I think that is about enough!

I have a lot on my schedule this next 3 weeks or so, which might help the time pass more quickly. Lots of ministry homework, a trip to Chicago for a check up and another chance to be with our friends, a school field trip, planning for the new year of Scouts, volunteering in class for all 3 boys, and maybe...just maybe...time to read a book or two late at night when the house grows quiet. Yea...right...I doubt it but I can dream, right??? Hahaha!

One thing that I find kind of hilarious right now is that my own mother is going through the adoption process as well for the first time. She has decided the time is right to get a cat to keep her company, and she is working through a group who provides foster homes for cats until they are adopted. We were joking on the phone today about her having to be interviewed, sign a contract, find a cat through an online photolisting, etc. The only thing she doesn't have to do is get an FBI background check!!

We are finally all settled in after our friends departure after spending time camping, staying up late and playing games together. Although the majority of our summer was a rough one with illness running rampant, we ended on a high note. The kids are happy in their classes and each has a really terrific teacher this year. It seems like every year I am surprised at the level of talent in our children's classrooms, and how dedicated the teachers truly are. This isn't a public "suck up" as none of them reads this blog, it is just an observation. There are so many negative comments about public education, and parents tend to scream "foul" when they are concerned about their child's education. Often it is NOT the teachers at all, as they have a daily struggle to teach children in their classrooms who come to them ill prepared to work at grade level, who are not getting the necessary support at home, and who many times are dealing with emotional issues that are far beyond the reach of the ordinary classroom teacher. I, for one, think our kids' teachers have been phenomenal and have nary a complaint. I am looking forward to being in the classroom a lot this year volunteering!

I realize this has been a bit of a rambling post, unlike the norm. Just a lot of odds and ends to share I guess, and my mind is actually rambling quite a bit so that is what you will get! Hahaha! Below are some photos of the boys taken on our camping trip. I realize that much of the time what I share or otherwise...are not of interest to the vast majority of you. I think you are here more for the adoption story, the journey we have been on and the journey we are hopefully soon to take. But this blog also serves as a diary of sorts for our family, documenting our adventures and our daily life for the kids to one day look back on and enjoy. I think I realized more fully the significance of what I share here just yesterday when the boys were looking for a particular photo on a cupboard which happened to have several years worth of all the pictures I have which were not digitally created and were taken with actual film (remember those days???). They spent over an hour with a couple hundred photos spread across the floor, exclaiming "I remember that!" and "Look how cute you were!" as they viewed all of them. It reminded me that what I blog about and the photos I place here are more for them than for anyone else, and one day they will get a real kick out of reliving our life here on the blog. It is honestly what keeps me blogging, imagining them reading this one day with big grins on their faces as they relive the important and not so important moments of our life together.

These pictures were not taken by me, and perhaps that makes them a little more special. I surprised myself and never broke out my camera the entire trip...I just relaxed and enjoyed taking long walks and visiting. As I edited some of these photos which were taken by my friend, I realized what a gift it is to have someone else who obviously looks through the viewfinder with the same love for my kids as I feel when photographing hers. It comes through in the photos I think, in the facial expression captured which also tickled her as much as it would me.


Stephanie and Gary said...

Hi Cindy -- Happy birthday to you! Thanks for writing on my blog - I think I used to be a follower of your story but ever since an old computer crashed, I no longer had the list of all the blogs I followed. I am very thankful you wrote as I remember your adorable boys -- how handsome they are. I look forward to reaquainting myself with your story as from a brief look, it looks like you are going back for daughters?! Congratulations! Yes, we do plan on taking our daughters on trip number one, possibly trip two as well but we won't have a caregiver with us then. My brother will be traveling with us on the first trip. So looks like you are taking your sons as well, I'd love to know your thoughts and what your travel timeframe is ... looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. My email is StephUSA at gmail dot com if you'd like to write to me as well and we can carry on with more details. Again, thanks for writing!!

Stephanie and Gary said...

Btw, I absolutely love your invitation and opening statement to your family's blog. So true, reading the blogs of others has absolutely guided me well on this amazing journey. I love how you use this blog as a "love letter" and a lesson of faith in how you built your family. So beautifully stated!! Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

Hope you have a wonderful and fabulous birthday! Sounds like you've already gotten the best part of birthdays--people making you feel special. That birthday bouquet is precious!

Hilary Marquis said...

Happy Birthday, Cindy!!!

Fioleta said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great day (or days) and the year will follow in the same positive way.

Lindsay said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Kristen said...

Happy Birthday Cindy!



Anonymous said...

In the year ahead,

May your life, your heart, your dining room table, your van, and your bedrooms soon be filled to overflowing.


Peggy in Virginia

Bob; Carrie DeLille said...

Happy birthday, my friend. Oh to be young like you again.

Maureen said...

Happy birthday! Hope it was a wonderful day. I'm glad other people made it a special day/week for you.