Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Lazy Saturday Morning Post

Today is a lazy Saturday morning...something we don't have many of.  The kids all stayed up late last night...Matthew creating with Legos, and the kids getting a dose of TV after we all lounged around talking about nothing important at all, really.  The entire family spent the earlier part of the evening in Ridgway so that everyone could experience the fun we had at the drum circle. It was the last night of classes locally,so we didn't want Matthew, Dominick and Olesya to miss out.

It was worth it just to politely observe the other folks who attended, and to say that we stuck out like a sore thumb (or several of them!) is a bit of an understatement.  This was very much a hippie sort of throwback crowd, more than one head covered in dreadlocks was present, as it had a definite Rastafarian feel to it.  Let's just say it had none of the lower middle class cowboy flavor that is usually the norm for our area.  It was part of what made the experience so much fun! To many of our blog readers who live in more metropolitan areas, it may be hard to picture the lack of diversity we have in rural Colorado, but we have to work hard to seek out experiences that  provide us with opportunities to be around a wide variety of people.  We have to work hard to expose the kids to diverse lifestyles and cultures.  That is one reason we try to get away from Montrose as often as we possibly can.  We love living here, don't get me wrong, but there is a Big Ol' World out is just really far away from here!  We have met far too many young people here whose worldviews are very, very limited, and we want the kids to have a better understanding of the larger world outside of Montrose.

As we are settling solidly into fall, we are quite glad we jumped on some projects early in the season, as suddenly we have some unexpected twists and turns to our schedule.  If we hadn't gotten the work done around the house that we needed to get done, it might have had to wait until spring!  I will be heading out to California for two weeks to be with my mom as she has cataract surgery, and Dominick has decided to relocate his auto detailing shop, so we have a lot to do to get ready for my departure and Dominick's big move.

And like clockwork, Joshie is going through his usual Fall Anxiety, though it is a little lower level than in years past.  This time of year triggers something inside him, most likely related to his adoption and abandonment, and he becomes more insecure and a little clingy.  Blankie, who had almost disappeared, now is with him constantly, and he will likely be sleeping on our bedroom floor for the next couple of weeks...and probably the entire time I am gone.  It actually caught me a little off guard this year, as the past few months have brought about great changes in Joshua.  You know how you look at your child one day and realize he or she has just taken a leap in maturity?  That is what is happening with him.  He has always, always been this adorable mix of little old man and vulnerable child.  It is hard to explain unless you have spent time with him, but he is very mature for his age and yet is not a rough and tumble boy in the usual sense.  Of course, all three boys are a bit different that way and are not, but Josh has this gentle tender side and his siblings are all very protective of him even though they rarely think of him being younger.  He is too easily able to keep up with them for them to treat him as "the baby", and yet there is this unwritten understanding that Josh is somehow a little different, a little more vulnerable.  They have all witnessed his unexplained fears, and perhaps because they all come from the same background they are sensitive to how he experienced his loss of birth parents differently than they all did.  Josh also has earned the respect of every one of his brothers and sisters with his serious diligence in school, and it is sweet to a mom's heart to watch them as they give him a little more time to write answers to questions, or encourage him when something is more of a challenge for him.

But he is growing up, there can be no doubt.  He will be ten at the end of December, and he is shining as he grows and wordlessly takes on more responsibility.  Most often it is he who keeps the boys' laundry moving, reminds Kenny often of his morning rituals that are often forgotten, or as he did this morning takes it upon himself to tackle some cleaning project without being asked. I slept in and woke to discover Josh had cleaned the kitchen and run the dishwasher even though no adult was around to ask him to help, all because "It's no big deal, Mom, it was dirty and I was here, so I cleaned it.  It's what you and Dad do, isn't it?", and off he went to watch Spiderman.

What I love most about our kids is their wonderful, giving hearts.  Recently, they helped Miss Lael and her art group set up  display boards for their annual art show.  Last year they helped set up, and each earned $5 for their labor. This year they helped, but as they left there was a hushed conversation that no one had planned anything for payment.  I quietly explained it to the kids, and was touched when each smiled and collectively said "We don't care, we'd be here anyway to help! This was fun!", and the really did enjoy working with the largely older crowd, being taken seriously by adults, hauling things in from their trailer and using drills and ladders.  We happily left and when we got in the car I thanked the kids for their immediate and gracious reactions. Angela added, "We aren't helping to get paid, this is our new fall tradition!" and Matthew said "Mom, it doesn't matter, I think they would have a really hard time without some help and it would take a lot longer for them without us."  What a truly special surprise it was a week later to find a very special and unexpected thank you card in the mail along with a check for $75 for the kids!  They were so excited and grateful.  They all split it and were able to buy a little something special.  Angela got a new water bottle, Matthew a Lego book (big surprise), Olesya, Josh and Kenny have yet to spend it as they are savoring it and having a hard time deciding what to get.

We are trying to instill in the kids a strong belief in volunteerism as one key to a happy life.  I know that the older I became, the clearer it was that thinking of others rather than focusing just on myself helped me be much happier.  The kids actually already do several things, such as participating in our church's highway clean up every spring and fall for the past 6 or 7 years, picking up trash and recycling each week the past two years after our weekly "Main in Motion" event in town, working at church on other maintenance issues, helping with the rummage sale, and assisting friends when they need help.  I am wanting to formalize this a bit more for them as they grow older, and we will be looking for ways to volunteer more in our community this year once we get past the holidays.  It is also a wonderful way for the kids to get to know others in our little city, and to participate in meaningful ways where they can see their efforts are truly needed.  As I was checking out volunteer opportunities I stumbled upon this web site:  It is the Presidential Service Awards program, which was designed to promote a spirit of volunteerism.  We can have each of the kids earn awards for volunteer service, the awards look like this:

All the kids thought this was pretty cool, and it is my hope that if we make it a focus and set a goal, but the time we achieve that long term goal the idea of service will be ingrained in them permanently, and have a lasting impact on them their entire lives.

Well, I guess it is time to put a halt to one of my last lazy Saturday mornings for awhile and get moving.  It sure feels good to do nothing for even one morning!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will certainly nominate Team LaJoy for the Presidential Service Award. How can I do that?

Miss Lael