Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Good Things in Life

I tip toed in quietly tonight, arriving late after a stressful school board meeting.  It was 11 degrees outside, and though the lights were off, the house was cozy and warm.  Opening the bedroom door I see Josh pop up from his pallet laid out carefully on the floor beside my bed.  "Hi Mommy!" he grins broadly as 11:00 PM marks the time.  "I was waiting for you to get home safe!"  I give him a thank you hug, and he is asleep in less than five minutes.

One of the good things in life.

Side by side with Kenny this afternoon, working on his reading program with him, having dreaded this first go round with it since being off three weeks.  Often, a weekend is all it takes to find ourselves in our oh-so-usual two-steps-forward-one-back mode.  We test his letter sounds and digraphs.  He looks at me and I look at him as he remembers every single one I ask him.  Hmmm.  We move on to new words with multiple syllables, as he practices breaking them down.  One by one, he reads them perfectly without hesitation.  His expressive eyebrow raises as he looks sideways at me, each of us hesitant to say a word.  We go on to reading nonsense words, he misses only two of 15 and corrects himself even though it takes 3 or 4 times each to get it right.  Most of the time he misses 12 of 15.  Wow!  Next come sentences, which he reads with ease.  Finally, we both dare to look at one another with excitement as I tell him, "Kenny, by Jove, I think you've got it!  I don't think you've ever read this well even after being off a weekend, let alone a whole week!"  He laughs out loud and responds, "I know...it must be a good day and we should enjoy it!  We know that a few days from now it will be downhill and will stay there a week or two like always, but I sure like this!" and we laugh.  I remind him, "But remember, every time you do slip backwards a bit, we still remain a little further ahead than you did when you started."  He puts his hand on mine and says, "What would I do without you, Mom? You never quit on me.  I am so glad you think I am smart.  Maybe some day I will really be as smart as you think I am...and maybe for more than just one day!".

One of the good things in life.

An arduous Church Council meeting ahead of me Sunday afternoon, and the kids are all fortunate enough to be going bowling with some of the adults from church, which will keep them occupied while I am looking at budgets and discussing church business.  Just before I get ready to sit down and settle in, I check my purse and there I find a pink post-it note from my lovely Olesya.  "Mom, I hope you have a fun time. I wish you were going boiling with us.  We love you!" and not only was I touched, but it was just the sort of reminder not to take it all too seriously as I imagined my children all "boiling" together.  How my heart needed that little love note.

One of the good things in life.

My wonderful Italian life partner asleep snoring beside me, ready to get up at 3:30 AM on his day off (as if he ever really has a day off) to go deliver a car he detailed to a customer in Telluride tomorrow morning.  He gets up that early so he can catch a ride back down with the transit company rather than having me have to take time away from teaching to go drive an hour and a half away to retrieve him.  After all these years, I know there are moments I take him for granted, just as I know he does me...but it is only for a moment.  Distracted by life's challenges and busyness, it is hard to remain alert to the gift of a marriage I have.  There are moments though, particularly when I see the easy warmth our sons show others, the lack of discomfort with showing affection so openly when I am incredibly grateful I married a Big Ol' Brash Italian who knows how to hug, who can gossip with the girls with the best of 'em, and whose undying loyalty and commitment to his family is reflected every single day in every thing he does.  Like staying awake to make sure I made it home tonight at 11:00 PM when he has to get up at that awful hour tomorrow.

One of the good things in life.

Reading her anthology this morning, Angela and I work our way through a Vietnamese fable with a terrific and not-so-subtle lesson about the value of having a family you can trust.  We snuggle side by side on the couch, playing footsie with our well socked feet in the early morning chill of the house.  She reads so fluently these days, and this intuitive daughter of mine loves a multi-layered story as much as I do. Her new math book awaits, calling to her as she  feels the gentle pressure to catch up and perhaps even move a grade ahead in the subject not hindered by learning a new language.  Her quite confidence, her determination, her emotional courage all make me so proud to call her my daughter.  Even sweeter, she so often declares how proud she is that I am her mom, that like her, she perceives me as tough, strong and willing to establish firm boundaries...something she appreciates even more as she grows older and her insight into human behavior allows her to see what happens with young women when boundaries are wishy washy, and lives fall to ruin.  What she doesn't know is that under the exterior that can be firm when necessary, I can so easily be moved to tears when those sock feet of hers wiggle their way toward mine.

One of the good things in life.

Suffering with back pain from unknowingly twisting just a tad bit wrong, an old condition flares up with gusto as I walk stiff and not quite upright.  Oh, how I feel my age!  Oh, how my family genetics are rapidly catching up with me as arthritis riddled joints are beginning to really ache in those first morning hours before the Motrin kicks in!  Matthew, now a smidgen taller than I comes up to me, puts his arm around my shoulder and asks, "So Mom, how's the back doin'?" as we joke about being the Sore Back Twins.  Yesterday his was causing him considerable pain, today it is my turn.  Another appointment at Shriner's is in order soon, as this recent episode is worse than it has been for him in a long while.  Earlier this week, we huddled over a computer screen looking at high school literature options.  High School!  It can't be!! Not yet!  We confer, I email, and soon we have permission for him to attend a homeschool show with me in March where I will be working, and we can review a curriculum in person before dropping several hundred dollars on it.  I ask him if he would be willing to help me set up and take down the booth, he smiles and says "Sure!"...and we both gleefully look forward to a road trip together, a time when we can play OUR music, talk about OUR subjects, and he can be my trusted co-pilot as I wind my way to Loveland.

One of the good things in life.

The hard stuff still remains. it probably won't get any easier and in fact, is looking like it will actually get tougher.  Bills pile up, laundry piles up, challenges pile up.  It never all seems to get done, it always seems I am stretched too thin, and just when you think you may be getting a handle on it, something comes along and swipes the rug out from underneath you.

But the good things in life...man, they make up for so, so much.  Looking down at sleeping Joshie right now, whose tender little heart is wrapped in his Superman Snuggie while his beloved blankie sits askew atop his head, I know without a doubt that every single moment when it is hard is worth it.

It makes me wonder...how much would I miss if it actually were easy?  How much less aware would I be?  How much less grateful might I be?  How much more do I value all we have because it was so darned hard?  

The good things in life.  The bad things in life.  They all make up a real life.  But what do we choose to focus on?  What sticks and what slides off?  What distracts from the most important stuff?

The good things in life, so often they don't appear to be all that important...until you don't have them.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joy for Kenny!!!!

Curious about what Lit. program you are looking at for Matthew.

Teresa F.

Cindy LaJoy said...

Teresa, we are thinking of using Sonlight for pieces and parts for literature. The history focus would be terrific for Matt's interests.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this comment will post as I often have trouble with your blog but hope so. I love reading about your sweetheart kids and how you all are such upbeat, thoughtful, helpful, loving people! I have a lot of issues in my life, mostly financial as well as loneliness so I love going to happy, upbeat blogs like yours. About your arthritis....have you thought about trying extra strength tylenol. My mother and I get so much relief from our arthritis pain using it. Motrin (ibuprofen) is tough on the kidneys, tylenol is tough on the liver....but we have so much more luck with the arthritis strength, extra strength tylenol. Try it! My mother who has been a nurse for fifty years has all of her friends using it and me, too!! Love you and your sweet family!! Lindsey from Atlanta

Anonymous said...

Here is a motto I love:

"The best things in life are not things."

This blog entry is a great example of what has true and lasting value.

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. "

1 Corinthians 13

Peggy in Virginia

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