Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Delightful Surprise!

I know many of you saw this photo and read about it on Facebook already, but please indulge me.  My mom lives in California and is not on Facebook, so I have to share here or she won't be able to see it (She also hasn't figured out how to download a photo file! Hahah!  Sorry Mom to "out you", love you!)

In a strange little twist of fate, I was able to attend Matt's Civil Air Patrol Christmas party last night. I had originally been scheduled to sing with the Del Rose Chorus at local nursing homes, and had committed to that long before Matt's party was scheduled, so I felt I must honor that commitment and miss the party.  Matt totally understood, and the rest of the family was going to attend without me.  At the last minute, our singing was canceled, and I was able to go to the party after all.

I am so glad I did!

Unbeknownst to any of us, Matthew was named Cadet of the Year!  I had my camera there, and was able to get a couple of photos:


Chief Master Sergeant LaJoy


Mr. Serious is cracking a major grin!

As I also shared on Facebook, we discovered last night that Matthew had also been awarded Cadet of the Month a couple of times this year, but he had never told us.  When I asked him why he hadn't said anything, he told me that he didn't think it was a big deal, and that he didn't feel the need to brag or anything.  His Squadron leader was quite complimentary of Matt, speaking of his dedication to being at every event with one exception, and how hard he has worked this past year.  When we were talking in the car on the way home, and all of us were congratulating him, he said, "That's what a man does, he does what he says he is going to do."

We are, of course, proud of him, but I am most delighted with the qualities he is exhibiting at such a young age...well...actually...all the kids.  What it took me a long time to get was that awards don't seem to have much of an impact on any of our kids.  I am not sure why.  It is why Scouts had no appeal, it is why ribbons won for artwork are enjoyed and appreciated but quickly tucked away.  Honestly, at first it bothered me a bit, because I wanted to make sure the kids had things that would motivate them to work towards goals, to feel a sense of accomplishment.  What I really didn't "get" was that the journey itself was enough of a reward, and I was busy trying to force a sort of false reward in place of the real deal.  When I finally figured it out, I relaxed and saw they were more internally motivated than perhaps I ever was as a kid.  I am not sure at all why or how, but in preparation for adult life, it is a terrific thing.  As adults, we seldom get regular kudos, and are often left to just get the job done.  

It was very cute to sit at the table with Josh, Angela and Olesya sitting nearby, and as the Squadron Leader was describing the cadet who won the award without yet revealing it, all three of them were whispering excitedly, "That's Matthew...it has to be Matt!".  When his name was called out, there was a soft little whoop of delight among them.  How awesome it is to see them so proud of each other, be it volleyball cheering each other on, or something like this.

Mr. Steve, Matt's beloved friend, was there to celebrate with us.  This man has gone to every meeting with Matthew for 2 1/2 years.  He has volunteered to help with the group, and he has been a quiet but steady presence. Here he is with the rest of the crew:


One wonderful adopted Grandpa!
(Aren't Olesya's new glasses cute?)

We have been blessed ten times over with amazing, kind, generous friends who fill in the gap for family who is not present.  I don't know what we'd do without their encouragement and support, and I know our kids would be different people without them.  There is an array of wisdom, experience, talents, and perspectives that surrounds our entire family. Rock solid people who would be there on a moment's notice, who have walked the journey with us, come alongside to assist and doled out hugs and care.  There have been moments recently when we have quietly questioned whether we need to be considering looking elsewhere for long term stable employment for Dominick, but the thought of leaving our family here is almost impossible to fathom.  They are our secret Santas, our teachers, our thoughtful companions.  These people are folks we can never, ever repay in any way for their kindness and generous hearts.  We try, in the small ways we can, to pay it forward.  We offer love and complete acceptance in return.  Often that feels sorely lacking in exchange for how much has been put into us.

As I had dear friends reach out to us today, as I do almost every day in one form or another with a kind word, a hug, a little advice, I know Christmas comes for us every single day of the year.  After all, love is there every single day.  That is all we need.


1 comment:

Holly said...

Congratulations to Matt.

I have tried several times over a long period of time to comment on your blog and have not managed it. I think I've always tried on mobile devices and have had problems with the moderation. But I wanted to let you know what a blessing your blog has been (and I hope will continue to be) for me. I've read for a couple of years. My DS is 11, also adopted, also homeschooled, and we face many of the same challenges and joys. There have been so many times when you have given me heart.

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

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