Sunday, February 09, 2014

1300 Posts

1300 posts have chronicled the life of the LaJoy Family.

1300 posts over the course of 8 years.  I've slacked the last year or so, with fewer posts, but still faithfully more than one a week.

That's a lot of sharing we've done.  That's 3 children added to the family.  That's our 25th anniversary in there somewhere.  That's Dominick's 50th birthday this week.

That's a lot of heartache, hard work, love, sacrifice, changes and challenges...all contained within the 1300 posts about a single, ordinary family.

Lately, I seem to be having a harder time writing.  I am not sure why.  Maybe it is because change looms before us, life is a little harder at the moment and I don't feel like sitting down to write it out because it forces me to dwell on things that are not as positive. Maybe it is because the kids are growing older and there are fewer cutesy moments to write about, though certainly plenty of deep ones.  Part of it is being busy daily and not having the emotional "ooomph" by the end of the day to sit down and write.  A lot of it is, I am sure, because we are basically a very boring, settled family who prefers less drama and more peace.  I know we are less than entertaining for most people, as we are predictable, and not just a little dull.  Finally, well, for now at least.  We all like it that way, even if it is not exactly others' cup o' tea.

This weekend, as material was mentally gathering for a 1301st post, we had an ER visit with Dominick who was diagnosed with cellulitis across his cheeks and nose bringing on an antibiotic IV.  We are so grateful we were able to talk him into going to the ER.  He is very Old School, and it took my posting to Facebook and receiving several posts encouraging us not to ignore it for him to give in and agree to go.

We had to go to the emotional ER tonight with Olesya, which was really all of us sitting in the living room talking quietly as we encouraged her to be more open with the entire family.  She is the one child I have yet to really, really reach.  We love one another, very much, but she has a wall up that I have failed to help her chip away at so it can eventually crumble.  Oh, I've tried, over and over again, but her self-esteem is such that I have come to accept that it just might not ever happen.  However, tonight we saw a little that I might be able to wiggle my way through.

Everyone shared about how they feel she is the one in our family no one knows well, that it wasn't just Mom.  We asked why she felt she wasn't safe, asked if we had done something to make her feel that way, and she broke down sobbing.  Her past has effected her entire soul so much.  She questions her intelligence because of her disability with math...yesterday, despite having her math facts totally memorized, she said that 10-3 was 8.  She is able to muscle through math, understanding concepts momentarily, but her brain is like a sieve when it comes to math and it just doesn't hold on to or visualize numbers at all.

The bigger problem, we learned tonight, was that in Poludino, the orphanage where she was alone without Angela for 3 years, she was constantly picked on and made fun of because of her stutter.  She explained that she had few friends, and was the butt of jokes all the time.  Through her tears, she said there are times she wants to say things to us, but she can't get it out so she gives up.  Her stuttering problem goes through phases, sometimes it is really bad, and others you hardly notice it.  It appears random.  Some who know her have never noticed it, but we at home see it at its worst, and it is frustrating for her...but I sense that what was worse for her was admitting that she had been been bullied quite a bit.  She was embarrassed, and she said that she knew when she was younger everyone thought she was dumb.  I know we were told she almost went to an orphanage for delayed kids, but other than in math and logical thinking, a skill many adults even struggle with, she is very bright and has learned language skills incredibly fast.  She is generally well organized, too.

Four years later, it still doesn't feel safe enough.  She told us tonight that she had never shared those things before, and she didn't know why it was so hard to talk about her feelings or opinions.  She suffers, I know she does.  We all assured her that we love her, and would never make fun of her, and she said, "Oh, I know is just that I learned how to act one way so everyone would leave me alone, and it is almost like I don't know how to be the real me anymore...because this isn't really the real me, and Mom is totally right.  But its like I hear those kids making fun of me all the time, even though I know my brothers and sister would never do that."  Each of the kids shared about times when they felt frustrated and struggled over learning challenges or not fitting in, and they were surprisingly honest.  Matthew shared about crying often over being smart but having writing that looked like a 3rd grader...a low performing 3rd grader.  He said, "I must have cried 20 times or more, because I couldn't fix it and didn't know what was wrong.  It's hard to admit when you can't do something well that is easy for everyone else."  One by one, each encouraged Olesya by sharing about their own shortcomings, as did I.

It was a couple of hours of intimate sharing of hearts.  Of course post 1301 would have to include that which makes us who we and very, very imperfect.  No one left the room, no one acted bored, everyone let Olesya cry as she needed, and take her time to say what she could.  She doesn't have emotional language that is well developed.  We keep working on it, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.  We still have so far to go, but maybe tonight was a baby step in the right direction.  She came to me for a big hug, and said, "I feel better than I have in a long time.  I'm sorry mom, I want to be close to you and everyone else.  I need to work at it, I have the best family and I do trust you.  Will you remind me about this conversation the next time you see me pulling away? I really want to fix this, I want to be a good mom someday, too, and I know I can't be if I don't make sure I feel OK about myself."  I think that is progress.  Awareness is half the battle.

Dominick's 50th birthday was this week, and he was not in a place where he wanted to celebrate it all that much.  We had a family cake, and went out to lunch in Grand Junction before my allergist appointment, which is a treat for us, but that was all we both really felt up to doing right now. I wanted to do something special for him for his big birthday, but things are just too much up in the air right now, and a big party or a weekend away was not in the cards.  He deserves so much, my uncomplaining, hard working, responsible, loving, loyal, amazing man.  It is hard to believe he is 50 years old...that WE are growing older.  It seems like yesterday that the 15 year old boy with the beautiful smile and wavy brown hair was holding my hand.  That same beautiful smile is still there, wrinkles accompanying it, and little hair as a crown these days.  I wish I could give him a real rest, a real vacation where he could lay around and do nothing for days on end, maybe on a beach somewhere.  That is probably not going to be something we can ever do, but I wish it for him all the same.

I will be taking 5 different medications for a bit to get my asthma under control, as it is flaring up worse than ever.  Then I will be doing sublingual immunotherapy, which is drops under the tongue, instead of allergy injections.  I will be only the third allergy patient on the Western Slope of Colorado to try this new therapy, which is supposed to be almost as effective as the more expensive injections.  My testing was pretty intense, and my reactions were far worse than in years past...I had welts that were 40-70 mm in diameter from each of the various allergens they tested me for.  You know it is bad when the nurses walk in the room to begin measuring and you hear audible gasps, followed by an exclamation of, "Oh honey, we'll do this as quick as we can so we can put something on it!".  We are hopeful that doing this long term, if we can afford it, will eventually get my lungs in better shape.

I need to blog more often, I need to make time for it.  1300 posts tells a story I haven't recorded anywhere else.  I am so glad I have done this much for the kids, and wish blogs had been around as a popular form much earlier.  I am not a scrapbooker, nor a movie taker, but I have tried my best to share the heart of what makes us a family here.  I've at least made a faithful attempt to share some of the sacred moments as they occurred, and to capture events in pixelated form so that photos are kept somewhere other than an old shoe box.  Along the way to hitting those 1300 posts, our family has met some wonderful people, and our lives have been enriched in numerous ways by the connections we have made via the internet.

But this blog is really for us.  I know others have followed along, sometimes agreeing with things, other times probably screaming at the screen in complete horror and disagreement.  It doesn't really matter.  What matters is this is an authentic diary of our life.  Yes, there are things I have left out, but I have included enough that it tells our story reasonably, honestly, and hopefully with some level of depth.  It has been a story of love and loss, of death and rebirth, of faith, trust and hope...always, always hope.

1300 posts.  Closing in on a decade.  What will the next 1300 posts bring?  Will I reach 2600 posts, or will I eventually stop recording this life of ours?

I hope I continue, I hope I never turn my back on this old friend of mine.  But more importantly, I hope that the bonds of love that draw us together grow ever stronger, and eventually encircle many others...those who bear our last name and those who just carry the knowledge of our love around with them.  The next 1300 posts will surely recount stories of first tentative steps out into the world, the decisions about career paths, first loves, and more.  There will be a lot more to overcome, there will hopefully be more adventures together, there is Europe to continue to save that laundry change for!  I have no idea if we can ever really do it, but we have the savings account started with the $360ish dollars in laundry change as seed money.  It may be all that ever ends up in that account, but at least we will have all had the dream for a little bit, even if it never comes true.

One thing I can thankfully guarantee...there will be no lack of love in the next 1300 posts.  That may be corny as all get out, but I don't really care.  As Angela is so fond of pointing out, we are "Limited Edition", so we can be as corny as we want to be!

1 comment:

schnitzelbank said...

I felt a lot like Oleysa growing up. I sometimes still feel like this now. I grew up in a terribly abusive home. As a result, I was the "weird" kid, and was ridiculed at school, too. I just want to say there's hope. I'm not too "weird" now (lol). I hear that "tapping" therapy with positive affirmations works well. I guess I sorta do this on my own with good self-care and saying positive things to myself. Here's a website about it, maybe Olesya will let you try.