Saturday, December 05, 2015

Failed...and Yet...Not

I have failed again.

Failed to keep up with the blog, failed to document with enough photos, failed to record the moments I wish I had recorded before they receded from memory.

What did I succeed at?

Being present, living in the moment, focusing on what really matters, loving those with me.

So many Mommy Bloggers have monetized and strategized, they have turned their considerable photography gifts and writing talents into real careers.  They have parlayed their online family journals into speaking gigs, book deals, and more.  Once upon a time, a long time ago, it was suggested by many that I do the same.  It never felt right to me, and now that I am older and a tad bit wiser, I better understand why.  Aside from the fact that I have no fashion sense and would make a terrible public speaker, don't have enough snarky tone to be humorous, and my skills with a camera are limited, at best, I didn't want to turn my family into a profit center.

My main goal initially with the blog was merely to share some pictures and thoughts online of our adoption trip to bring Kenny home.  My mom could never download a photo, being less techie, and so I thought  blog would make it easy for her to see our travel adventures and catch the first glimpse of our new son.

Over time, I realized lots of adoptive moms were reading the blog to learn what might come next for them, to gain insight into what life is like, what challenges might be faced by them, and recognizing how many people had shared their stories with us and how that had helped prior to adoption, I just kept writing with the hope that maybe it would help someone else and could be my little way of paying it forward.

Then, Bad Mommy realized I had never created more than one photo album, and so I knew I had better keep at the blog so the kids had at least something someday to look back on! Hahaha!  This is it, Baby!

The past couple of weeks, I have been reminded that sometimes, the documenting is the least important thing to do, and the living is the most important thing to enter into.  You miss out on the little moments when you are too worried about capturing every image on digital celluloid, and it is hard for others to connect with you when the distraction of mental note taking for blog posts occurs.

Embarking on a new life direction with the purchase of The House of Spirits this past spring, our travel and exploration was limited this year, and likely will be for awhile.  However, adventures are all around us if we are willing to say "Yes" to opportunities God puts before us, and we LaJoy's are a "Yes" kind of family.  Adventures at Home can prove to be just as exciting as those further afield, and this Thanksgiving we took a chance and said "Yes" to inviting new friends for the entire week.  Anticipation built on both sides of the US as those in Massachussetts were filled with as much excitement and perhaps trepidation as those in Colorado were.  After all, the moms were dear friends, a blessing that has enriched my life in countless ways.  Would spouses, sons and daughters connect well?  Daughters had already tested the waters last spring, and that was a "win"...but asking folks to come stay with a family of 7 for a week when you don't know them is quite a commitment.
Sometimes, saying "Yes" even with trepidation leads you down extraordinary paths.  It is a little ironic that so many of the most important people in my life God brought to me via long distance connections, with no face to face meetings before I fell in love... Dominick and the CB radio, the kids and first photos view online, Candi and her family via dear Miss Mary's Facebook introduction.  Saying "Yes", in this case, led to a beautiful and memorable happy holiday for all, and no doubt to a deep family connection that will extend through the years, something both families have yearned for.
We crammed a lot of connecting into a few short days, and though I stole a few photos and took a few my own, the images captured missed the most important moments.  Those moments were kept intentionally undocumented as the awareness of being in the sacred was high and the need to hold them close to the heart was important.

Upon arrival, there was pizza and a few minutes of stilted conversation, and much to our delight, Kenny quickly had us all relaxed as he named it and in his best announcer voice said, "OK, now is the time for the awkward pauses..." and within minutes, conversation and gentle teasing flowed...and pizza was devoured by four teenaged boys and three teen girls who proved they could keep up.  Off to play video games in the Boy Cave, Matt and Billy were soon huddling together over computer screens, side by side explaining things to one another, and soon the entire room was playing online together, laughter and good natured teasing filling the room.  The girls went off and did their girl thing, and the four adults found so much in common over conversation as we began to really get to know one another.

And gradually, two families began the gentle process of falling in love, because that is what happens when God is present and hearts are open.  The days took on a perfect pace, as we ventured from home to see a bit of the Colorado National Monument and the boys took off hiking, took the 5 minute Grand Tour of Montrose, visited the store so Dominick could show off his "baby", went to the movies together compliments of Pam, and enjoyed an evening in frigid temps at a fun park where the entire group raced go karts, played laser tag, and had a blast.

Sunset at the Colorado National Monument...twins in pink!

Dad and his girls, how they love one another!
And how he mercilessly teases them!!

Can you tell he is Italian?
Naw...not at all ;-)

Candi and Pam, staying warm.

Every once in awhile I am struck by what a blessing it is that these two have had one another through some extraordinarily difficult times.  I am also struck by how different my own life would be without the soft, feminine, caring presence they added to our family.

Three Moms

The moments I recall most though, are the ones not pictured here...the late night conversations with Candi and I after early rising spouses had headed off to bed and in which one or more of the kids draped themselves across chairs and couches to quietly talk about futures, relationships, and what is important in the world.  The evening spent in front of the fire with everyone in the living room doing nothing more than listening and singing along with Pentatonix Christmas music as bean bags were filled with ever growing bodies.  The kind and guiding conversation around the table with the adults as Kenny's needs as an adult were talked about from a legal standpoint.  

And oh the merriment...the giggling...the releasing of school and work tensions as the adults sat and said "Shhh..." as we then listened with wide grins to chattering and relaxed laughter coming from the TV room as all 7 of the kids gathered to play Wii, and voices that sound only as an adolescent male's can mingled with the high pitched squeals of teen girls.  It is something that neither family has had enough of due to our particular life circumstances, and while it might be an every day occurrence for some, in our home this was a Blessing of Note.  Each of these families has struggled through extraordinarily difficult times, each has battled to exist, each has God front and center...and each recognizes the sacred when it is before us.  

There was a little birthday surprise as we celebrated the three December babies while we were all together:

December birthdays...Pam, Joshie, and Christi

Did the laughter ever stop?

Totally posed pic, they were good sports! Haha!

Thanksgiving Day was all we could have hoped for, with little food prep involved because much had already been done the night before, and a lot of laying around, visiting and playing games.  It wasn't fancy or perfectly decorated.  Our placemats were a drawing that Christi made of our families, which I blew up and laminated.  We had paper napkins, were thrilled with our Dollar Store serving bowls and glasses, and we went around the table sharing one silly thing we were thankful for, and one serious thing we were thankful for... some evoked a tear here and there, some had us chuckling.

And it was good.  It was so good.

A open hearts, to love shared, to risks taken.  
A family created through listening to the Spirit.
God is so good.

1 comment:

Thandi said...

Thank you for sharing!