Life is…

Be kinds to others for everybody is fighting some kind of battle…

Taken from Yahoo Images

 We probably heard that once or few times in our lifetime. I am no exception and not to the saying either.

This year has been interesting to say the least. It starts off very good. Everything seems to start falls into places and I’m happy.

Comes March.. late march is when we heard about Kalia hearing problem. We learned that our beautiful baby girl is hard –hearing.

At that time, I don’t ever recall hearing more devastating news in my life.

I was so overwhelm with grief and guilt – for whatever reason. It wasn’t a good time.

 April came then things are slowly getting better again, both of my parents are here! I’m so happy I get to be a child again.

I love waking up to the sound of my parents talking about stuff over their breakfast.

It’s such a fond childhood memory where I wake up to see my dad with the newspaper and his cup of coffee on the table

And my mom sitting next to him while putting on make-up commenting on the news…

It’s comforting…

 Then June came, my dad have to leaves. He needs to go back to Indonesia to tidy up some business deal.

We made plan of him returning back in the fall so I can shows him beautiful CO during the fall season    

.. and its Tyra’s birthday as well.

We have so much plan….

 Then July came.. exactly one month after I say good bye to him at the airport, I have to say good bye to him again,..

This time forever…

God decided that it’s time for my dad to come back home for good. Leaving us here grieving, wondering why…

 Now we’re in October.. how time flew…

I survive the first holiday without my dad.. another one is around the corner..

 Leaves are changing, air is crispier. I wish my dad can see how beautiful it is here now..

I started remembering the plan we made…   promises I made to him.. 

 Life is cruel…

 Many – many times I wish I go back to my childhood.. When the life is so care free.

Playing and playing and playing with my friends…

 Life is cruel..

Then I remember something… a saying from Hadist

I said to Allah, I hate life.

Allah replied, who said love life. Love me and life will be beautiful.

My dad

My dad (Ayah) pass away unexpended on Tuesday morning June 17th, 2012. He should not have died, he just text my mom few hrs. earlier, talking about the Ramadan preparation, taking my sister to work and how he’ll promise to pick my mom up from the airport on August 5th. Everything went so fast that night it seems blurry to me. I remember getting the news around 10:30pm, family and frantically trying to get hold of anybody back home.. then finally hear the truth after talking to my crying sister. I remember the pain, so unbearable, it actually physically hurt. I remember how my mom keeps on fainted the whole night… he should not have died… there are many plans left….

Here I am writing this memorial for my dad’s memory book and it shouldn’t be that way.  My dad should not have died on Tuesday morning July 17th 2012. He was 65 years old and although he’s been complaining a minor chest pain lately, he’s fine. Then this, he died of a heart attack… leaving us here.

Losing my Father is one of the most difficult things I have gone through.  As I am writing this today, I realize how fortunate I was to have him as my Father.  There are not words to express his influence in my life. Ayah is (was) a great dad and a loving husband. He is also a wonderful grandfather. There are so many wonderful stories I could tell you, but there won’t be enough pages in this books… wonderful memories he left us with… and that memory keep him alive inside me, my mom, my sister and my two little girls, and among all people that loves him just as much. As Tyra often remind me, “grandpa will always be here with us” as he point to her chest.

I learned from him the value of education and hard work. One main lesson he gave me is that how as a woman, I should have skills, I should have a degree, a career, so I don’t depend on men and therefore no man will ever took me for granted and valued me. I am who I am today is because of my parents, because of my dad… he is no saint by any means, he’s human who made mistake and learned from them, but now I know he did the best he could with what he had. In many ways he succeeded better than most.

Family, relative and friends have said to me over and over again, how my dad was a great man, loving, kind and generous. Most of them remember how much he loves his family, how much he loves my mom and us his girls. He passionate about the world and history, he loves to play the piano or organ and sings, he loves to dance, him and my mom took samba, cha cha and salsa lesson together and enjoy it. Recently he enjoys cooking and I’m fortunate that I got to taste that! He is also very passionate about God, about Allah and never stop teaching me small little pray to get me through the day and difficult time…

He always reminds me to trust God with His plan. Remind me to achieve more and yet to stay humble, he assures me that all will be okay at the end. Now here I am, still filled with sadness, grief, and little anger. I need to remember his words, his advises, and most of us trust God that all will be okay.

There’s a saying in Indonesia rough translation is: “how a person live their life will be reflected when he die.” Hundreds have come and pay their respect, many cries with my family, some even wish is should’ve been them instead of him…  my sister told me that till this day we have not spend one cents on his funeral or memorial services. Everything has somehow been provided for us by relatives and family friends. From the cemetery plot, memorial service expenses, food expense…  all has been taking care of.. Everybody loves my dad. My Dad loved us, worked hard for many years for us, was liked by many people, and loved God.

 My dad passing was very quickly – just what he always wanted, no pain, no suffering – expect for the one he left behind. As if he knew his days were numbered, one of his last text messages to my mom was:

“Many people told me I’m unlucky for not having boys to carry my name. On the contrary, I am the luckiest father and man in the world, both our daughters grew up to be respectful daughters who took care of me and spoils me. When I was in Denver Sendie spoils me and her and Pheng never stops show me a good time. Now I’m back home, Acha did the same. Always make sure I have all I need, especially my favorite food. I’m sure both girls turn out well because of you, because of your upbringing. Thank you my love for raising our daughters’ right. I know you will be in their great hands.”

I love you daddy and I miss you so much….  Thank you for everything, for being the greatest dad a daughter can ask for, the greatest grandfather for my two little girls…  for all the wonderful memories you left us with… Until the day we meet again…

Mother knows

I’m still not ready to talk about it more in details of what happen, but I wanted to share my story because I think it is important for mother’s out there to listen to yourself and seeks for comfort and support.                             

When our daughter Kalia was born, we were thrilled to have a beautiful baby girl. All of her test at birth showed normal results, as did the second one at the age of 7 months.

Kalia had always been a very happy and communicative baby. Then, as months passed, she improved all of her skills and developing as normal and baby possibly can. Even at her 1 year checkup, her pediatricians made comments on how she actually ahead. She masters some skills that normally mastered by a 18 month old baby if not older.

But later, at about the age of 18 months, she seemed to have fallen behind her peers as far as one of her skills were concerned. People around me always assure me that she’s fine and she will master that skills later on and baby develop at different rate and how I’m being paranoid. I heard this many – many times. Even from my husband.

Despite all that, I decided to have a special test done. My pediatrician, bless her heart, support me 100%. She told me to wait until Kalia is 2 but she did say, I shouldn’t ignore my instinct. Even though my husband kinda thinks it’s a waste of time at first, he supports me as well.

We did the test last Friday – I guess because it wasn’t really a medical reason and the test was done just based on instinct; it took us almost 1 month to get an appointment with the specialist, but we finally get in. As I hold her during the test, my heart slowly sink, I just knew that she blew it.

Even though I suspect it, both my husband and I were shocked by the results, it is different to suspect something then to actually hear and confirm it. : Fortunately, the doctor was very nice and professional. She immediately informed us of what the next steps should be. She immediately forwards the results to Kalia pediatrician, to different specialist and county for moral helps and supports. She gave us the entire outlet we need on how to move forward.

It doesn’t makes it any easier, I remember sitting there and listening to the test results and look at my husband next to me who have this stern look on his face and then I glance at Kalia and Tyra who were just happily playing with all the toys at the doctor’s office, my eyes just start getting blurry and I just cry right there and then.

I started asking the why questions… what did I do wrong, what did I miss, what I could’ve done different? What is it… WHY????? Don’t play a blaming game, that’s what the doctor told me. Nothing I’ve done or my husband that causes this, she assures us. It happens….  Things happens…

Doctors told me and my husband that we should not under estimate a support group for us. While we will continue to work on Kalia and her future but it is also important for us to get some counseling and support. I thought friends will do.

While we were waiting to get the test done, I took pictures of my kids playing in the waiting room and I post it on facebook. Some of friends start calling and ask if everything is okay. Friday afternoon was a very overwhelming time for us so I don’t return phone calls until Saturday. Even then I was still mixed with anger and guilt.

After hearing of what happens, I would say most friends are very supportive and sympathetic. However there are few that shocked me more. By the way, I’m talking just a handful of people that knows about it. Some friend thought I was being a drama queen and I shouldn’t fret about it too much. Okay …. But then, some friends who was my longtime friends and I consider a very good friends actually start blaming me, her first reaction was “What the H#@#$ did you do to her? Did you clean her *** too hard that causing this?” She’s actually the only person I reach out too – beside my family. And her respond was not something I expected.

After that I just shut down. I ignore phone calls and refuse to talk. Until Tuesday, blogging friends that become facebook friends invite her friends to rant on her page. I figure none of her readers knows me anyway, I will rants….  The response was so overwhelmingly positive though…. I cry and I cry reading it over and over again….  Some even helps me relate to their situations and some just there “holding my hands”. These comes from strangers.. Literally! And yet, so far they have provided me with comfort beyond believe. I deeply touch and humble by that.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends here who also hold my hands an cry with me… and I’m will be forever grateful for them. But the situation between my “good” friend and “strangers”  had open my eyes that we do need another outlets than just people around us. The neutral people that will not judge us, that will listen and offers suggestions, supports from neutral perspective.

My pediatrician calls to check on ME. Not Kalia, but ME and my husbands. She’s confidence that Kalia will be in a great hands with doctors and specialist but she also want to make sure we get the helps we need in order to assist kalia. She let me cry with her and she listen. She is too in a way a stranger..  but she’s there for us.

I take comfort that Kalia will get what she needs and my husband and I will get what we need in order to helps Kalia. What happens to us is a gift, it brings everything into perspective that my children truly is a blessing to us and we will be forever grateful for them.

God trusted them in my hands and I will do whatever it takes to make sure I don’t betrayed that trust.  So far.. (so far..) if there’s any good comes from this is a realization that you should count every blessing and not burden yourself with something small. One friend calls me yesterday and thank me. She thank me for share with her my situation. She told me she can’t sleeps at night thinking what would she done if she were in my shoes. She told me I put things in more perspective for her and she thank me for it.

One thing that my pediatrician says that hits me is: “Thank God for your Mother’s instinct, we caught this early.”

So to all mother’s out there… LISTEN.. those voices that tells you when something is off… LISTEN. Who care about other’s opinion, it is you that can feel it in your heart. And use every outlet provided to you for helps.

Thank you,

Sendie

 

Happy 2012

I didn’t get a change to do my (intended) last post of 2011. My youngest one got a nasty case of ear infection just that Saturday and it’s pretty much our New Year, holding a hot fever and screaming baby. I hope that doesn’t really illustrate how our 2012 will be. She’s all better just few hours after the clock strike to 2 am new years day and we finally drifted to sleep around 3 am ish.

What I was going to say was:

2011 has come to a close. This year has seen many ups and downs. We’ve been through challenges, but we were able to get through them with the guidance of God. I wanted to say that I am very blessed, grateful and appreciative to have you in my life. Your comment, your post without you realized has helped me tremendously, I have felt your prayers and your support. I also have a great privilege on becoming a friends with some of you through facebook and you guys have enrich my life and I THANK YOU for it.

This journey  has been awesome and I am so looking forward to see what else is in store. Thank you so much for allowing me to be me and for letting me grow spiritually and mentally. I feel that I have grown a lot over this past year.

 I am super excited about 2012!!! I am going to continue to love and continue to get closer to God. This is my time to focus more on Him and of course my family and to stay on the path He has set for me. My faith will continue to guide me and I will forever Thank God for everything, including for the struggles, the storms, the messes and the tests for they make you stronger in faith and with Him.

Love and Blessing….

-sendie

Will anybody miss me…

I truly does miss this blogging world, I miss reading the very informative KB’s El Morno and miss seeing another cute tea pot collection from Beth Ann, Diane’s story, what’s new with Tien and MB perspective on Hmong’s and woman’s issues and many – many more of my blogging buddies!! . Now that the turmoil in my life kinda over, I hope to be able to blog more regularly and read also comment on my blogging friend’s post more regularly.

I come across this sad news that I would like to share with you guys, it is a story of how a 3 yr old was left alone after her mom’s sudden death in New Zealand. I cry reading the story can’t help imagining how scared that little girl must’ve be!! You can read the full story here.

Luckily the uncle because suspicious after didn’t hear from the mom and contacted the neighbor and police. That’s when they find out how she has passed away and Shylah (the baby’s name) just simply told the police “Mummy won’t wake up,” tell me that doesn’t break your heart??

My husband and I, we have no relative or family here in CO, although I have shared with you many – many times, that I have great friends here but we don’t really hang out every night or everyday. I can’t help but thinking to myself, my gosh what if something like that happen to me and my husband? Will anybody miss me? My husband’s family haven’t contacted us in months! So they wouldn’t know if we drop dead or if something has going on – nor do I think they care.

It just scares me of the possibility that my child can be left alone scares. Am I just being paranoid? Probably. Can’t help it I’m a mom! J Oh… nobody told me the stress and responsibility of being a parents are so huge!!! But the perks does makes up for it and it’s totally worth it.

I better end this before I ramble more nonsense.

Motivation

Lately, I haven’t been feeling much of anything. I got so caught up in the routine that I have become so passive.

The motivation is just not there. It’s bad and I know it’s bad but man I got so lazy that I just ignore it.

Then my sister emails me a news clip from Indonesian newspaper.  The newspaper reporter went to a very remote area in Indonesia and snaps a picture of local kids on their way to school.

It breaks my heart and put me to shame. These kids have to walk 6 K to school one way also have to cross this “bridge” with the risk of falling into the river. They endure all that for school, to better educate themselves, to better their life and their future.

Judge by their uniform, these are elementary students, so they can’t be more than 12 years old.

Here I am, living a very convince life and still complaining. I realize that when things get tough instead of fighting I curl and just wish it to go away. Instead of working harder try to make it better I makes zillion of excuses to feel sorry about myself and act like a victim.

I vow to make changes in my life and instead of lay down and dreaming to actually wake up and work to make it come true.  

Taken from Kompas.com

Balance is overrated!

As summer ends, my husband and I have to make tons of adjustments. Scheduling for example, Tyra has started school back in July but we still have our niece with us to help baby sit Kalia, now she’s back to WI and Kalia need to be back at day care. Tyra will also have to go to before and after care and that brings up another adjustment, budget! Having two kids is crazy expensive!!! We have to pay $1600 just for child care alone! I don’t know how others with more than 2 kids can do it, we barely able to afford ours!

Now we all have to wake up super early I’m sure my husband beat the rooster (if we would’ve own one) waking up sleeping kids and baby are another thing I have to do, waking up Tyra is easier than Kalia, I mean, how could you wake a peacefully sleeping baby? So cute and comfy snuggle in her blanky and here’s come monster mommy waking her up? Oh.. breaks my heart every time! Good news is kalia normally wake up as soon as I’m up as if she can sense it. So I hardly have to wake her up.

 I do enjoy making and having breakfast with the family though.. even if it’s just as simple as cereal and milk. Once a while pancake or waffle is on the table, depend on my mood and how early we can get everybody ready.

The first few weeks, I got to work exhausted. Mostly mentally, thinking about what to prepare for snacks tomorrow, what the kids will wear, what’s for breakfast, what’s to cook for dinner tonight. Etc…. I drive myself crazy.

Then coming home to a messy house, the house I clean every morning and every night, it will miraculously messy again by the time I get home around 6pm. My husband is pretty helpful, he do dishes, laundry, vacuum and mop. However he and I have different concept on where toys and dirty clothes should go. It’s not on the floor!

Few weeks ago I broke down and have one of the biggest fights in our marriage life. It’s so big that it almost involve elder (it’s a Hmong thing) not that my husband believe in the elder but almost. Good friends talk to me and calm me down and we manage to get through this. I think everything just happen all of the sudden the change the adjustments we have to make and it’s all built in to the point that I can’t take it.

Finally I talked with my Mom and just cry myself out. Then, this is what my mom told me “having balance at home is over rated! There are no such things as perfect balance in life and in marriage. It’s all about give and take. The house will always be messy – you have two kids and two dogs what do you expect? – and you will always have disagreement but that’s what life is. Talk it out and work it out, that’s how you get through it.”

She said it’s okay to have a messy home once in a while, that’s mean my kids actually have fun and bring the house to live.

I always compare my life to my mom’s and have the image of a perfect marriage and perfect household should be. My mom told me to stop and remind me how even her life is not perfect. Once my mom and my dad were separated, they get back together and work it out. It hits me even my “perfect parents” have problems too.

She also remind me that she have plenty of helps back home with maid, gardener and drivers at her services.. (my dream life!) and most importantly all the family back home. She also then told me how proud she is of me and not sure if she can do the same if she was in my position. She thinks of me as a strong woman who is able to manage a family life with just me and hubby and we have as close to perfect as a life should be. That is the biggest compliments I heard from my mom! Over and over again I learned from my Mom. What will I do without her?

So last night, I let it all lose, I watch as Tyra and Kalia play together, this time instead of worrying what they will break or what they will spills, I just watch and listen. I listen as they both laugh while they were chasing each other. I watch Kalia do silly dance mimicking some TV commercial and then her laugh…

It’s beautiful and the house wasn’t all that bad. Just pick up few things this morning but I have the best night ever! As I quote my mom ‘Balance is over rated! Have fun, laugh often, build memories is more important than have your house looks like Martha Stewart Magazine.” Love you mommy!!

Tyra & Kalia being silly

Sendie-Lou’s musing

Yesterday marked the 10th year of the 9/11 tragedy. I still remember what I was doing that day. I was off that day and after saying good bye to husband for work, I watch Golden Girls – Yes, I’m a fan of the Girls! 🙂  then my husband call told me to switch to the news. At that time it wasn’t sure of what happen yet, we know a plane crash the twin tower but not sure whether it was an accident or what.

Later on that day, the pieces started coming together and it sickens me. It was a very dark days for a lot of people including me. I was grieving for those who lost their life, I was grieving for those who left without a husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sisters… those who lose their family.

I also personally grieve in the name of my religion. A group of small minded people decide to do this in the name of religion, in the name of God. It angers me. I was angry for a long time and I’m still angry. To be honest for a long time I was so prejudice against people from Middle East thinking they have ruins my religion.

I have never ashamed to be a Muslim that even that day, but I was ashamed Islam connections to Middle East. I’m not sure why I took my anger out to Middle Eastern people I just do. Later on that same year when we celebrate EID, at the mosque after the prayer and the sermon that’s the first time I feel like I can let go of the anger.

All Muslim – the true Muslim – regardless of where we came from condemn this act of violence. Including Arabs and the rest of the Middle Easterner. They hate it as much as anybody with the right mind.

It hits me, I was no difference then the terrorist for having that small minded. I am no difference then bigots for being so prejudice towards Middle Easterner. I feel so ashamed. I guess I was so angry and somehow direct my angers towards Middle Easterner. I apologize for having such a small minded.

There were (and still are) so many anger towards Islam and us Muslim, there are so many hate and unanswered questions. I can honestly say I understand the feeling, I understand the anger and even the hate. However as times goes on, I also wish that people will see that 9/11 wasn’t the act of a true Muslim and bring the message of Islam. As times goes on I wish that people will and can see that even Muslim was hurt by this.

Instead of linger with anger and hate; I try to see the message behind this tragedy. It’s about life. How life is short and it can be taken anytime. As corny as this might sound, but really I am trying to live my life as humble as possible, forgive often and be grateful for everything I have.

Life really is too short, let’s makes it the best possible way, so by the time we end this chapter it will be a celebrations of life instead of memorial services.

Love always,

Sendie

Waiting till sundown…

Today is the 17th day of Ramadan – meaning 17 days of fasting for Muslim. I’ve been fasting since the 3rd day of Ramadan. And so far everything is good. The 1st week I have lower energy than usual and not having my morning coffee is a huge adjustment to my routine. Other than that it’s all good.

I also learned that between 2 – 4 pm is usually the worst time of the day. That’s when my hunger and thirst reach its peak and of course, it’s mostly the busiest time at work as well so I struggle a bit during that time.

I’m not going to lie, fasting is hard, there are times I feel like “forget this, I’m going to eat something!” but that’s just my temptation talking, so far I can suppress that feeling and stay fasting till the end of the day.

Yesterday I have to do several errands before headed home, it was very hot yesterday and I feel like I can use a big gulp of soda. Then as I stop on the red light, there’s a homeless guy holding a sign asking for help. There’s a few of unopened bottle of water in my car and also a box sandwich that I took home from meeting cause I can’t eat it due to fasting, I offer it to him and he graciously took it. He immediately opens the water and just gulps it as if he hadn’t drink in a while and maybe he hasn’t.

As I drove off he keep on thanking me and there’s a look on his face that I can’t never forget, such gratitude that shows. At that time it hits me, one of the reason for Ramadan is for us to be more compassion towards the unfortunate one. Through fasting, we all experiences hunger and thirst, and will sympathizes more with those in the world who have little to eat and drink every day.

During fasting, no matter how thirsty I am I couldn’t just buy a drink and drink it or just grab any food and eat it. No, you have to wait till sundown before you can eat and drink. Fast food places and restaurant and convenient store are all around me but I couldn’t just stop and grab something. It’s just like that guy at the intersection. No matter how thirsty and or hungry he is, he couldn’t just go there and grab something. At least I only have to wait until sundown, who knows how long he has to wait until he has his “sundown”.

At least I only have to wait until sundown….. I need to remember that feeling, that look on that guy’s face as he gulp the drink.. this feelings and lessons that I experience should stay with me throughout the year.

To all: May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness and mercy, and bring us peace and all closer to Him and to each other. Amien.

Apparently I’m conservative

I had lunch with one of my colleague/friend yesterday and somehow we end up talking about politics and religion. My friend is a reform Jewish and as you all know I’m a Muslim. She asked me what my religion means to me and how I feel about the negative connotation it has with the world.

As for the negative connotation, yeah, I’m pissed. Not at the world, but at the small group that caused that negative images of my religion. I hate when people call me moderate Muslim or moderate Islam. To me there’s only 1 – ONE Islam and that’s me. People often mistaken or confused some countries culture with Islam. Just because the majority population of that Country is Muslim it doesn’t mean that their culture is acceptable in Islam. Honor killing for example. It is not part of Islam teaching at all. Or the Jihad word that been misused by group of terrorist. Btw, I read the Quran from top to bottom and there are no mentions in it of the 72 virgin and pool of honey.

My religion is a big part of me, it define who I am and how I acted. I’m far from perfect, but with religion I have guidelines of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s acceptable and what is not and the realization there will be consequences later on.

That was my answer. She seems surprised. She said I was so easy going that she would never guess that I’m actually very conservative. Now that’s a first, no one has ever thought of me as conservative and I’m always leaning towards liberal more. I guess, I’m conservative when it comes to me, does it sound selfish? Maybe. In my mind, I have my choices and my believe and what I think it’s right or wrong based on it but I’m not one that will judge people based on their choices.  We are adult with realization of the consequences of our actions. God teaches us to Love and to Forgive and that’s what I tried to do.

The same feeling I have for my parents, love, respect and fear – especially to mom, is the same feeling I have for God and more knowing he’s capable of throwing my @$$ in hell 🙂

Why do I even talk about this? Who knows, I guess the conversation with my friend yesterday still stay in my mind. Her reaction when I bluntly told her I was still a virgin until I met my husband.

As for politics, I mention I always lean towards liberal more, my friends told me liberal is gutless. I chuckle at her comment. No matter what side you are on, left or right, at the end we all have a common goal to bring better life and better place for this country.

For friends and colleges who always engage in deep heat discussion of politics, I’d like to point out of what I think is the beauty of America. The wonderful result of democracy, each election here in US is unique and different and no same party will be in powers for more than 2 terms. I can’t imagine if 1 ideology stays in powers forever. Well, yes I can, look at Iraq, look at Indonesia during Soeharto regime or North Korea. When you look at that, you will realize how we have it “perfect” here in US. God Blesses the USA.