Our story – update on Kalia

March 2012. I’m sitting on the children hospital chair crying… no actually, I’m sobbing. My husband’s arms are around me. He’s crying, too.

Our ENT specialist has just came and informed us that our 18-month-old daughter, Kalia, has moderate hearing loss that is progressive and eventually she will be profoundly deaf.

Some people ask, “Why me?” I’m asking “Why her? What good could possibly come of this?”  – that some people was me.

I have the experience of her life flashing before my eyes, or some possible version of her future life. It seems like many of the dreams that I have for my child just got erased.

All this time, she’s never heard a song that I’ve sung. She’s never heard a story that I’ve read. She’s never heard the words, “I love you.” All this time, she’s been living in silent and I never knew or do anything about it. I feel like a failure, what a bad mother!!

I open my eyes. I see my daughter’s face peering up from my husband’s side. She’s watching us, her parents cry. She sees they are distraught. Kalia’s face is full of concern, as if to ask, “What’s wrong?” I smile at the absurdity of the only possible answer. “Well, you can’t hear this whole time and we just found out!”

Then, as she just keep on playing with her sister, following her every steps of the way while keep on glancing at us, I saw her laughing, giggling, like nothing had happens, then I try to imagine Kalia’s perspective: a safe, happy life, surrounded by people who love her. I realize that for Kalia, nothing is wrong. Nothing has changed. Her dreams weren’t lost. She may not have even liked the dreams I had for her.

We make the choice to adopt Kalia’s perspective:

“There’s nothing wrong. It’s always been this way. Mom and Dad, it’s just time for you to learn something new.” ~Kalia

We learn American Sign Language. All four of us. We also opted for Cochlear implants in hoping for some type of technology help.

One years later, August 21, 2013. I sit in Kalia speech and pathology therapist’s office with my now three-year-old Kalia. There is some concerns on her lack of progress in therapy and we are hearing some opinion on why. “Kalia showing some sign on Autism and/or ADHD.”

The tears and mourning are the same, maybe slightly worse. I haven’t had a chance to let this whole having a deaf child settle in, now this? What is Autism, isn’t that only on boys? What is ADHD, what should we do now? Is God just really playing a cruel joke on us? Haven’t she go through enough?

I imagine after Cochlear implants, all will be well…. She will start listening,  she will progress in therapy, she will go to school, we’re all advancing on our sign language ability and all will be okay.

This new life of more evaluation and therapy and group sessions ahead of us almost seems too much. Then, I remember the gift Kalia gave us one years earlier, and I imagine the same words in a slightly different voice:

“There’s nothing wrong. It’s always been this way. Mom and Dad, it’s just time for you to learn something new.” ~Kalia

Ps. after few observations and test, Kalia does not have Autism nor ADHD. We have switch speech therapist since then.

Kalia and Mommy

A stroll down memory lane…

Have you ever taken back into your past or childhood by a smell, taste, songs or picture? This past weekend, all of that happening to me.

 I just open a bottle of liquid soap that my sister got me from Indonesia. The scent just automatically take me back on the day I still living there, taking a shower at my bathroom in Indonesia.

As I was cleaning my little cabinet where I hold my little perfume collection, a bottle of Este lauder perfume – beautiful fell off and as I pick it up, I spray it little bit on my wrist. It was my mom’s perfume when I was growing up. The scent take me back in time where I spent time in her arms and how I can smells that on her ….

 And here’s the finale:

 One of my good friends told me that The Original House of Pancake has this Dutch Pancake and how I should try it out. So we did, the family went for a lunch there and I order the baby Dutch pancake. OMG, just the first bite, I almost burst into tears; it’s just like how my grandma used to made for me!! As hungry as I was that time, I couldn’t eat a whole lot because I was so overwhelmed with emotions.  I’ll definitely come back!

 I find comfort on things like that… certain songs that my parents used to sing to me can bring me tears and smile at the same time. For example, Andy Williams – Speak Softly love, have you ever listened to it? It’s beautiful love songs that my parents loves to sing together…  if you haven’t listen here.

 On a side note, one night, Kalia was so fussy and refuse to sleeps. I can’t remember what I was thinking, but I do have my dad old shirt still hanging on the closet, so I just kinda wrapped that around Kalia and just within minutes she drifted to sleeps…. That night I spray a bit of my mom’s perfume on the pillow.. and play Andy William songs till I drifted to sleeps…

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…

Happy Mother’s day!!

 First day of winter in the US and Mother’s day in Indonesia. Yup December 22nd is Indonesian Mother’s day. I actually forgot all about it until I came home and Tyra & my husband surprise me with a “Happy Indonesian Mother’s day” wishes – yes, Tyra have to put the Indonesian word in it. 🙂

Then add to my surprise, my Mom & my Dad both sent me a very beautiful mother’s day wishes.

For my dearest daughterI

wish you patience in time of hardship, smiles when your heart is crying. Be silent when others is not. Keep on forgive, keep on loving to even those who hates, keep on giving without expecting anything back. Always be thankful for every blessing and hardship – hardship is the unknown blessing to us.

Even when I’m far away, please remember that my love and my prayers is always be with you.

I thought it was a very sweet wishes and I miss her terribly. I cry when I got it yesterday and miss her even more. I found this picture on the internet and the flower remind me of her.

So for all mother’s out there, Happy Mother’s day!!! We are so special that we can celebrate this day twice! – het at least I am! 🙂

Oh.. before I go, I want to share a picture taken this morning during our little winter storm here in Denver. I think it’s beautiful I wanted to share it with you guys.

1st day of winter 2011 storm

 

Never from Hallmark

I have two anniversaries, September 30th and August 4th. September is when my husband propose to me and we officiate our love in a exchange ceremony in Colorado Springs, 2 years later, we did a wedding in Indonesia on August 4th.

So today mark 11 years of me and my husband together. One of the best surprises in my life is my husband. I was just got back from Australia and started a new job and somehow “meet” him through a mutual friend. How we actually met is a very interesting story and I might write about it one day. But who knew I will meet someone across the globe that I will spend the rest of my life with.

We have about little over a year having a long distance relationship and his words that drawn me more and more to him. Never fails on any special day he will write me a poem or ever just a short message. Like this one, he wrote this as a thank you for surprising him on his birthday:

Thank you for making it all come true. My dreams were only in my mind until I met you. You have turn all my wishes into something real. Every second, every hour, every day, and every year, you have remind me of what happily ever after is. Again thank you for a wonderful cerebration to remember until next year!!! Love you now and forever, Always!!!

And let me tell you, he always wrote everything himself, never from Hallmark -nothing wrong with Hallmark by the way- it just feels a little bit more special when the words truly comes from the heart.

Today on our anniversary, he posted this on my facebook wall:

After all these years, so much and so many has happen between us. We fall and out of love so many times. So many tears, so much laughter has come between us for so long. And today, I still remember the first day I met you. That first moment becomes the seeds and stairs to my new world with you and I, us and we, always together and never apart. “Love is not finding someone you can live with; it’s finding someone you cannot live without.” You’re still with me, still my clown, still my shoulder, still my last song. Without you, never will be my morning and night. Lots of thanks for every moment you have been with me and I can’t wait for tomorrow when our life when our life will continue. Until Now and Forever, Always. Happy Anniversary.

And surprise me with the flowers deliver at my work. Aww.. don’t I got a keeper here or what!

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

Rainbow

I’m a pretty positive person – most of the times. 🙂  – I normally can turn a bad situation around into a good one or if not, I will take the lesson then move on.

I just needed to vent somehow and hey, blogging is the most efficient way I know!! It is way cheaper than therapy. Well, friends too.. ha!

My post yesterday, by all mean was not meant to bad talk about family. I honestly respect my husband’s family. My in law despite few rocky roads has done wonderful things to us and I respect them as my in law, my children grandparents and my husband’s parents. Without them there won’t be my husband and there won’t be two little angels whom I adore.

There’s always bumping in the road and what happened yesterday was one of them. Yes, I was hurt, I was disappointed, but I have accepted the situation and move on. What happened yesterday will not change my respect for them. I will be more careful going forward but they will always have my respect and my children love.

As I drove home yesterday, there was this huge rainbow in front of me and its follows me until I reach home. It’s like the sky was smiling at me and at that time, I feel God presence somehow, I take it as God trying to tell me that everything will be okay.  

Rainbow

I seen a rainbow yesterday
But too many storms have come
Leaving a trace of not one God-given ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of grey
I pray all ten fade away
Seldem praise Him for the sunny days
And like His promise is true
Only my faith can undo
The many chances I blew
To bring my life to a new
Clear blue and unconditional skies
Have dried the tears from my eyes
No more lonely cries
My only bleedin’ hope is for the folk who can’t cope
With such an endurin’ pain that it keeps ’em in the pouring rain
Who’s to blame for shootin’caine into you’re own vein
What a shame you shoot and aim for someone else’s brain
You claim the insane and name this day in time
For fallin’ prey to crime
I say the system got you victim to your own mind
Dreams are hopeless aspirations
In hopes of comin’ true
Believe in yourself
The rest is up to me and you

TLC – Waterfalls

Fear not a friend is here

Last couple weeks I’ve been stressed out without even realizing it. If you read my post last week you’ll see how I was off-balance.
A lot of things just happened so quick that I didn’t get a chance to catch my breath, it’s like boom.. boom..boom! We got back from Indonesia, I still very sad missing my family then we decide this is the right time to move, so we need to get the house ready, then my brother pass away, then back to the house.. then other things I can’t really talk about…. It’s a mess!
I was very negative with my friends – without me realizing it – and very short and don’t have any patience. I withdrawal from a lot of friends activity and just stay home trying to get things done, somehow it didn’t. It’s like a depression that keep on sinking and drawn me with it.
I didn’t realize how bad it was until few of my friends call me and set me straight. They notice how I’ve been acting differently and it’s not a good different. Of course I didn’t admit it, but it’s not like I’m lying, I just wasn’t aware that I need help. I didn’t aware how stressed I was until I lay out the whole situation.
Then I broke down… my friend at beginning was mad at me she told me flat out this is what she said “We are friends aren’t we? Why won’t you pick up the phone or email us and say ‘ladies I need help.’ We’ll come to help you in quickness. Will you let us help?” I literally just cry on the phone with her – not sure if she knows that or not.
I finally see that I do need help and that I am overwhelmed with changes that are happening and will happen in my life. I over estimate my own strength. Once I see it, it’s like a huge weight been lifted. I know I’m strong and I have a good foundation at home, but sometimes we need more and that’s the gap my friends – good friends – filled for me.
I may not have any family here, but really fear not, I have plenty of great friends around me. That’s what friends are for…
For you ladies.. you know who you are. Thank you.. thank you!!