A little bit of an update on Janice and other things here. Rather than post an overly long status update on facebook, I thought this makes more sense, plus there are those who don't have facebook, so...
Her Bell's Palsy is slowly improving, but is by no means done yet. Baby steps. A lot of the pain is gone, but, there is still pain. And the more she talks, the more pain there is. Half her tongue is still numb, half her face is still numb, although there is gradually feeling coming back. When she smiles, it's half of a smile. Her left eye stubbornly will still not close, so she has to go through the bulk of her days with tape to hold down her eyelid to keep her eye from drying out, and gauze over that to apply pressure to keep it shut. Drinking and eating is still quite a challenge. She's uncomfortable going out anywhere to eat, but will make the effort today for Alexandra's birthday, and go to Jungle Jim's. Finger foods, she says, appeal to her, because there's less chance of any kind of mess when she tries to eat. A straw fixes the drinking challenge. Plus, I think she's a little self conscious of the eye patch. I mean, who wouldn't be?
She's brave about all of it though. She cracks jokes about herself, many of which I can't laugh at, but she's very light hearted about it. However I won't take anyone else making jokes about her. No one has yet. I understand people will be people, but I don't want anyone staring or anything. Something we're both very touched by is the show of support by so very many people. There are friends of mine who she doesn't even know showing support for her. People she hasn't heard from in a long time are stepping forward and offering their hope and prayers. It's times like this that you have a renewed faith in humanity, oddly enough. Janice has a lot to deal with as it is. For those who don't know, she has psoriatic arthritis, one of the most painful and ruthless forms of the disease; fibromyalgia; hiatal hernia; high blood pressure (related to her meds); underactive thyroid disease; ocular migraines; psoriasis; and now Bell's Palsy, like she doesn't endure enough. Her annual medication runs in the tens of thousands of dollars, but is covered thankfully by Blue Cross. She hurts pretty much all the time, but will suck it up and get to the gym anyway, because she has use-it-or-lose-it mobility issues. She fights weight issues because of her meds, but she doesn't give up on it. She does not accept 'how she is' as an excuse and continues to battle everyday. Janice can be likened to those stand-up blowup toys that kids punch and they bounce right back up. You can knock her down for a moment, but you can even more so count on her coming right back. Anytime I hear of someone being lazy or sick or anything, I can't help but tell them about Janice. And then ask... so why are you complaining again? And what's your excuse for not taking care of yourself? WHO are you blaming? Janice blames no one or no thing. Rather, she just fights.
And now, onto the offspring. As I write this, today is my daughter Alexandra's 16th birthday. Let me tell you what I think of her.
I remember the day Janice got the pregnancy test results and told me. I remember the night before, saying aloud in bed, "I don't want to be a father. I CAN'T be a father." Then Janice getting those results and telling me with fearful tears in her eyes as she looked at me, maybe fearing I would leave. I thought to myself, it's time to be a man now. Now, I want to be a father. God gave her to us. He gave her to us for a reason, and He expects us to take care of her and make her one of His own. As the months passed, some of the hardest months of our lives because we were out of jobs with no hope on the horizon living in the basement apartment of a very understanding landlord, excitement began to build. Distress did set in from time to time, because I'd gone to a computer college, gotten a diploma, applied to dozens of places and didn't even get an interview out of it. Then just a couple of months before Alexandra was born, I got a job as a driver at BJ's Subs that I kept for 11 years. When she was born, everything just started falling into place. There were good years and bad years, but somehow, having Alexandra in our lives stabilized everything. It made all the hard times that we endured matter, and worth it. Life had a greater purpose than it ever did. I wrote a song about all of it called 'Full Circle', waiting to be fleshed out, many years ago. I just need a capable guitar guy to help me out.
And here we are today, 16 years later. She's in grade 10, having perhaps her best year yet in school; working at the same place as her mother, with pride, never calling in sick unless she really was (that happened once); holding up dreams of perhaps becoming a cosmetician one day soon, and learning how to do carpentry next year in school. She's one of the most thoughtful kids I've ever known. She'll use her money to make people happy when Christmas or birthdays or whatever come around, thinking of herself last. It does upset us sometimes that we see her alone fairly often. It reminds us of our own childhoods, and how much it hurt, but Janice and me do everything with Alexandra. You take the three of us or you don't get any of us, that's just how it is. I see good things in her future though, with a focus on where she's going, which is something that makes any parent happy. When I was 16, I was just living day to day without a plan. I'm lucky to be where I am right now, having lived a life flying by the seat of my pants. But Alexandra has a map for herself drawn out with where she's going. That provides comfort to her mom and pop. We are tremendously proud of our 'little girl', and today is her day.
As for me? I'm doing fine. I have everything. A loving wife and daughter, two shit-disturbing loveable meatballs for cats, a house, a car, a job I like, a family to spend time with during the summer, die-hard steadfast friends... God has been good to me. And I offer my thanks often.
And I also have friends who read my humble blogs, like you, who... if you're reading this now... I thank you for caring enough about my rumblings, whether they be good times or bad. I'd much sooner focus on the good. Darkness is just a speck in the light, it's been said.
Until next time, dear friends, fire up those colortinis and watch those pictures fly through the air.
Have a good week.