Sunday, January 30, 2011

Struck with Awe!

A Source of Pride:

Proposing Project 100 with Panda Express Manager
Whittier Elementary's 4th grade, Ahmed's class, is supporting the James Cancer Hospital for their community project. They have been collecting money to purchase links that cost a quarter each. They hook the links together and run them around the classroom and school as they grow. All proceeds go to the James. In the Fall, the kids and Nicole had a garage sale that we promised them whatever they make would be split three ways among them. Ahmed declared that he want to donate his to the James by buying more links at the school. And he did, bought about 80 links.

Another related project they have to work on is called Project 100, where each student picks a business and makes an agreement with them do donate a quarter of a specific thing they sell to the school's James fund.  Ahmed picked Panda Express and their famous Orange Chicken dish. After meeting the manager yesterday, she recommended the idea of holding a Whittier Day at Panda Express where 20% of the day's sales will go to Whittier to support the James project 100.

Food for thought:

Recently, I recognized that friends want to help, but they don't know how. So, I came out of my cocoon and gathered those friends around me and opened my doors wide. All the ones I reached out for responded and showered me with their care and support, except for one dear friend that caused me some disappointment since I thought she would be the first.

One of the difficulties I shared with friends is having food for the family when I don't have the energy to cook. Cooking on Sundays has worked, but then it leaves me tired and drained for a couple of days, and I start the week on the wrong foot. In response, my friend Kathy rallied seven ladies, from her church community, who are willing to provide us food 7 days a week. I know some of those women, but others I don't know at all. Talk about caring for the members of the community and showing support and all. And some tell you that the American society lacks such values. In comparison to the Libyans I know locally, none has offered to help but for one close friend. So tell me, what makes a society civilized?

Kathy, also, has been driving me around, going with me to chemo sessions, taking me to places I needed to go, having lunch together, mall visit, and bringing us delicious food. What a blessing to have such a caring friend!


My hair is falling in locks and it was driving me crazy. I decided to go and shave it off rather than deal with the emotions associated with seeing it fall that much. I was supposed to shave it on Friday, but then I did not receive my chemo on Thursday as was planned, for the second time in a row, because my blood count of white cells and platelets was very low. So I decided to shave my head on Thursday and I'm glad I did. I felt so good and relieved after shaving. I had so much anxiety and fear from being bald that was gone immediately after I shaved. I was worried about shocking people around me including the kids and coworkers. I was worried about putting people in awkward position when they see me shaved or with a wig. But the shave was not bad; actually I realized that it didn't change a thing in me, I am still the person I was before the shave and maybe a little stronger!

Ahmed, Sol, and some of my friends vowed to shave their heads in solidarity with me. And the shaving started. It touched my heart and soul in a way nothing ever did! I love them for that and feel very lucky to have them and their support. I can lean on them for sure and learn from them!

As a gesture, to include my kids in Lebanon more in my life, I sent a message to Anoos and told him about the Solidarity Cuts project and that he may join if he'd like to show his support. He replied saying that he's growing his hair and don't want to lose it. That's the difference between children who grow up in the uncivilized world and those who grow up in the civilized world. I love all of my kids whether they choose to participate or not. Each has a special place and something that makes them special. For example, Anas is my first baby; he's the first to make me a Mama.

There's so much to talk about, but I'd rather spend the time doing other things for now. Last thing worth mentioning is I got me 2 wigs to wear, in addition to my shaved look, and mess around with people's heads since both are very different. Have a look:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Moments Gone By!

On the 29th, the Sherry's hosted dinner for our family and the Apples. The three of us were neighbors where we still live. We kept in touch after they both moved. Moody, Luke and Conor were born 2 weeks apart each, and each has a completely different personality. We had lots of fun and lots of food!

We also went to the Rec Center with the Kanouns and the kids did wall climbing and played other games, while us the mothers sat and chatted.

I took my sweet time wrapping the gifts before New Year's eve. It was fun; something I enjoyed doing. I even wrapped my own gifts that I bought myself :) The kids went ballistic in New Year's day tearing open their gifts. They were really happy to see that some items made it from their wish list.

Tala's self-portrait with the locket
Tala had a "Locket with Mom and Dad's pictures in it" on her wish list. And she got it. Jan, the family therapist, asked her before she got the locket (and she did not know she was getting it) what was her most precious possession. And Tala said "The locket with my parents' pictures!" That she didn't have yet! How can you resist that?!

On Tuesdays this quarter, Sol has an early class and can't take the kids to the bus, so he made arrangements with Nicole to come in the morning and take care of that. The first Tuesday after the break, Nicole showed up and this conversation took place:

Ahmed: Nicole is here! Now my day is ruined!

Nicole: The feeling is mutual, Moody!

Ahmed: But you don't have any, Nicole.

You can't beat this guy with words. My friend Fatma used to say that my word is always ready at the tip of my tongue. I guess Ahmed takes after me in that lol

I was invited to a Libyan ladies only party for the New Year and I did go for a couple of hours. It was a good change. The New Year came upon us with a mixture of things. The doc changed my treatment, and I'm doing OK with it so far. I recently got tremendous support from family and friends that just energized me and transformed me emotionally and otherwise... Thank you dear ones!

We spent a good Holiday. Not doing much other than board games, movies, some swimming, ice skating, cooking, seeing friends. It was very relaxing and we all wished it lasted longer!

We ended the holiday with Tala's Step One Ballet Dress Rehearsal.