Monday, December 21, 2009

2009: Go Away ... No Wait, Stay A Little Longer.

Finding the time to post a new story on our blog has become a big challenge for me. I love writing, but I’ve had less time to do it these days. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I posted. On my Facebook page, I recently suggested a link to our blog with the following comment: “After 4 years, The Soto Update continues! It's been a long time since the last post, but life got really busy ... fast.”

Warning: This is one of those reflective, sometimes long winded posts where Alex invites readers of the Soto Update to see what’s in his head and heart. You’ve been warned. =)

To know Alex is to know that he aims to be transparent, and that he wears his emotions on his sleeves. He’s a believer in God’s love and grace, but Alex’s imperfections are many. He may be in leadership roles in church life, but he’s a regular guy who faces challenges of faith everyday … probably more so now than ever before.

You’re probably asking, “Why is Alex writing about himself in the third person?”

I’ll ask him when he’s back to his normal self.

(Transition to first person. Black background, dim spotlight on Alex’s face. Mic set. Soft violin music playing. And, ACTION).

Life has taken a turn that I wasn’t expecting. As I start to look back on 2009, I don’t know whether to wish 2010 a fast arrival or to let 2009 continue for just a little bit longer. Allow me to debate this within myself.

2009 has truly been a year of change, not only on the political front with the election of the first African American President and the drastic deterioration of the US economy, but in my personal life as well.

I’ve been independently employed since 2005, but not until the end this year has my business experienced growth. In early 2009, my family was in dire straights financially, but within a few months things really did turn around. Now, I’m still learning about taxes and how to be a good manager to my team of virtual contract writers, but on the financial front, 2009 has been mostly good!

On the personal side, life got really busy, and as a result, my relationships have suffered a little. Alexa and I have had more arguments than I wish we ever had, my patience with my kids had grown thin on different occasions, and blowing up on family, friends, and even strangers had become more commonplace.

Physically, I’ve become greyer and gained more weight. I’ve discovered new pains in my knees and back and was diagnosed with asthma and sleep apnea this year. My knack for organization has seemingly slipped away, as the house becomes more and more controlled by the stuff that accompany 1 and 3 year olds, mainly toys and clothes.

In 2009, both my kids were hospitalized for several days for different things. Gideon spent 9 days in the hospital with double pneumonia and H1N1. Our experience with Gideon’s sickness caused me to adapt a “do not take any chances” attitude, which is unlike me. Anybody who knows me is aware of my cautiousness when making decisions. I attribute this to the consequences of my hasty decisions of the past, many of which still rear their ugly heads when least suspected.

This change in my personality was on display for all to see when we experienced Lucia’s strange behavior with her eyes rolling to the back of her head 3 times within a 2 minute period. I thought the worse … that she was having seizures. I exclaimed to myself, “not this time, we aren’t waiting for the Pediatrician’s recommendation … we are going to take Lucia to the ER right away … no more hesitation in my life when it comes to my kids’ health!”

Yes, I exclaimed to myself in my head. Weird right?

Throughout the hospital stay, I felt bad as they put her through sleep tests, which involved getting sensors glued to her head, so that her brain activity could be monitored in case the “seizures” happened again.

But, they never re-occurred.

I felt pain in my heart when they put her through the MRI, which in itself is not as risky as the act of giving a 1 year old anesthesia in preparation for the MRI. I doubted my decision to take her to the emergency room in the first place, and putting her through the hassle of getting poked by needles, having a bright light shined on her eyes, and having the cold metal of the stethoscope interrupt her sleep. Plus my wife was once again stuck in the hospital; sleeping in an unfamiliar convertible couch without her son nearby … she was saddened because she wasn’t able to see Gideon for 4 long days.

2009 thus far in a nutshell:

Strained relationships with the ones closest to me; health issues with my children, Alexa’s parents, and me; and complex personality changes, not necessarily for the better … these are all things I’ll gladly bid farewell to at the end of 2009, just 10 days away. The experience of these aforementioned trials are what makes me want 2009 to go away … to leave, never to return …

Except, I’ll hold on to the good memories.

Like the laughs we’ve enjoyed together at the dinner table.

Seeing my wife and kids sing and dance in the living room to songs they don’t know the words to.

Hearing “I love you, Daddy” from Gideon the very first time.

Seeing Lucia master the art of walking, then running, then bumping into things … but getting up right away.

Getting surprise hugs and kisses from Alexa when I needed them most and the date nights I’ve had with her, though sporadic and scarce.

Taking the kids outside to play with the snow, or at Ikea, or in the playground.

The deep and enjoyable conversations I’ve held with friends over coffee, and sometimes cake.

Times when I was able to sit in solitude to reflect on the serenity of nature or the beautiful architecture of city skylines.

Yes, there are plenty of good memories and I’ve had business success in 2009, but the personal challenges that took place this past year makes me want 2010 to arrive ASAP, so that the only things that remain in my heart forever from 2009 are the times of joy with my family and friends.

Perhaps I’ll be my old chummy, normal self in 2010, who knows, maybe even the rest of 2009, as I am starting to get the Christmas spirit.

Wait … I haven’t even started shopping for gifts yet … and Christmas is only 5 days away!

(Fade to black)

Alex exclaims aloud, “Don’t get Alex started on shopping!”

(And, CUT!)

Another post from Alex coming after Christmas. Alexa is working on a more happy story about snow fun and cute kids to be posted in the next few days. Stay tuned!


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1 comment:

Alexa said...

Wonderful post, hunnie. Very heartfelt. We have all had ups and downs this year, so don't be so hard on yourself.