Monday, August 22, 2011

My Father

A sad day in my family again. Feels that my Grandma just went and now my Dad. I called my Mom just to tell her that we finally found a place to rent in NE. She just got home from the funeral and told that he passed away on Saturday the 20th of August after a short recovery in the ICU Dad passed away due to a a brain anyersism. He was just a month away from his 66th Birthday. He had been sick for a while now but I still could not believe that he won't pull through. He got worse on the 6th of August and that's when he was first taken into the hospital. There was no room and he had to be in the corridor. They also are short in nursing staff and Mom had to stay there all day. Due to high blood pressure he had a stroke and lost some mobility and speech. He seemed to be stable and they were going to run tests (topography and etc.) but it did not happen for different reasons with the medical insurance and equipment shortage. The doctor did tell my Mom that even if he did pull through this he would be paralyzed. It would have been very hard for her because her health is not exactly in good condition either.
I'm also sad that I did not get to talk to him even on the phone! Mom said that he kept asking about me and my family. He had few short speech comebacks and say my name.
When we were leaving Italy I felt very strangely sad and now I know why. He wanted to see me and probably knew that his days are short. I just wish I called and talked to him. I'm such a coward.
When Aaron was talking to his Dad and telling him these news, he started talking about how my Dad did not have a good life. I would agree. He was born without a father, his Mom never told him about his father. He had two older step sisters. In 1945 the war was over but in a village in Gorkovskyi raion (region) people still did not have much food, so his mother decided to move south. She packed up herself and the girls and took off on the sled, it was winter, my father was about 3 or 4 years old and made her mind to leave him behind as he was always hungry. He saw the sled and started running after it and his stepsister Irina helped him to get up. My Mom said that when he was younger he really wanted to find his father. His step sisters overheard that it was the governor of the village where they where were from but knew very little. His mother never told him. He even went back to the village and asked people around but no one seemed to even remember my grandmother and her connection to the village governor. His mother remarried in Volgograd (it was still Stalingrad back then) to a WWII veteran who left his family for her. They settled in a German prisoners built apartments in Biketovka  (middle section of Volgograd because the city is along the Volga). I still remember our address: Ylitza Generala Shumilova, (street), dom 3 (house number), kvartira 5 (apartment). I can still remember that it was a third floor of a pink 3story high building, in the fall surrounded by puddles that I loved to measure. Our door was painted brown and the apartment number was golden. My parents had one room there with me and my brother Vladimir seven years senior. After my grandmother's husband died, which I remember very clearly because I was finally allowed to enter the room where grandma and him lived, I only saw a handful of times before. Also no one seemed to mind that I skipped around his coffin, thinking that he is just sleeping. It also happened that Brezhnev passed away around the same time and there were no cartoons on TV for kids, only symphony orchestra. Dad asked to be buried next to him. Not sure why.
Mom told me that a lot of neighbors, friends and family came to say goodbye to him and comfort her. Everyone seemed to point how kind and caring he was rather than his alcohol addiction. Yes, that is what is so hard for me as I did have such a special bond with him that it was devastating to me to have to cut it when I became a teenager. He was the one that pointed the constellations to me, he taught me to read when I was 4, he read Pushkin with me over and over, until I could recite it  by heart. He taught me to draw and create craft projects, tutor me in math and play chess. I'm so thankful God had enabled me with the talents that my father had and they are passed on to his grand kids as well! My Dad was the key to open all of them like this one time during the winter. I had these rabbit mittens that were very fuzzy, he took the mittens and made sort of a puppet with them and for along time after that I thought that my mittens were truly alive. It was so cute! Mom also told me that he became sober after I was born for two years. He and I would watch the movies and sometimes cry at the same time. He was not a great cook but he always made sure to make my favorite omelet for breakfast. He always knew a funny joke to tell and read tons of history books. When I was little he would ask me to get on his shoulders and look for dandruff in his hair after few minutes he would be asleep. One time he got his friend to give us a ride on a huge truck, I felt very special.
I'm sad that my children will not be able to meet him in this life, I do pray and hope that they will meet him one day. I wrote to him many letters about my faith but he did not write back. Mom told me that he kept all of them by his bed. I am thankful and do not regret that I was away from him geographicly and even more spiritualy because the very first American family that helped me to become an international student and kind of adopted me had knew first hand about what is like to be achild of such talented, loving but addicted to alcohol father. For the first time then I was able to sepaprate of what my Dad was realy like and what did he turn into.
Papa (in Russian Daddy) I will miss you and do hope to meet you again!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July is a turning month for us

It's just happened to be that July is going to be a month of lots of changes for our family. Nevertheless we have three of us celebrating their birthdays! I know I have not written in a long time. Yes, I'm tired a lot or just trying to catch on what is on the news or on the friends and family front.

Our girls have grown so much and time seems to fly by really fast. Even now when Lana is out of her Italian school, I barely have a minute with her.

July 1, Aaron turned 34. The girls and I did a little surprise for him by lighting up the candle on the Italian strudel pie and singing "Happy Birthday". Lana bought him a tiny espresso cup as he now is an expert in making coffee on the stove!

July 2, we drove to Croatia about 4 hours away from our town. Our friends helped us to rent an apartment near the beach. In the evening we ate at the restaurant near by. We really wanted to do something special for Anastasia, she tuned 1! I can hardly believe it, my youngest is one! The restaurant only had crepes for desert and no candles. Back at the apartment we found one big candle and had to sing twice because Sophia kept blowing the candle.

July 3, 4 we spent entirely on the beach. The water was perfect! All the girls enjoyed it very much and didn't want to go back home.

July 5 we got back and started preparing our car to be shipped. So July 6 and 7 has been only that for me.

Other highlights:

Lana finished first grade with "ottimo" which is A+. Overall teacher was happy with her but did wish she was more focused. We work on that at home too. Everyday the routine of going to bed has to be told to Lana as she finds other things along the way to the bathroom. It's amazing to me how she can speak English to us, turn to her friends and speak Italian and still understand Russian when she hears me talking!

Sophia is still having hard time being in the middle! She wants time with me and she loves having a baby around. It's hard; especially that Daddy was not home when all the changes happened. She will turn 3 on the 31st which marks our three years in Italy! She and Lana love to be outside and play with the neighbors' animals. They love visiting our landlords because they always give them candy. When Anastasia started crawling, she wants to join them every time they are outside. She learned some baby sign language and the cutest is showing "ciao" in Italian way by opening and closing her hand. Right now she trying to learn to walk and it was so precious to see how one time both Lana and Sophia were trying to help her!

I have very mixed feelings about leaving Italy. I do wish military system would allow families to stay longer in one place. At this point of our stay we learned our way around, more comfortable with the language and culture, found good places to eat and stores, finally found museums, exhibits and just beautiful places around. Well, it's time to leave. We came with one daughter and leaving with three! This forever will be there place of birth; this is the house where I brought them from the hospital! The whole time I was hoping that my mother will be visiting us all the time since it's much closer. I haven't seen her since 2006 when she came to the US. God knows best, I do rely on His perfect plan!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3 more weeks

We are at the three week mark for Aaron's return. It seems so little but the time seems to drag more now than before.

We have been through some difficult times with all of us being sick and for Sophia still recovering from a cold that was worsen by whizzing. She had to take prednisolone and albeturol. The chamber mask made her mad, so I'm not sure if she got any benefit from it.

Anastasia turned 4 months yesterday and still is super sweet! She loves to be around her sisters and started smiling at them. She loves to cuddle and just quietly take in what's around her. I set up the crib for her since Sophia finally sharing a bed with Lana. She still has hard time with going down for the night and has to use a pacifier a lot. Her newest cutest thing to do is to nurse her baby doll while I'm nursing Anastasia. It's absolutely adorable how serious she is when she is imitating me! Sophia got used to her part time Toddler room with the military child care. I try to take her every day.
Lana likes her school but there are times when we both wish we did home school especially when she is sick. She is counting the days with me until Aaron's return and making different suggestions on what she wants to do when Daddy is home.