Growth

Growing is hard. Especially growth as an individual.

Growth of the mental and spiritual side has the worst growing pains in my opinion.

And it always seems that during the times that you are doing the most growth are the times you are hurting the most. Those are the times that you want to just don’t want to try so hard anymore. When I look back at my life and see the times where I was hurting the most, those were the times that I was having a personal growth spurt.

Those were the times that I was really learning and changing and moving forward.

There has been a lot of personal growth happening lately. Growth in how I handle difficult relationships with people, growth in my marriage, growth as a mother; all of it has affected the whole of me and helped me to become a more patient and mindful person.

The cool thing about life too is you will never stop learning. That can be either intimidating or encouraging depending on how you look at it. I prefer to be encouraged by it.

The pressure that gets taken off my shoulders when I realize I’ll never truly “make it”, I’m never going to reach some imaginary summit of eternal success and understanding. Rather, I’ll reach several different summits in my life. I’ll reach a point of understanding and then plunge back into learning again. It gives life a certain rhythm in my opinion.

And it helps during those times of intense despair to think to yourself, “Hey, maybe I’m in the middle of learning something right now.”

Those kinds of thoughts, I’ve noticed, help to ground me and encourage me to be mindful of my life in that moment.

Because in the wise words of Ferris Bueller:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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Fireflies

Summer night in our new house. Just us two. In love and happy.

Windows opened wide to let in the breeze. Brushing past me like a ghost under a silken sheet. Moving through the hall and rooms.

Sun setting, splashing our walls with jewel colors.

The window in our room didn’t have a screen and in the dark there were little bugs flying around our house.

That night as we laid down to sleep and turned off the lights we saw fireflies in our room. Just like we were laying out in our backyard.

Slowly they hovered and twinkled over our heads. Our ceiling looked like the night sky.

Life was growing in my womb and I didn’t know it yet. Filling me with warmth and light and mystery.

We laid there together, just for a moment. Holding hands and smiling in the dark. Watching the fireflies light up our room.

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Golden

I’ve got a belly full of booze, one thousand dreams. I write words about youth, and electric streets.

This year was my golden birthday, where the age I am this year coincides with the date I was born. And since I am always looking for an excuse to throw a party we decided to really celebrate this year.

Even though I say this about every single year, this really was the best birthday I’ve ever had. Ten of my friends were there, worlds collided because very few of these friends actually knew each other. But everyone’s energy and vibe meshed so well together, you would have thought they’d known each other for years.

We went bowling, played this dancing game on our xbox, all of us thoroughly embarrassing ourselves, lots of drinking, lots of selfies, lots of pizza, smoking on the patio, ice cream cake devoured….even the girl who delivered our pizza jumped in on the dancing and killed it!

Maybe this is going to come across as melodramatic, but this year really felt different. When I was in my early twenties I thought my twenties would last a lifetime! That I’d always be that skinny, that young, that lively.

I’m not old and gray by any stretch of the imagination, but I have now, officially, entered my late twenties. It’s kind of scary. It really is. That means that one day I’ll be in my late thirties and so on and so forth.

I felt time really soar by that night watching people who love me be happy in my home. They weren’t the people that I would have expected to be there. Old friendships that I thought would never end are starting to drift a little, new friends have entered my life. New friends that have much more in common with me than people I knew when I was ten. People whose dreams go hand in hand with mine.

These amazing people came along side of me on the night I was born, they made sure that I didn’t lift a finger, made sure that I always had a drink in my hand, and made that night one of the best I’ve had in a long time.

It was so good, that I still feel like I’m recovering, I could nap for¬†days!

I am so happy with where I am in life right now. There’s a lot I want to do, and sometimes, I feel like I missed my opportunities to do those things. But there’s still so much more to life, there are so many more seasons in my life that have yet to happen.

This year feels like a holding pattern. There’s a lot I want to do but I’m not in the place to accomplish it yet because of money or my kid or the place I live.

But I’m at peace with that, because I know I will get to chase my dreams…….this year, I’m giving them a little bit of a head start before I go wildly running after them. They don’t stand a chance.

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Hello Again Old Friend

Hello blogging world, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

How are you? That’s wonderful I’m doing well myself too!

So what’s new?

I have a freaking one year old!?!? We celebrated his birthday a little while ago and it was so cute. It was a Star Wars Party and he was dressed up as a Jedi. Cuteness overload!

And my golden birthday is this weekend! I’m turning 26 on the 26th of this month! I bought a beautiful dress just for the occasion!

 

Life doesn’t slow down. Not one bit! Just when I think we’ve reached the summit of a rough week or month or year, another climb is ahead of us.

But maybe that’s a good way to look at life? If you keep expecting things to get easier you might find yourself dissapointed.

Life is a series of seasons.

Some of those seasons are a breeze. Others are really hard to walk through.

One of the things that makes our life hard now is the amount of stuff on our plate. The husband works a lot at the plant, I work a lot at home with my one year old and trying to keep up with things around here. We have to clean up the house together, we have to work on the forest that is our backyard when we can find the time. And on top of that, we have to make sure we’re getting time together as a family AND time together as a couple. How does one find the time to accomplish every thing on that list?

I don’t know, close your eyes as the wave crashes over and you and hope you come out on the other side alive!

But one day, our son will be able to entertain himself long enough for us to cross off things on our to-do list. The process will be more streamlined.

But, unfortunately, today is not that day.

This season is hard to walk through sometimes. But I like to remember that I’m not the only one who has walked through this phase of life, millions have done it before me and them and their families are on the other side of it all in one piece.

If they can do it, so can I, right?

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The Whole Story

I’ve been silent on this for a a long time because I’ve been afraid that people would call me heartless or cruel.

It was too soon to talk about, too soon for me to open up about.

But this feels like the right time and I think writing this down will help me to move on.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve become familiar with a very significant character in my life story: Zelda the dog.

The husband and I were very excited about having a kid and a dog. Our family was going to get bigger. But, unfortunately, things did not turn out the way we had planned and I just need to get the whole story out.

 

A little backstory; Zelda was a rescue dog. Me, the husband and our friend spent two hours trying to coax her out of hiding so we could take care of her. She was skin and bones, she had a broken jaw and a swollen face. Being an animal lover, I told myself the whole time that I didn’t need to get attached, we would rescue this dog and get her to a good home.

But all three of us were smitten as we sat in a late night vet clinic, this puppy curled up in my husband’s arms. Our broke, college aged friend even volunteered to scrape up any money he could spare to make sure we could keep her.

As she grew up, we saw more of her personality. She was sweet, gentle and also very hyper. And she was terrified of men, especially big men. We think she was probably abused seeing the terror that overcame her around men sometimes.

But she learned to trust our friends and my dad fairly quickly and was beloved by all our friends.

A lot of times she was misunderstood. She was a big dog, all lean muscle. And she was obviously a pitbull mix…which sadly makes people more afraid of her. There were a lot of people who were intimidated by her and her size; not many people were willing to give her a chance. Which is why I think she loved me and my husband so much because we gave her a chance when no one else would.

When I found out I was pregnant, I felt scared. I knew Zelda, she wouldn’t willingly hurt a fly; but something just felt wrong. Something felt off. And I could never put a finger on it. We were both so uncertain of how she’d be around a newborn! All the time we talked about what we would do if it didn’t work out, and we came close to weeping every time because we just couldn’t imagine things ever coming to that.

My son was born eight days late. And the day before he was born my doctor wanted to see me and there was a high probability that I was going to be induced that night.

Zelda was always in the same room with me, no more than ten feet away from me at all times, my silent guardian angel. But on this day, Monday, February 23rd, Zelda was no more than two feet from me. She was extraordinarily loving that day. She laid on my feet while I brushed my teeth in my tiny bathroom that barely had room for the two of us. She laid right beside me while I put my makeup on while sitting on the floor. She gave me lots of hugs where her huge paws would rest on my shoulders as I sat on the floor facing her. She curled up in between my legs when she got the chance too.

And it was then that I knew instinctively, that this was it. But I didn’t want to face it.

I didn’t come home from my appointment that day. I went straight to the hospital and my husband made sure she was boarded like she had been many times before at our vet’s office.

Fast forward three days and we are finally going home with our first child. So many fears, so much joy and so much trepidation.

We get home, we spend a few hours enjoying the visitors that made their way to see us. But the whole time, my stomach was in knots. I missed Zelda and I needed to know what was going to happen.

Finally my husband brought her home from the vet, like we had many times after vacations and put her out in the backyard to calm down. I went out to see her and immediately was in tears. She would not stop running; she was so hyper. Normally she listened to me and I could soothe her when she got crazy. But not this time, she jumped on me so hard I thought I was going to fall over. She would not stop running laps around our back yard. She was nipping not totally harmlessly at me and my mom and sister.

I was one of the few people in her life that was not afraid of her. And I was scared.

My husband told me that there were a lot of things going on: I smelled different from the breastmilk, to my hormone changes, to the fact that my son had slept on my chest every night since he was born. There were a lot of new things that she needed to adjust too. He told me to go back inside and give her time to calm down by herself and we would worry about introducing them later.

But as the hours lagged on, and I checked on my dog out in the cold February night, she did not slow down. She was not about to stop. She was manic almost and there was nothing I could do.

Fear and worry were gnawing at my guts and finally I begged him to help me introduce them, I couldn’t take this not knowing anymore.

His sisters and brother in law were in our living room with my sisters hanging out and having fun; we knew that if too many people were involved it would only make things worse. So we made sure that my parents were in on things but that everyone else had no idea what was happening behind the scenes.

I fed our son. He was passed out in a deep newborn sleep; not stirring. And we knew it was time. I was waiting in the nursery with Clayton asleep in his crib, prepared to snatch him up if I needed to. Mom and dad were waiting outside the nursery since my dad being so tall made Zelda nervous.

My husband got our dog and held her by the collar while guiding her into our son’s room. She caught sight of him in the crib and started whining and licking her lips. Her muscular body stiffened, every muscle ready for action. She looked at him like he was a rabbit ready to be chased.

I was scared.

My husband brought her a few feet away from the crib and told me to hold my son in our arms so that maybe Zelda would see that I was protective of him. She strained at her collar so much so that my mom and dad felt the need to come in the room and help my husband restrain her.

My dog, who always has one eye on my dad, did not even blink when he came in the room, all she saw was my son. Every inch of her being focused on the 8 lb baby in my arms.

My husband told her to sit, normally the stubborn thing would need a pat on her rump to sit down; but she sat on the first command the way she would when she knew a treat was involved.

The whole time this is happening, my husband kept asking me, “Baby, what do you think?”

And all I had the heart to answer was, “I don’t know.”

Finally my husband told me to switch places with him, I got behind her holding her collar while he picked up our son, hoping that maybe seeing the alpha would help her to understand.

She whimpered, shivering, licking her lips, not responding to me or my attempts to soothe her.

I was silently weeping, I knew what was coming and I couldn’t take it.

Finally my husband asked one last time, “Baby, what do you think?” almost pleading for it not to be the answer we knew it had to be.

I couldn’t answer him.

I collapsed on the floor weeping. There was swift exchange where my dad took the baby, my husband took the dog outside and my mom wrapped her arms around me chanting a mantra to me, “You’re doing the right thing. You’re doing the right thing. You’re doing the right thing.”

All I could think was, if this is the right thing why does it feel so bad?

My husband left our dog outside until he could contact our vet. We couldn’t let her sleep outside because it was too cold but we didn’t want to risk her being inside and something happening. I crawled into my bed weeping more than I’ve ever wept before in my life.

He worked out with our vet that they would take care of her until we could figure out what to do.

As he and my mom were gathering up her things, I was able to slip outside with my sister (who loved Zelda almost as much as I did) and we were able to say our last goodbyes.

Both me and my youngest sister were very respected by Zelda, she would listen to us better than other people. But even still, she was nipping a little too much and not able to calm down.

It was like she was a different dog. I didn’t get a calm moment with her before my husband took her because I couldn’t get her to calm down.

My husband and his brother in law took her and all her belongings to the vet for the night. And that was the last I saw her.

There were a lot of crises that happened that weekend on top of trying to figure out what to do with our dog. We didn’t want to send her to a shelter where she would be put down in a few months. We’d rather just put her down ourselves so we could be with her in her last moments. But we also didn’t want to put her down period.

Finally a solution came up, there was a shelter an hour away from us; it wasn’t a no-kill shelter, but they spent a long time working with their animals to find them good homes. They don’t give up easy. My husband’s sister had adopted a dog from there who was in the shelter, altogether, over a year.

So almost a week from my child’s birth, my husband was driving our first baby to the shelter by himself. I woke up early and couldn’t sleep. While the rest of my house was sleeping, I called my husband and asked him to tell me everything that was happening and how she was doing.

He said that according to the vet, Zelda wanted to wear her Christmas sweater. The same sweater that normally she hated wearing, she was now whining for it to be put on her. She was comforted by it.

He told me that she was a lot more calm. That he thought she knew that things had to happen this way. And that he knew that she knew she was loved. Especially by me.

He drove her to the shelter in her Christmas sweater. He took pictures of her and him in their last moments. Took her collar from around her neck to bring home to me and left her there. And I cried the whole day.

He told me the whole way home that the workers at the shelter told him that she was such a beautiful sweet dog, she would be snatched up in no-time at all.

And I think they were right. My friend visited the shelter to look at kittens not a month after this happened. And she said that Zelda was not there.

I like to think she has found herself a loving home, a couple with older kids or a single guy. That she is curled up at the feet of someone else who loves her just as much as I did.

I thought she was going to ours forever. And I’m sad that it was only for a time.

I never thought I would be the person to give up on an animal. I never thought I would get rid of my dog when my baby came into the world. And maybe there are people that will read this story and get mad at me; that’s okay, I used to be you!

Just know this. I loved that dog more than I could handle sometimes. I also knew her and her behavior. And her behavior was different that night. Like my mom said, “For the first time I saw her for the animal she is not the baby she was.”

Getting rid of my dog was always a last resort attempt. And that’s what it was that night.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t miss her. But I believe all things happen for a reason, even if you can’t always see it.

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On Kayaking And Other Such Things

The husband, his siblings (and his brother in law) and me climbed aboard a colorful assortment of kayaks and canoes.

Armed with plenty of beer and whiskey we set off on our grand adventure to watch our brother-in-law go fishing.

Along the way we remarked how much we were like the fellowship of the ring.

Beer was spilt, whiskey was swigged and plenty of shenanigans ensued.

The husband’s brother paddled one of the sisters in his canoe while standing up. Then proceeded to accept my challenge to row towards the husband and I’s tandem vessel at “ramming speed.”

Our brother-in-law caught a fish, a tiny one which he then threw into the canoe much to the squealing from the sister sitting inside.

The sun set while we rowed home and us three girls were sure to capture a lot photographic evidence for Instagram.

Once we reached the shore, the husband’s brother declared he was going to jump into the middle of the lake with anyone who wanted to join him.

It was crisp and windy as I went inside debating if I should go. I forgot to pack a swimsuit and all!

But as I stood at the window looking out at the water, I had a realization that this was a moment that I could never get back…besides, my shorts were wet from kayaking anyway.

I flew down to the docks and made it to the canoe just in time.

Me and both my brother in laws set off into the dusky evening.

They rowed us out to the middle of the lake, the sun had just dipped  below the horizon.

A chilly October wind blew across my legs and arms giving me goosebumps.

“Who’s going first?” my husband’s brother asks.

“Ladies first I guess…” says the man who married his sister.

Never one to shy away from a challenge I stood up in the canoe and jumped into the water without a word.

It was cold and shocking to my skin and I surfaced with a squeal!

After getting in one by one, (and figuring out how to climb back in without tipping over) we all jumped in together with shouts and screams of how awesome it was.

We tread water and floated on our backs looking up at the sky.

As it started to get dark, we all climbed back in the canoe, almost sinking it in the process and the guys rowed us home while the breeze nipped at our exposed skin.

When we reached the dock it was dark and cold. I stood shivering in my wet t-shirt and shorts while they tied the canoe to the dock. And after we’d all got back into dry things, our adventuring selves were warmed by some stew a bonfire and s’mores.

And as I went to sleep that night, I knew those were memories that would last a lifetime.

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The Bike Incident

I was talking to the husband about this the other day and it made me laugh so hard that I just had to tell it!

So, me and my family had just moved back in 1999 and a few days after we moved we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to explore.

The whole family sets off; me and my middle sister are on our bikes and my youngest sister is walking with mom and dad.

We haven’t walked terribly far–we get to this steep hill. I decided to ride down the hill really fast because I was an egotistical show-off.

So I let gravity take over; I stick my legs out letting the pedals spin out of control.

At the perfectly timed moment I began to brake and came to a graceful stop at the bottom of the hill.

My middle sister then began to follow suit. She poised her pink bike at the top of the hill. Pink, sparkly, streamers trembled in the breeze; her pink basket and ‘Hello Kitty’ horn were a spectacular symbol of her status.

She takes off, pink helmet askew atop crooked pigtails. Her bike picks up speed, the training wheels rattling.

She takes her feet off the pedals just like I did. We’re all watching her when suddenly things start happening in slow motion it would seem.

Right around the time she should start applying the brakes…she doesn’t. My parents are shouting from the top of the hill and I’m shouting from the bottom of the hill:

“BRAKE!!! Put on your BRAKES!!!”

Slowly, I watch as she speeds past me, legs stuck out to either side, mouth open in a shrill scream, pigtails streaming out behind her.

She zooms down the hill past me, across the road, then off the road and right into a phone pole.

She falls off her bike with a grown and lies wailing in the grass.

Now when things happen fast like that, I freeze and can only observe. Mom and dad run down the hill, my youngest sister is toddling after them and I’m just sitting there on my bike at the stop sign feeling like this is all my fault.

My sister ended up being okay just really embarrassed. But at least she learned a very valuable lesson about gravity!

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