BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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My Empty Nest

Urban birds nest isolated on white.

I didn’t want to write about it. Writing makes me think, and this is something that is painful to think about. Okay, so maybe that seems melodramatic, but it’s how I feel. The little boy that I raised is no longer a little boy, and he’s no longer here. What’s worse is that little boy will never return. Ouch.

I know he’s a young man now and he’s where he is supposed to be.

I know he has a good head on his shoulders and I trust him to make good decisions, at least most of the time.

I know that this separation is not only normal, but desirable. He’s supposed to move on. I get it. But it still stings.

The other day I was packing my lunch for work and it dawned on me that I couldn’t recall the last time I packed him a lunch. He’s eighteen, a freshman in college, and quite self-sufficient. When did that happen? When was the last time I made him a sandwich, placed it in a ziplock bag in a lunch box, added raisins, carrots, and a granola bar, then a juice box and ice pack to combat the Arizona heat? Did he enjoy those lunches? Did he prefer strawberries or apple slices? Wheat thins or triscuits? Why can’t I remember?

Why can’t I remember the last time I read him a bedtime story or tucked him in? Why can’t I remember the last time I brushed his teeth or gave him a bath? I did all of those things hundreds and hundreds of times, but I don’t know when I stopped doing them. Why didn’t I pay closer attention? Now he’s gone, and it’s never going to be quite the same.

If getting divorced and ending up in a joint custody situation has had any upside, it’s this: at least I know how to survive without him. Those first few years were hell. Every time he was away from home was absolutely heart wrenching to me. When you have children and a marriage ends, joint custody is the norm, unless there’s a problem with one of the parents. In our case I had my son most of the time, but his father saw him weekly and kept him every other weekend. It was important that their relationship remained as intact as possible, given the circumstances.

My head understood this and supported it completely, but my heart was wounded deeply. I felt cheated out of my right to have my child by my side. How could I mother him if he wasn’t there? I hated it, but learned to live with it. That adjustment has been a life saver now.  I learned to trust that he was okay when he was away, and that if he needed me he had the means and opportunity to reach out to me. That hasn’t changed. I’m here if he needs me, but I’m confident that he’s okay.

Still, there are times I want that little kid back. The one I sang to at night, the one who made mini-golf courses in his bedroom and left his socks all over the house. I miss that kid, and I always will, but the young man he’s become is pretty great too, so I choose to focus on the here and now, and look toward the future.

 

 


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This Dog

IMG_0968This dog saved us. My son and I were reeling from life’s twists and turns, and we were trying to figure out how to be a family of two. I was also trying to figure out how to be a mother to a son who couldn’t always be with me. It was gut wrenching and stressful, but we forged ahead, what choice did we have? We were there for each other, but we were still hurting our own separate hurts.

Then it happened. We met this dog. I wanted an older dog, one who already had some training and wasn’t as high energy. House training and chewing and all the puppy stuff seemed totally overwhelming, so no puppies for us. It seemed like a good plan. We also needed a dog that was cat friendly.

We went to a local rescue organization and we walked the rows. Several animals were too large or too small or not cat friendly. Then there were those that were listed as high energy, so we took a pass on them, too. Finally, at the end of the row there was this dog.

She was adorable. She was listed as moderate energy and unknown with cats. We took her out in the play yard where she was interested in us, but not overly so. We took her into the cat area, where she was very curious, but not aggressive. We took a look at her intake sheet and learned that she was only 8 moths old and had already been returned by another family. Before that, the rescue had pulled her from the county shelter where she was slated to be euthanized. She was healthy and beautiful, how could that be?

We adopted her and she peed in the car on the way home. She also barked the whole way. Loudly. My friend met us at home, and off to the pet store we went, purchasing about $200 worth of supplies. That was on top of her (not cheap) adoption fee. Then, on top of all of that, I signed us up for obedience classes. This dog was going to need to bond with us, and what better way than through classes?IMG_0665

We took this dog home, and found out very quickly that she was insane. Barking, jumping, cat chasing, you name it. The mantra, “she’s only a puppy” went through my head all the time. Patience was the key to working with this dog. We took walk after walk after walk to burn off energy. Over time she became easier to live with. We kept going to training, and we found ourselves enjoying her company more and more.

Funny thing about her arrival, she showed up at a time of upheaval and stress. She created more of both, but by doing that she took the focus off the problem of the demolition of my marriage and family. She became the most urgent stressor, and therefor the one that we gave our energy to. I think that helped us heal more quickly.

This dog has been a wonderful dog. She has outgrown most of her crazy, although she is still cat insane (the kitties have found a nice new home together, and we are now a cat free household). This dog is sweet and loyal and loving. This dog is the reason I walked for miles and miles when my divorce was making me crazy, helping me to clear my head and exercise my body. This dog is a love and a joy, and I’m so glad we have her.


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This Dog

Pool_Puppy_0509I just wrote, and lost, a long post about this dog. I wrote about how she came into our lives and about how crazy she was. I wrote about how she saved us when we thought we were saving her. This dog has been my therapy, but even better, she has been my son’s friend. I love this dog, and I’m glad she’s ours.