Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A little gift

On Christmas morning, we had the traditional raucous early morning shenanigans with the boys. Joy was delivered. Fun was delivered. 

When the dust settled some, Lee went out to ride his bike, the boys spread out to build new Lego sets and play new video games, and Lee's parents headed to our next destination, Richmond. I sat in my pjs in the living room, drinking coffee and contemplating Christmas, and in my peripheral vision I saw an ornament fall off the tree and float down. It was a school special - foam casing and holiday photo, so no breaking occurred.

It was the last Christmas ornament made by Connor which fell. In it, he is wearing a Santa hat and beard.

I carefully picked it back up, said hello and Merry Christmas, and put him back on the tree. Then I sat back down and contemplated visits from heaven, and was overwhelmed with all the feelings one should have when your windless living room has an ornament fall off a tree when I am there, and sipped my coffee and managed not to cry.

Overall, it was a magical Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Jackaversary!

A year ago, we were approved to adopt a dog. We emailed the foster family, and got back an email once we set a time that said, "I'll pack up his food and find the shark."

I mean, could this dog be ANY more suited to our family. He loves sharks, like Lee! The first weekend was a raucous and joyful time, and at the end of each day he curled up on the sofa, exhausted from learning his new home.  

We've given him a bunch of nicknames this year.  Here's a brief list:
Commodore Snorington
The Pooh

Within the first week, he managed to open the garbage and consume a chicken carcass and then get stuck under the deck, in the dark.  Now we always take the garbage out as soon as dinner is done when we have a rotisserie chicken, and we have a lock on the cabinet where the trash is. And he remembers not to clamber under the deck

Also within the first week, he snookered us into letting him sleep on the bed with us. Very occasionally, he sleeps with one of the boys, but most nights he's curled up at my feet, and when I wake up in the morning he has stretched up alongside me. He goes out, but then comes back up and snuggles with me, as if he knows that getting up in the morning is always the hardest thing I have to do every day. I can coast once the day starts, but getting out of bed, facing that I have to get through another day when I'm just not feeling it. He puts his head on my chest and looks at me like I am the greatest thing he has ever seen (including a chicken carcass.) He is my dog. Our prior dog, Shadow, was Lee's dog, despite me being the one who adopted her. Jack picks me, every time. I very selfishly love it.

We have an unknown number of years left with this dog, who is energetic and sweet and gentle and snuggly and a scavenger and smart and an absolute perfect fit. We're going to make every single moment of those years count. Someday, I'll be laying my head on his chest, and looking at him like he is the greatest thing I have ever seen, because he will be old, and frail, and fading, and I need him to know that he helped us become stronger as a family when life was really, really rough. 


Sometimes, if you think about it, the world is a pretty tumultuous place. I mean, we are barraged nowadays with bad news. Paris. San Bernadino. Politicians attacking citizens, Americans, because of their faith.  It's easy to feel rolled over.

This past weekend, I headed out to sit around and watch movies and commiserate with one of my oldest friends. She's an anchor to me, and as I drove the three hours home I started thinking about anchors as a positive thing. Because if you are really, really lucky, like a large ship or even a supertanker, you have multiple anchors. When you need those anchors, you reallyneed them. They steady you in the storm, and keep you from getting as battered as you would if you were bobbing along.

So with all the tumult going on, let's remember where our anchors are, and let them know we are their anchors as well.  The parent or parents you rely on. The siblings you don't live with or near any more. The friends in your particular village. The friends from your history who remember who you were and how you got to where you are.

Find your anchors and take care of them.