So we got a dog today…almost

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I have wanted a dog for a long time.  Probably about 8 years or so but definitely since we moved into this house 4 years ago.  I had a myriad of pets growing up and am of the belief that all children should have the experience of having at least one pet in their younger years.  I think pets provide companionship and, if insisted upon by a child’s parents, a good dose of responsibility – which let’s be honest all children need to cultivate.

I had great experiences, for the most part, with animals growing up – there really is nothing like the unconditional love a pet provides.  I wanted that for my daughter.  Combine that with the fact that my kid is animal crazy – she loves learning about animals – she loves talking about animals – she loves reading about animals – she just loves animals.  What is funny, however, is that up until about a year ago she was deathly afraid of real live animals – dogs especially.  She would run screaming whenever a real live animal was anywhere near her. And, so I put my dreams of a pet for her on the back burner – there is enough trauma in this life – no need to add to her angst by forcing a dog on the poor child.

Something interesting happened about a year ago – her fear began to recede – she started to approach and even pet dogs when we would see them out and about; and she started to ask for a dog.  A real live dog – a pet of her very own.

At this point, I should tell you, my husband did not have the same positive pet experiences in his past.  The dogs he had, according to his telling of the stories, were second cousins to Cujo.  They were crazy, flesh eating, foam at the mouth, destroy the house dogs. Any time I have ever broached the subject of maybe, some day getting a dog his answer would always be the same – dogs cost $500 a month to maintain (exaggerate much??) and dogs poop in your shoes.  Every time – the same answer – for 8 years of marriage – $500 and poop in the shoes.  I would explain – I don’t want a big dog – I don’t want a greyhound for goodness sake – just a 20-25 lb dog – a small to medium sized dog. An adult dog – no puppies.  Just a regular old fun dog!  $500 and poop in the shoes!

Today we were at a local outdoor market.  The Animal Protective League had a mobile adoption unit out with animals who were available to adopt.  My husband took my daughter and niece to just go look at the cats and dogs, and came back a little while later saying that there were 2 beagles that he would be ok with us looking at to adopt – both were “middle aged”, so out of the puppy phase and both seemed to really be sweet.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!  What??!?!?

I basically ran to the dogs to take a look – I mean after 8 YEARS of $500 and poop in the shoes – for him to initiate even the POSSIBLITY of a dog – I ran.  I took each of the dogs for a walk and they were both doll babies – so friendly and sweet and loving – but one was a little bigger than the other, so after a while we settled on the smaller, female – Breezie.  Isn’t that a great name!?!

We filled out the application – talked about all the vaccinations that had been done, when the next would be due, got a leash –because I don’t HAVE  a dog leash just laying around.  Talked about which vets are good.  What kind of food Breezie prefers.  Arden was literally dancing around squealing she was so happy – I have never seen such joy on her little face.

Our application was approved and we were finishing the paper work – and then it happened.  The main headquarters for the APL text the woman at the mobile unit and said that if we wanted Breezie we had to adopt both her and the other dog – Ace.  You see they were from the same rescue and had to go together or not at all.  The woman at the mobile unit pleaded our case to the headquarter chick – no way we could have two dogs.  These dogs had already been adopted out as a pair twice before and were returned because they were just too much together – maybe it was time for a new tactic.  Nothing worked. This woman, who I totally wanted to hug because she was as distraught as we were about us not getting Breezie – made tons of phone calls and sent text after text to try to get us that sweet dog.  But, alas, it was not to be.

So, after over an hour of paperwork, falling in love, and being heroes to my kid – my husband and I had the great privilege of breaking the bad news.  The face crumple and tears that followed were heart wrenching and pathetic.  I teared up behind my sunglasses as we explained that it was probably for the best – there would be another opportunity to find a dog – we weren’t ready for one today anyway – we will go this week to the shelter to look at what other nice doggies might need a home.

Y’all it was awful!  And to top it all off – I think I am taking it worse.  Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about level 10 – full-out, heart-crushing, tear-inducing, drama-filled devastation…that is what I’m feeling right now.  I am totally pouting.

I am telling myself that it is for the best – maybe Breezie was really Cujo’s first cousin and would have destroyed my home 10 minutes after her arrival.  I am telling myself that I am a planner and we had not planned for a dog today – we weren’t ready – we would have had to run out and buy a ton of stuff that wasn’t in the budget.  I am telling myself that the “no” today was just to ensure that the dog that we are supposed to have doesn’t miss out on the awesomeness of us.

But I am sad.  I had my heart opened and ready to love this little orphaned doggie and I had to walk away from her.  I couldn’t even tell her goodbye because I was afraid I would start blubbering like a fool.

So today was hard and disappointing and sad – BUT there is a dog in my future….maybe not today or tomorrow – but soon – and Breezie made that possible. So thanks for that, sweet dog, and I hope you find a great place with Ace!

Selfish???

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January 24, 2010

When I was 19, I came home from college with a perplexing medical issue.  I had been feeling “off” for several months of my freshman year and some issues had been becoming more and more annoying.  Over the summer, I went to see my family physician to find out what was going on.  I was sure it was just freshman angst and the adjustment of being away from home for the first time.  However, it turned out that I had a significant female issue that had the possibility of being a life-long struggle of fertility.  I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have children…at least not naturally…and that if I wanted to have a family someday it was going to require a significant amount of medication and possibly additional medical intervention. 

At 19, this was really not an issue for me.  I had never really fancied myself a mother and didn’t have dreams of being one in the future.  At this point in my life, I had dreams of being chief of staff to the majority leader in the Senate or a famous political commentator.  I wanted to do big things – I wanted to BE a big thing.  I didn’t want to be a mom or a wife or live in the Midwest or any of the things that this diagnosis deemed difficult if not impossible.  I was ok with it – I had moments of disappointment in the days and months following the doctor’s announcement – but for the most part I was cool.

I finished college and achieved my dream of moving to DC – I lived in the world of politics for 5 years and did things that I had only dreamed of as a political junky in Springfield, IL.  And then 9/11 happened.  The world kind of fell apart for me that day – I saw the plane hit the Pentagon – I experienced the fall out of anthrax and tanks in the streets – I didn’t deal with it well.  Several events conspired to send me back home about a year after that fateful day.  I spent a few years in Champaign and then moved back to Springfield to teach history at the high school I had attended 12 years before. 

While teaching at that school, I met my now husband – that story is long and fantastic and definitely the subject for another blog.  Suffice it to say, we met, fell in love and got married within 5 months.  It was truly magical.  He had been married before and had children from that union. We talked a bit about whether we wanted children of our own together, but I told him of the doctor’s predictions of significant complications should I want a child and we agreed together that children weren’t likely in our future.  We were both good with that decision.

Fast forward a year after our wedding and I discovered much to my surprise that I was pregnant. It was amazing.  I was thrilled. He was thrilled. We were so excited about the coming baby.  Arden Whitney Jones was born in all of her fantastic glory on January 23, 2010.  She was and is a miracle baby that was never supposed to be, but wow are we glad that she IS.

The above story brings me to the topic of today’s blog.  Selfishness.

Shortly after Arden was born many, many, MANY well-meaning friends and acquaintances started to ask when we would be having another baby.  Arden needed a sibling that could be a playmate and confidant. We made such a beautiful little girl, why wouldn’t we give another to the world?

Each time someone would say something like this, I would go into a list of reasons why we couldn’t or wouldn’t be having another baby any time soon – “one is enough”; “we got it so perfect with the first one”; “we want to have some time with this one first” – never the real reason – I am NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A KID!

Once someone, who I know loves me and loves my family, said that to only have one child is selfish – and that our daughter deserves a sibling. Ouch.  And you know, I agree…my child does deserve a sibling to play with – a confidant to tell secrets to – a blood-friend who, even in the years when they would hate each other, will defend her to the end.

In the years after Arden was born I would pray with each cycle that somehow another pregnancy would occur, but it never did.  It has been 6 years since her birth, and she is still my only child.

Terry and I are “older” parents, and we know that Arden will be fairly young when she has to deal with the reality of elderly parents.  I wish she had someone to shoulder that burden with her.  I wish she had a built-in playmate on the days when Mom and Dad just can’t play with her.  I wish she had a little brother or sister to boss around.  Continue reading “Selfish???”

Disappointment

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This is a topic we have been addressing at home a lot lately.  There are so many things that disappoint us – and by “us”, I of course mean my 6 year old.  If a friend is not available to play, she is disappointed. If Mom or Dad can’t drop what they are doing to come running to meet whatever current need she is experiencing, she is disappointed. If she doesn’t get what she wants exactly when she wants, she is disappointed.

There are no degrees of disappointment with her – every disappointment is a level 10 – full-out, heart-crushing, tear-inducing, drama-filled devastation.  We try to navigate each of these with patience and concern, giving the situationally appropriate response to try to train her to recognize that some disappointments are more annoying than life-altering; but it never seems to make much difference.  She hasn’t figured out how to regulate her disappointment.  This may be the most stressing thing about being her parent – how to reason with the unreasonable level of emotion that is attached to every, single, stinking disappointment that comes along! It is quite simply more than I can take some days.

I’ve tried all the cliché statements – “sometimes life isn’t fair”; “everything isn’t about you”; “take a deep breath and think of good things” – I hold the line and stand my parental ground; I don’t cave to begging, bartering, pleading, crying, etc. – but my child is stubborn.  She can wallow in disappointment longer than anyone I’ve ever encountered.  She’ll figure it out one day – she just hasn’t yet.  It is annoying and frustrating and enraging. Continue reading “Disappointment”

A Promise to my Daughter

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You were a miracle from the moment I knew you were coming.  You were not planned for or even considered a possibility and then there was the reality of you.  From that moment, my life has been changed in so many ways.  Gone are the times of thinking of only how my decisions impact me.  Gone are the moments of guilt free laziness that used to fill my Friday nights.  Gone is the lack of empathy for parents whose children struggle to make friends or worry about how their children will succeed in school.  Gone is any moment that doesn’t have you in some part of it.  And I would not change that for anything.

You are the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing on my mind before sleep claims the end of my day.  You are more precious to me than any job, adventure, gift or achievement.  Because of you, I have a new name and a new purpose.  I am your mom, and that title has redefined every goal and direction of my life.

Yesterday, as we lay talking in the backyard, telling fairy tale stories of puppies and rainbow cities, I had a moment of deep awareness that every one of these moments will shape us both.  I want to be more intentional in how I approach these precious times with you, my angel.  I want you to be secure in the knowledge that I do not take these times for granted.  So often, we wait until life throws us tragedy to say the important and eternal things to the ones we love; I don’t want to wait.

So today, on a very ordinary Monday – as you are in school and I am waiting for the moment that I will pick you up and hear all about today’s adventures – I want to take a few moments to make some promises to you.

I promise to love you, unconditionally – no matter what choices you make – good or bad.  I promise to tell you in a loving and constructive way the truth about life and how all of our choices have consequence – both good and bad.  I promise to let you cry and console you when you make bad choices, because you will; and to help you find your way back to what is right.

I promise to help you feel good about yourself.  There are times when you just won’t feel good about yourself – puberty is not a friend to anyone – but in those times, I promise to help you find ways to look at things in a different way so that you are able to hold your head up high and be proud that you are a miracle – a treasure – a woman made in the very image of God.  Continue reading “A Promise to my Daughter”

The little fence that could…again

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Our neighbors put up a fence in the fall. It was an odd looking thing.  The posts were too tall for it and had weird spindle things on top – like someone had bought the left overs of different fence projects and tried to put them together as one. They assembled and set up the whole thing in one day.  It fell down during a storm a couple of weeks later.

A few weeks after the storm, they put the fence back up.  It fell down again during a particularly windy and rainy weekend.

Today they are out in their yard putting the fence up for the third time.  I don’t know about you, but I think this shows a remarkable level of determination. Each time the fence goes up again, the same two guys come over, drag out the same tools, place the posts in the same holes and attach the same fence pieces. It doesn’t appear that they ever dig the post holes deep enough or put enough support around the posts to keep them in.    The fence has never stayed up long enough for them to treat the wood with any type of water protection, so the whole thing will probably rot before they get it to stay up and I’m nearly 100% sure that this fence raising attempt will be as unsuccessful as the last 2.

But each time I spot work being done on the fence, I’m filled with a little bit of sweet hope that this time will be the time of success – that the fence will stand and will stay standing. This time will be the time that no wind or soggy ground will knock it over. This time they have learned the lessons of the last few failures and made the adjustments necessary to make it work. Continue reading “The little fence that could…again”

Yippee Aye Kay

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You aren’t reading that wrong – Yippee Aye Kay, y’all!  This is my little cowgirl and that is how she exclaims her cowgirl joy.

Several months ago, I was watching TV in my bedroom when a strange sound came from the other room. I muted the TV to get a better listen – it was my sweet little girl playing cowgirl…Yippee Aye Kay, Yippee Aye Kay, Yippee Aye Kay, y’all – over and over again she kept hollering her battle cry.  I peeked around the corner to see what actions were accompanying her yelps – she had her cowboy hat on her head and was galloping around the room on her “horse” (a small red broom) – Yippee Aye Kay, Yippee Aye Kay, Yippee Aye Kay, y’all.

Since this episode months ago, she continues to insist that Yippee Aye Kay is the proper phraseology for this exclamation. No amount of explaining that the proper pronunciation is Yippee Ki Yay will sway her.

We don’t watch a lot of 1930s cowboy movies in our home, and I’m fairly certain she has never seen nor overheard Die Hard. To be honest, I really don’t know where she even got the idea for the exclamation; but where ever she got it, I love it!

For one it is hilarious, but more importantly it reminds me that sometimes you just have to say things  your own way in order to make yourself memorable. History is full of writers and orators who intentionally (or unintentionally) “messed up” the proper use of words to make their point.  Shakespeare, Jane Austin, and Yogi Berra to name just a few.

That’s the great thing about language – it is fluid and bendable.  Each year dictionary companies like Webster’s and Oxford, add words to their pages that were developed just through this method of intentionally messing up, smashing together, or flat out creating words that have made their way into the zeitgeist.  Case in point, 2015 saw the addition of “Awesomesauce” (which my spell check still underlines as wrong) to the Oxford dictionary.

I’m a grammar fanatic, but even my obsession with correct speech is rendered useless in the face of a truly inspired bungling of the English language when said bungling is done to great affect. So, get out there and mess around with language.  Mix metaphors and dangle participles.  English can handle it, and you might just introduce the new “Awesomesauce” to the world.

So with that being said…

“I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.” ~ Yogi Berra

And Yippee Aye Kay, y’all!

 

 

In Defense of History

Do you like to look at pictures of your family holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc.?

Do you like to talk about experiences you have had?  Trips you have taken?  Games you have won?  Games you have lost? Goals you have achieved?

Do you keep a journal, diary, notebook filled with your daily activities and happenings?

Do you keep a schedule or calendar where you place dentist appointments, dinner plans with friends, trips to be taken, places to go?

Do you hang artwork of your children from magnets on your refrigerator door?  Do you pack away precious examples of their hands in plaster or finger paint?

Did you keep your wedding dress wrapped in tissue paper and vacuum packed to prevent it from yellowing with age?

Does any sentence you’ve ever uttered start with the words…”remember that time we…”?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions – you do not hate nor are you disinterested in history.  Continue reading “In Defense of History”

Joy in the Journey

Mount VesuviusNearly 9 years ago, my sister and I took a trip to Europe.  We were both single at the time with no romantic relationships on any near horizon.  At this point in our adult lives, we had travelled together several times and had developed a pattern of assigned day planning.

It went something like this – we would get together and plan where and when we were going to travel, bargain hunt until we found the mode of transportation and an agreeable itinerary (which for two sisters who are about as opposite as two can be was definitely the biggest challenge) and schedule our trip.  From there would come months of planning, trips to the library and book stores for travel guides, PBS documentaries (ala Rick Steves) about our decided destination, and some talk about trying to do it all on $40 a day, which never came to fruition.  Then out would come the itinerary calendars – we would divvy up the days of the planned trip and each sister would have full planning rights to her assigned day.

For this particular trip to Europe, we had planned a Mediterranean cruise departing from Barcelona and stopping at several ports – Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence and Nice – each stop has its own special memories, but today I’d like to spend some time on the Naples portion of our trip.

In 2007, Italy was experiencing one of the hottest and most humid summers on record.  Each day was close to 100 degrees with almost unbearable humidity percentages – it was miserable.  But we were in Italy for heaven’s sake, so we were going to make the most out of each moment of this trip!  Suck the marrow out of every experience!  Vivere la vita al Massimo!  (Live life to the fullest for all my non-Italian speaking friends – yes I looked that up!) Continue reading “Joy in the Journey”

My new writing adventure

Hello all and welcome to my new project!  I’ve been writing for over 30 years – because when you go to Kindergarten, they teach you how to do that – and I’ve always enjoyed it.  I like words and I like to share words with others.  For many years I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book.  I think most people who enjoy reading and writing fancy themselves wannabe authors at one time or other and I am really no different. From time to time I will write a few paragraphs that I throw out on Facebook and will get a nice response from one of my encouraging friends that goes something like “I love the way you write! You should really write a book.”, and I respond as all of us do when someone speaks the words that you have said in your head but have never had the guts to give out loud voice to – “oh not me, you’re too kind, what would I write about…blah, blah, blah”.

In May of 2015, I took a huge step and left full time employment to become a stay at home mommy to my then 5 year old.  There were many reasons for this decision and a lot of things I wanted to do in this new chapter (no pun intended) of my life, but in the back of my mind and in some very general conversations with friends and family I kicked around the idea that now I would have some time to actually write something.  Nearly 10 months have passed since I made the move to SAH status, and while I have journaled a bit and posted random things on Facebook when the mood strikes, I’ve never actually started to write anything tangible.  There are many reasons for this – I really don’t know what I want to write – what type of book do I want to put out there; I haven’t made time to actually sit down and write even if I don’t know what it is that I want to write; and fear.

Well, the time for excuses has passed.  I start this blog with the intent to have a place to put fingers to keys and say something.  I don’t know where it will lead.  I think the first several attempts will fail as I attempt to focus in on a writing direction – but I need to start somewhere and this seems like a good place to start.

So, if you’d like to join me on this adventure, I’d love to have you.  I hope some things I have to say will be interesting, some entertaining, some thought provoking, some funny, but over all that each entry will be a brick in the yellow brick road towards a finished project.

Thanks for your interest and feedback!

 

April Jones

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