I began my day on the floor, next to Cassidy, my tears dripping on the softest fur a dog has ever had. That’s why we picked her, you know. In a litter of 11 beautiful black labs, she was different, wearing a lavender ribbon around her neck with fur that could only be described as fluffy. A dozen years later, her coat remains a marvel of softness.
Cassidy has been the only dog my boys have known. In her younger years, she was my cross-country skiing buddy, joyfully covering miles of the golf course with me each winter. For a number of years, we rented a house on the Cape which welcomed pets and Cassidy was a regular at the nearby pond, diving under the water to retrieve rocks. She has been a wonderful, wonderful pet.
In recent days, she has not been herself. There have been messy episodes which have required copious amounts of Nature’s Miracle to eliminate. Her appetite has been compromised and I scheduled a visit for the vet. My youngest, Q, asked to accompany me to the appointment. I hesitated, not knowing what the diagnosis might be, nor how he would respond to the bad news I anticipated. He earnestly told me this: “I’ve taken some punches, Mom. I’ve had up times and down times. I’ll be ok.” He came with me.
The visit was as expected. It seems that our girl has a tumor in her abdomen, more than likely cancer. She probably is experiencing some internal bleeding. I’m crying now. The vet gave me some medication to help with her bowels. He said to feed her whatever she wants to eat and to take her home any enjoy her. We’ll know when she needs us to let her go.
I made Cassidy turkey risotto this morning. I can’t stop looking at her resting peacefully and wondering how many more mornings I’ll awake to find her sleeping on the stained carpet at the foot of my bed.
No matter how hard you prepare yourself, the punch to the gut of losing a beloved pet always hurts. Even when your child dries your tears and tells you everything is going to be fine.
Somehow I’ve come to be perceived as the epitome of the gay divorcée. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but I think this article may provide some insight. You see, I intuitively do many of the things the article suggests.
Life isn’t always easy or joyful or simple. What I try to remind myself of is this: regardless of how I’m feeling or whether I’m struggling or not, life continues moving forward. I can’t control that. What I can try to manage though is how I’m going to approach the challenges with which I am faced and so, I choose happiness.
Being divorced isn’t something I ever imagined being. It wasn’t really part of the plan, you know? I’ve learned, however, that some things are intended to be full length works, while others are merely a series of short stories. I’m okay with chapters, both in literature and in life. I suppose that would be me embracing items 4, 6 and 10 on that list.
Since my divorce I have been much more creatively active. I write like a fiend and both my writing and my photos have been publicly shared. Somehow I’ve turned into a runner and have become more physically fit than I had ever imagined being. I guess that’s kind of embodying numbers 2 and 7, isn’t it? Isn’t there something you’ve been wanting to do or try? What are you waiting for?
Life’s big decisions can be fraught with fear and what ifs, but I guess I’d rather risk failing at something new than stay in a losing situation. The unknown can certainly be scary, but if you shift your view ever so slightly, scary might just become exhilarating. Item 5 – check.
My relationship wasn’t necessarily “bad” but the circumstances didn’t allow me to be the best me I could be, which, I suppose, was “bad” for me. I think that my ex and I both are being good to ourselves during the times we are childless. That would take care of 1 and 3 on the list, I think.
Numbers 8 and 9 don’t really apply to me. My definition of success has never really been tied to ambition or financial accomplishments. When it comes time to memorialize me, all I hope for is to be remembered for having had a nice family and a life filled with love and experiences. I’ve always been moderate about my indulgences and that has not changed. I try to remain aware of how my body and mind are responding to what I’m ingesting and adjust accordingly.
Choose happiness. There’s plenty to go around.
In the last few years, my perspective has changed dramatically. Once upon a time, I believed that all my decisions had been made and the future held only more stagnation. It was like I was a participant in some organized game with the only object being to “land” on particular spaces in a mostly consistent order. You know, college – travel – meet – marry – have beautiful babies – focus all attention and assets on the growing children – feel alone in the chaos – stay quiet and still.
Once that game ended, I could have easily been cast adrift, but I’m not really a rudderless kind of woman. Instead, I’ve been discovering parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Life has changed so much! I’ve been challenging myself physically and have felt myself being pushed creatively and professionally like never before. I feel alive every day.
The comforts of yesterday have been knocked off my personal map by new waves of inspiration and excitement and I no longer wake up and wonder what’s on the other side of the ocean. Instead, I look around and see the sky, the sun, the moon, the light, the clouds…all sorts of things which compel me to want to look closer and explore.
I can’t speak for Columbus, but, for me, it is definitely about the journey.
From Louise Erdich:
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
- The Painted Drum
Go eat some apples – now.
…not the gifts. Although, they’re lovely and thoughtful and it can be so fun to unwrap surprise packages. Most of the time, that is. But, when all is said and done, it is truly all about the people with whom we are lucky enough to spend time.
For countless years, I feel as if I have had the best birthday ever, each year. How incredible is that? I’ve said it before, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it remains true – I am a simple person. I do appreciate daily luxuries like great soap and delicious coffee or a pair of Frye boots that I can wear for 20 years. But, truly, stuff isn’t all that important to me however, people…well, now you’re talking.
Friday night my favorite running friends spent the evening easing me into my birthday weekend. We laughed and ran under a big moon, and talked. Then we cleaned up, went out and toasted our strength, our good health, our years of life.
We were joined by one of my oldest friends, a woman who I have been fortunate enough to grow up with for the last 30+ years. She had driven nearly two hours to be with me as I made the joyful leap into a new year. We shared memories and hugs and laughter.
Our designated driver took us to Wolff’s Biergarten and even indulged my whim to go to a second spot, not because I needed another drink, but because I just didn’t want the night to end. The contribution he made to my perfect night should not be minimized. There was thoughtfulness, care and love, none of which can be presented in a package, no matter the size. Me, the reputed “difficult to take care of,” had been thoroughly taken care of.
The merging of three different areas of my life, the active, the established and the emotional was the perfect way to close out my 46th year and herald a new year of living. No bow or wrapping required.
Yet another benefit of drinking – flower boxes!
Screw Hallmark – as far as I’m concerned, May 5th was my ideal Mother’s Day. No matter what happens next Sunday, I will cherish the day I had, from the scandalously late start to the fortified-with-an-afternoon-nap late ending – perfect! Let me be a little more specific…
Saturday night, I shot a SEEN gallery down at Prime 677. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and it was a lovely event. The food was spectacular and the folks at Empire Wines rallied the troops to put on an extraordinary wine tasting. It’s been noted by some astute Times Union readers that whenever an event involves wine, I’m usually there. Guilty as charged.
I got home from the party working at about 10:30 only to find my little guy desperately upset that he had been denied a ‘s’more from the neighbor’s party, a situation I was able to correct with a soothing shower and some ice cream. Tucking him in at such a late hour gave me the first gift of Sunday – he slept until 10:00, which gave me an incredibly quiet morning. Soft music, strong coffee and the paper comprise my personal morning bliss trifecta. So far, so good.
After the boys departed at noon for their Dad’s, I got busy in the front yard with mulch and some annuals. The sun was glorious, birds were chirping and the simple joy of getting a little dirty made my heart sing. I had a mid afternoon visit from the person I most love spending time with and the day moved along at a pace that was completely enjoyable. I accomplished some other chores, including eating a fantastic lunch salad, and punctuated the afternoon with an indulgent nap on clean sheets. But, wait – there’s more.
Caesar salad with shaved Romano and grilled asparagus
As the day cooled down a bit, I tied on my running shoes and hit the streets for a 5-mile lap through the neighborhood. I had intended to go a bit further, but contented myself with not pushing myself too hard and tried to just enjoy myself. Done. A shower, a quick visit with the neighbors for a glass of wine and then home again for finale of the only reality show I would ever want to be on, The Amazing Race, and I was in bed by 10:15, thoroughly relaxed and satisfied with my day.
There weren’t any tulips or handmade crafts, but nonetheless it was a lovely day with a wonderful mix of boys, friends, productivity, relaxation and good food and wine. Mother’s Day 2013 is a done deal, as far as I am concerned. Any additional gifts are truly unnecessary, although I do have a fondness for the imperfectly made card along with a hankering for a French lilac bush. Just saying.
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- He knows the difference between the Beach Boys and the Beastie Boys. Bonus: He prefers the Beasties!
- His sense of humor is sophisticated and constant – and
(more than) occasionally inappropriate. His brothers and parents are probably equally to blame.
- He has seen every single James Bond movie and can tell you which actor played 007 in each. For the record, he’s a Roger Moore fan.
- He asks awesome questions . For instance: “How old would the Wright Brothers be if they were still alive?” and ” Who is the one who made up shoes?”
- His taste in music far exceeds his age and he has favorite songs by a diverse range of bands including the Rolling Stones, the Black Keys and Foster the People.
- He still gives me kisses, holds my hand and tells me he loves me. That makes for one sweet boy.
- Speaking of sweet, he shares his thoughts freely. My most recent favorite thing he said: “Mom, your lips taste like cupcakes.”
- His interest in history, people and places is kind of exhausting, but the sincerity of his curiosity never fails to charm.
Happy 8th birthday to Quinn Padraig! The world would be incomplete without him.