A Letter to Boogie

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Dearest Boogie,

I remember the day you came into our lives.  You crept so timid, and hungry into our back yard.   I thought you were a puppy because you were so small, and I thought you were brown because you were so dirty.     We fed you and cleaned you and you became part of our family.

I remember you first trip to the vet when they said, “She has heartworms.  It is going to be expensive to treat,” and we said, “FIX THE DOG.”

Remember the trip to the Grand Canyon with Mommy and Daddy?   Not every dog gets to go to the Grand Canyon.     We took you with us everywhere and I will never regret that time spent with you.

I remember your second trip to the vet when they reminded us that you could get pregnant, and we said, “FIX THE DOG.”

Remember all the things you destroyed?   Those three sets of blinds weren’t too bad, but that garage door was expensive.  How did you eat the wiring out of the wall?  I don’t know how you destroyed a metal panel from your kennel, but you managed handily.  Oh, and thanks for destroying the curtains, downstairs door and carpet at mom’s house.   That was a nice check I had to write.

That is nothing compared to your capacity to hoard hidden foodstuffs.  Remember taking that whole loaf of garlic bread off the counter?  You hid it in Daddy’s closet and he called it your “Strategic Garlic Bread Reserve”.  That wasn’t quite as bad as the time I had a ten pound sack of raw chicken thawing in the sink and came home to NO chicken.    I found raw cutlets shoved under pillows and in laundry hampers for an unfortunately long time.     I was really amazed that you learned how to open the dishwasher so you could use it as a ladder to the countertop.  You were such a smart dog.

Remember how we loved you SO much that two people who swore they would never have children decided to give it a try.    Dearest girl,  I owe my second and third baby to you.   I know there were times that you were a little jealous, but you were such a good big sister.   I love how even when you were dying that you insisted on doing the stairs every night to put them to bed.

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Thank you for sticking with me through both pregnancies and cuddling me at night.   You got up with me every time I had to pee or throw-up and went with me to the bathroom.  I will never forget that kindness my love.

Remember the first time your pancreas flared six months ago?   They said, “We can give her medicine but it is going to be expensive,” and we said, “FIX THE DOG.”

I will miss giving you belly and face rubs.   I will miss feeling your beautiful silky ears.     Remember how you inspired Dr. Pepper to get his own dog and LuckyPup instantly fell in love with you and thought you were his mommy?   I don’t know how I am going to tell LuckyPup about this.   I still haven’t told your sisters.

Remember that phase before having human babies when Mommy wanted to dress you up all the time?  You were so tolerant.

You were our first baby and Daddy’s first dog, and I am pretty sure you were the best dog in the world.

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I am sorry that when they told me yesterday that it was liver cancer, that I couldn’t answer, “FIX THE DOG.”   I am sorry if you suffered a moment longer than necessary because mommy wanted to spend more time with you.   I am sorry that it has been hard for you to eat and drink for the last few days.  We just wanted to spend a few more moments with you, precious girl.  I will always appreciate that couple of days where you felt good and chased the gator like a pup and played with me again.

I know my father in heaven and I will see you again sweet puppy.  Say hi to Papa and Sammy Short Legs Daddy and all the people we love and miss.    I will be with you someday.

 

Love,

Mommy

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A Joyful Moment

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There are wonderful, priceless times in our lives. These are times that we are carefree and joyous; times were the bad things in life don’t seem so large. When I was young, it was easy to overlook these times and not recognize what a blessing they were.   As I get older, when I have one of these transient life-moments of delight interspersed between the moments of pain, it is easier to distinguish it as the glimpse into heaven that it is meant to be.

When I was in medical school, we lived in the University Cabana Apartments, affectionately known as Cabanaland.   This was not some pre-professional school luxury condo.   This was a section eight apartment complex in Memphis.   Let me say that again so it can sink in. It was a section eight apartment in Memphis.   Also, this complex had eight foot fences with razor wire around the top, and an ACTUAL moat around it.   Okay, so maybe it wasn’t an actual moat as much as it was a giant culvert going around the whole property to drain overflow sewage from the city, but it did make me feel marginally safer from outside marauders. There was also a twenty-four hour armed security guard at the gate.

One sunny afternoon, Hipster Doctor found a bag of crack and money on our adjacent front porch.   She, being the good Samaritan that she is, turned this over to the security guard (who incidentally was later fired for being found high in one of the public bathrooms on the property. I think there is a possible connection here, but I cannot be sure.)   I think I would have flushed the crack and kept the money (considering my husband and I were living on about $9500 annually).   One of the neighbors (a self-professed cocaine aficionado) came by all the time to borrow our phone (this was the day of land lines).

I miss lovely summer evenings at the Cabanas when a string of tricked out Caddys, Buicks and Cutlasses would come pick up a parade of scantily-clad, deftly made-up young women for their evening employment.

So you may ask, “What was so great about being poor in a section eight housing unit in Memphis filled with crime, drugs and hookers?”   This is a valid question.   No argument, but let me tell you what else the Cabanas featured.   Hubby’s sister, Aunt Panda, my brother, Dr. Pepper, Wild Pharmacist, Italian Stallion, Tim The Overly Italian Optometrist, The Librarian, Art Student, Hipster Doctor, Insane Newscaster (story to follow at eleven), and Evil Genious all lived at the Cabanas.

Every single one of my friends at the time lived in Cabanaland.   There was always someone to go to dinner, or a movie, or for a walk at any time.   There was constant entertainment at a moment’s notice. Impromptu parties abounded, and someone always had a video game system fired up somewhere.   I was too naïve at the time to realize that this was magical and something that most people don’t experience.   I didn’t know that for the rest of my life I would have to work to socialize and plan for a party.   It was about the last couple months as we were graduating and it was coming to an end that it hit me that this time in life was a gift from God. It was my support during a difficult time, giving me good memories and fun times to sustain me. When it was over, I mourned these times.

As I have grown in age and wisdom, I have come to distinguish these enchanted times in my life. As I was getting ready for church last week, I was standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair.   My daughters were dressed in beautiful matching outfits. Z was dancing around in a sunbeam from the window with motes of dust sparkling in the air singing, “Mommy, look, sparkly!”, while Baby Bird was army crawling after her and shrieking with laughter.   As I watched her exultant expression, sun shining on her hair, so delighted in this discovery that we have all experienced of the beauty of dust dancing in the sun, it hit me with a force that took my breath away that this is one of those joyful moments.   I am drowning in joy.

I wish I could bottle these moments of my daughters laughing and playing as sweet chubby babies to sustain me in sad times to come.   I wish I could freeze them like this. I know there are times to come when I am not their hero.   There are times to come when they won’t greet me at the door with screams of excitement.

Now I know a joyful moment when I see one.   These days are a gift from my Father, and my Father only gives good gifts.   James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. All praise to the one who knows my heart and crafts these perfect moments just for me.

Letter to Baby Bird

Dearest Baby Bird,

                You are unlovable. I am now four months, three weeks and two days into my captivity. I have been held hostage in my home by a tiny despot. This eleven-pound tyrant controls what I eat, when I sleep, and where I go.

                It started with pregnancy. My pregnancy with you was horrible. I was tired, all the time, sick, depressed. I assumed, wrongly, that once you were born that the situation would improve. After all, maternity leave with your sister was like vacation. She started sleeping through the night in a couple of weeks, hardly ever made a peep. I wasn’t like those parents who had babies that didn’t sleep and screamed in the restaurant. I had this parenting thing down. And then you came along, and shattered my preconceived notions.

                You have never slept through the night. In fact, I asked Daddy yesterday if he could remember the last time that you slept more than two hours at a stretch, and he couldn’t. Neither can I. Fortunately for Daddy, in the middle of the night you refuse to take a bottle and you only want Mommy. Yet still, I love you.

                You scream like a banshee any time we put you in the car for the ride that was supposed to soothe you to sleep. Forget going out in public anywhere. That is a thing of the past. I am sure I would be arrested if I took you to a restaurant, and I am unwilling to hazard the annoyed glares of other patrons anyways. Yet still, I love you.

                You always smell like spoiled milk, because you vomit up anything I put in your mouth to include the rice cereal, oatmeal, karo syrup, gas drops, reflux medication and everything else that everyone has assured me will calm your irritable tummy. Sometimes you vomit more than I have shoved into your mouth, and it doesn’t seem possible that you could contain that much puke. I have gone through every one of your sleepers in two hours, and the bedding, and every burp cloth, and all the towels. I am constantly doing laundry. Yet still, I love you.

                Daddy and I are never going to have a date again. You often scream from the time I get home until the next morning with just an hour or two of sleep in the interim. I am really not sure when you sleep. You don’t sleep for Nanny either. Surely you must be tired. I trust Nanny with you because of her infinite patience, but even she has her limits. Daddy has suggested hiring a sitter to watch you, but I think of the hours of screaming at the top of your lungs and how frustrated I am with you. I consider the prospect of leaving you with someone who does not love you. I think of how they may not be kind to you, and so we must miss yet another action movie on the big screen (the only way to watch it according to Daddy). Yet still, I love you.

                This love for you has taught me a lot about myself and about God. You are not loveable right now, but I love you anyway like a compulsion. It is like a wave crashing down on me drowning in my love for you. One of my biggest struggles as a Christian is not in believing the existence of God, or Christ, but in understanding that the God of the universe is aware of my existence, much less that He loves me.

                For you see dear Baby Bird, I am unlovable. I fail daily. I am unkind to others. I gossip. I am spiteful and prideful and rejoice in the misfortunes of others at times. I am not a perfect mother, and get frustrated with my beautiful daughters who are a daily gift from Him. How can He love me when I fall so short of His expectations?

                At three in the morning when you wake up for the fifth time since I have placed you in your crib, you smile at me. The warmth that rushes over me gives me a glimpse into the other side. I can just begin to understand how He loves me.   Thank you for that Baby Bird.

 

Love MommyIMG_20140225_140802_823

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