dog

And Then Along Came Meg

​In case it isn’t obvious, my hands are full. My kids, my home, my running, I have plenty to do.  I didn’t really need anything else on my plate. But I wanted a puppy.  For selfish reasons, really. Because I adore Abbi, and her companionship is integral to my day. Though she’s still young, I have had a creeping fear of losing her and of the horrible void that would leave. Her mortality paralyzed me with fear. I knew that I couldn’t abide the void she would eventually leave. 

So, along came Meg. Meg is a feisty, naughty, stubborn dachshund. And she’s perfectly wonderful. 

The joy I feel when I pick her up and she wiggles all over and snuffles at me, well, it’s just about as wonderful as the joy I feel when I remove Abbi’s leash and watch in awe as she bounds off into the woods, with more grace and beauty than my heart can hold. 

I never knew I was a dog person. We had cats growing up, and I loved them too, so I assumed that I wasn’t a dog person because I was a cat person. As an adult we don’t have cats because of allergies, and come to find out, I’m a dog person too. 

And now, with my two sweet, and totally opposite dogs filling my home and heart, I recognize what a void I had in my life without Meg.  And now that void is overflowing with joy. 

running

What Do Running and Dishwashers Have in Common?

I had to empty the dishwasher this morning.  It’s one of the approximately every single indoor chores that I abhor.


So, this morning, feeling inspired, I decided to see if I could get the dishwasher (minus the silverware) empty by the time my Keurig finished brewing my coffee.  And you know what?  It was darn close, and that was with Ben’s interruptions (because we don’t go 2 straight minutes without Ben needing something around here.)  So this is where any other mommy blogger would tell you to gain new perspective on your chores and realize how blessed you are.

Not this girl.

I realize that I’m fortunate to have a dishwasher (albeit a hand-me-down from my grandma).  I realize that chores don’t take as long as they often feel like they take.  I get all of that, and I still loathe chores.

I start to wonder if it’s not the chores that sink me, but the drudgery of modern life that they represent.  We have sunk everything into having houses and conveniences, and then we become slaves to them.  And I don’t know how to get out.

I yearn for a life rich in experiences, not bogged down in a daily to do list that serves as a ball and chain, but for the life of me I cannot figure it out.

I wonder if I would feel so trapped if I lived a “Little House on the Prairie” life, or perhaps if I had a tiny house with only a fraction of the material commitment.  I don’t rightly know.
I wonder if the American Dream has become one of those dreams where you try to run for your life, only to feel like your legs are sandbags moving through quicksand.

And I realize that there’s almost nothing I could do to change any of it.

And so I run.  I run because it’s a taste of freedom, of unfettered movement, of discarding the shackles of everyday life, if even for a brief while, to connect with a deeper meaning and a simpler existence.  And I run barefoot, and on trails.  I become one with the biosphere, and live fully in the moment, not trying to escape or defeat the present reality.  Not always, but often, it’s enough to carry me through the mundane days and years, and fill me with the abundance of life that I crave.

parenting · writing

What is Your True Genius, and How Will It Be Revealed?

I was reading a book of quotes today and this one caught my attention. I redacted the word hosts, because I believe it applies nearly universally. 

While I guess navigating complex medical and developmental issues isn’t a mishap, it has unveiled my true genius. I’ve gotta tell you, I’m a freaking rockstar when the chips are down. 

I’m prone to laziness and half-assery, except when a fire is lit under me, and it takes either pressure or passion to light that fire. What could induce more pressure than a child you love in need?

I suppose you could even say I’m a superhero. You know, Clark Kent, just hanging around in my dopey glasses. Unnoticeable and more than a bit awkward and backwards. 

But Lord help me, when that fire ignites nothing short of Kryptonite will slow me down. 

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d had 2.3 typical children. Would I ever have found my cape?  

As Neville in the Harry Potter series, I was always plagued with self doubt. What am I made of?  Will I be able to stand when life falls apart?  I long suspected that when trials arose it would go down like that gym class baseball game where I finally managed to connect with the ball and make a base hit (after striking out dozens of times) just to have that cute, popular guy behind me hit a home run and lap me before I rounded third base.  (I still relive that day in my nightmares). 

Though I hate that we’ve had to endure godawful trials, but standing here, looking at the stalwart confidence that resulted when life’s mishaps demanded my genius, I can pause and acknowledge that it was the valleys, not the peaks that sparked my evolution. 

parenting · special needs parenting

You Know You’re A Parent of a Special Needs Child When…

It’s not that any one of these things doesn’t apply to our typical counterparts, it’s like the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), when a certain number of items apply, you meet criteria for diagnosis. 

  1. Your recent calls consist entirely of doctors and teachers. 
  2. You commonly use so much medical or educational (or both) jargon that your friends can’t always keep up. 
  3. You feel like you continuously educate people about your child. 
  4. You can manage doctor appointments and school meetings like a boss. 
  5. You alternate between feeling like you need a superhero cape and like you just need a hot bath and a nap. 
  6. You’ve spent hours on the phone with your insurance company advocating for coverage. 
  7. You could have honorary degrees in several fields. 
  8. People wonder how you do it all when in reality you know there’s no way you could not do it. 
  9. Sometimes you’re lonely beyond words. 
  10. Sometimes those parents on similar paths are the light and air you need to make it through the day. 
  11. The only thing that keeps you focused is the boundless love you have for your child. 
  12. You would do all of the above, all day, every day, for that sweet child of yours. 
    running

    To The Always Inspiring Runner Girl

    I’ve slumped of late, and been thirsty for some motivation or inspiration.  This morning, I got my inspiration while out running errands.  

    My inspiration, dear Runner Girl, is YOU.  I saw you this morning while out driving, and remembered how very much I want to be like you.

    woman-jogger-jogging-sport

    Yes, you. Would you look at you a minute. No, no, no, look past the cellulite and stretch marks (unless you don’t have any, then YAY YOU!) just look at you. You are the woman who has the courage to sign up and train for a race; whether you’re walking your first 5k or making a new PR on your hundredth half, you are shining. Look at those legs and glutes, and think of the miles they’ve given you and get excited for many more to come.

    Look at you, a role model for the younger women in your life. That niece who is trying Girls on the Run this year, your daughter who rides endless miles in the running stroller, the neighbor girl who peeks out past the curtain as she see you zoom by for the fourth time this week. They’re watching you, admiring your steadfast commitment.

    Look at you engendering wellness. You’re staving off heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bone loss with every step you take. You’re taking time to take care of yourself, improving your emotional well being right along with your physical well being, and you look and feel great.

    I’m sure you’ve looked at other runners and felt that admiration and solidarity. Well I’m looking at you, dear Runner Girl. I’m inspired and encouraged by you. I’m proud of you. It doesn’t matter if you’re working toward a medal or just hope to finish. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re slim and sassy or rocking some fabulous curves, you are an inspiration. To me and to so many others who see you out there training.

    I can’t wait to see you on race day, dear Runner Girl, you are a phenom.

     

    parenting · special needs parenting

    The Incredible Depth and Breadth of Our Village

    This week my mom gave us respite by taking Ben, my husband and I planned and brainstormed over challenges, I fielded phone calls from a couple of different specialists, we brought Ben to get blood drawn twice, and will do so again before the week is out, I’ve emailed and met with teachers while my husband held down the home front, I’ve touched base with bus drivers and aids, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bit.

    The phrase, “it takes a village” is never more true than when special needs are involved, and the more complex the special needs, the greater the depth and breadth of the village.

    I paused this afternoon, astounded by our incredible village.  From the ladies in the Facebook groups and family group texts; to the vast number of specialists, medical assistants, nurses, pharmacists and techs that tend to Ben’s intricate physical frailties; to the teachers, parapros and administrators at the schools and the bus staff that get them there; and so very much more.  We have a complex web of people who come together to meet the needs of our children from moment to moment, every single day of our lives.

    This afternoon it hit me, I caught a glimpse of how lost we would be without this village of people who contribute their wisdom, their learning, their compassion, their strength, their skill, their education, their love, and so very much more, to us.  And I am humbled.

    The enormity of my gratitude is beyond any words I could type. I’m dumbfounded with the gravity of our dependence upon those who have become our village, our people, and ever so thankful for each and every one of you.

     

     

    running · writing

    When the Words Suddenly Run Out 

    This is the fourth post I’ve started this morning, all of which resulted in no more than a paragraph or so before I felt stymied. 

    I’m drawing a blank. My ideas aren’t even compelling to me, and that’s saying something. 

    It feels like I have run out of words. 

    Ironically I’m also in the midst of a running slump. Related?  Possibly. My best ideas are hashed out on my feet. 

    So, I guess you get a break. 

    I’m toying with jumping into “Hope Deferred” version 2.0 and giving the book a hefty revision after letting it age since spring. We’ll see.