On Sunday we took Wrigley to our church’s annual pet blessing. She drove Ben nuts with her pulling on the leash, endlessly sniffing and re-sniffing bottoms and barking as if she had the courage to actually follow it up with anything other than a whimper. Oh gig-gee.
This was one of the first words Leila said. She quickly attempted to mimic my clapping when I want Wrigley to come and even an occasional “bah” when Wrigley’s being too boisterous, but mainly she has loved squeezing and hugging on Wrigley. I can usually find her on Wrigley’s bed by the front window, reading or having a cup of tea, nestled next to her sleeping best friend. When I want to convince her it’s time to go home, I remind her that we’ll get to see Wrigley. Today, as I carried her barely awake self through the office she immediately started asking and looking for gig-gee.
I’ve struggled to treat Wrigley like the blessing she is to our family. We usually remember to walk her and feed her and let her out to pee, but she hasn’t received the unadulterated attention like she used to get before Leila arrived. She has never complained or begged or nudged her way in between, though I kind of wish she had. Last spring I read an article at the back of a magazine about a mom and her kids and her dog and her realizing her own neglect of the dog through the way her children treated the dog. This mom set out to spend 10 intentional minutes with her dog every day, and her kids took note and
she regained that bond. Thankfully Leila’s affection is still quite effusive, but the article convicted me.
I haven’t been great about ten full minutes or every day, but I’m starting to call Wrigley towards me more often just for a good pet or quick snuggle. At first she ignored me. Then she realized I wasn’t trying to brush her or bathe or get her to go in her room before we left. I was trying to pay attention. And that’s all it took. Gig-gee loves her some attention, and I love gig-gee.
For the past two months we’ve been bunking at my parents while we tackle some home repairs. In the midst of the chaos that is inevitably part and parcel of such endeavors, I have made several attempts at regrouping. Each time I would think, “This is it. Everything is finally in order. I can sit back and relax.” Then reality would hit, and finally, after several such tries, I relinquished the aspiration to recreate normalcy in this interim and started appreciating even the tiniest glimpses of regular life. And you know what? We have managed to hike up to our church on more than one Sunday, actually order, pick up and use some nice local co-op shares, spend some time at the Children’s Museum, make it to a few baby times at the library, take a handful of family walks and even keep up with monthly baby photos.
This weekend, even though the kitchen floors remain unfinished and there is still the slightest whiff of paint still lingering, it seems like we are finally, finally moving back. We’ve been trickling in our stuff all week and it’s starting to look like the cluttered mess that is home sweet home. I know it will take some time before everything makes it back to its rightful place (or we take the time to donate, chuck or find that rightful place), but I am looking forward to doing some serious regrouping this June.
We plan on spending a whole lot of time walking together as a family, sharing dinner with friends, going to summer activities at the library, wearing out our Children’s Museum membership, adding Leila’s voice to the chorus on Sundays, ordering our shares and eating our veggies, planning our meals, swinging at the park, exploring outside through a tinier perspective and trying our best to add another munchkin to the bunch. I would not mind it in the least if I also made it to a few yoga classes, snapped more photos and put together a post one and awhile. And if all else fails, we’ll be home, together, streaming the latest episodes of Arrested Development.
Like many people, I’ve been feeling sad lately. It began on Wednesday in our home, when we learned about the loss of someone we love dearly. On Friday, between logging out of my email and into FB, I glimpsed a headline. Then there were the status updates. My initial response to the references of this horrific event was to shut out as much extraneous information and commentary as possible. I do not need to know the details. They most definitely are unnecessary for the public and most likely re-traumatizing to the children asked to share.
I basked in intense gratitude last Friday. I was grateful to be safe and sound and to feel safe and sound. I was grateful for our home filled with giggles and great conversation and dog barks that simply signal the arrival of the mailman. I was grateful to be in a neighborhood where we can take walks and swing in the park and chat with our neighbors. I was grateful to be in a city where I can drive around freely. I was grateful to live in a country where something like this is still shocking and abhorrent.
On Saturday, as we started to drive home from our second holiday party Leila was screaming and there was nothing I could do. And I started to feel sad. I was sad I could not comfort her. I was sad for the moms and dads and sisters and brothers that have a hole in their heart after last Friday. I was sad for the mamas that grieve the loss of their babies without the prayers of a nation. I was sad for the dad in Afghanistan that I saw on the news that lost his son. I was sad for my old clients and their stories. I was sad for losses I know and for losses I do not know because their stories got swept away in indifference.
I hate that there is hurt and sadness like this in the world, but I am hanging tight to gratitude now more than ever. I love this quote Brené shares. “When you honor what you have, you’re honoring what I’ve lost.”
Nothing makes me more crazy grateful that this dancing munchkin. Last Wednesday, she started shaking her rump every time I sang a little number I call “Call Me Pumpkin.” Of course, when I tried to capture it last Thursday afternoon, she was a bit too preoccupied with the bow in her hair and the remote on the couch and the paper in her mouth (don’t worry, I fished it out eventually), but you get the idea…
Music: Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (I know you know, but I like to give credit where credit is due.)
Before I go, I want to share this brilliant post by Brené Brown. If you have not read it, please do.