grief, motherhood

The Story of a girl and her White Fluffy Dog

A wise person had once told the girl, “The road to true love is never easy.”  And, they were right.  It hadn’t been easy.  The girl didn’t mind because she was happily in love with her Buckeye.  Their relationship was finally everything she knew it could be and then some.  They had moved in together and lived across from Wrigley Field.  Pure magic.

Sometimes, at night, as the girl waited for her handsome Buckeye to come home after a long day’s work and an even longer commute, she would get a little bit lonely.  She thought about how to remedy this and knowing her Buckeye’s career path was only gearing up, she decided to get a dog.  She had never had a dog in her whole life.  The great thing about being a grown-up is that if you want a dog, you get to have a dog.  The girl was not impulsive in nature so she researched and pondered and then researched and pondered some more.  Eventually she decided she wanted a Bichon Frise because small, white and fluffy seemed like perfection to her.  On the day she drove to a suburb to meet a slew of Bichons, she felt very confident ‘her dog’ would find her.  And, she did.

At first the girl thought she wanted a boy and that’s all she focused on.  She started to get frustrated with how energetic and bitey they all were and wondered if she would leave empty-handed.  Instead, she opened up her expectations and picked up the first female she could find.

It was love at first sight.

The girl couldn’t explain it but this sweet little Bichon-Poodle was meant to be hers.  She was gentle and loving.  She weighed a whopping 3.2 pounds.  She was perfect.


The girl brought her home and their adventure began.  It wasn’t always easy or smooth, but the girl quickly forgave her White Fluffy Dog because, well, she was white and fluffy.  She was magic.

Five months after the White Fluffy Dog came into her life, the girl had to go out of town.  She left for a few days and put the White Fluffy Dog’s care into the hands of her Buckeye.  She didn’t think twice about it before she left but she should have.  Once she returned she realized something had changed.  Her White Fluffy Dog still loved her, but now, she loved the Buckeye even more.  At times this would frustrate the girl because she wanted to be loved best, but she got over it.  This dramatic shift in loyalty helped a lot when the girl became a mom.  She was so focused on raising her young Buckeyes, she was grateful that the White Fluffy Dog had the Buckeye to look out for her.  It also helped that the White Fluffy Dog adored the little Buckeyes.  She loved babies, pacifiers, bottles and diapers.  She was always gentle with the little Buckeyes and over the years, tolerated a lot of hands-on rough and tumble play with them.  She adjusted to being a big sister with great aplomb.


Life changed drastically when the Littlest Buckeye turned 18 months old.  At this time the girl learned he was severely allergic to the White Fluffy Dog.  As much as the girl loved her White Fluffy Dog, she did what she had to.  The White Fluffy Dog went to live with her Buckeye’s parents.  The White Fluffy Dog lived with them for five long years (extremely long if you ask the Buckeye’s father).

As the LB grew and changed so did his immune system.  On a whim when he was seven, the girl decided to have him tested yet again for his dog allergy.  She almost didn’t believe the results.  Her White Fluffy Dog could come home.  It was magic all over again.

Having her White Fluffy Dog again brought wholeness to the girl’s heart.  The girl could handle all of her White Fluffy Dog’s quirks because of this wholeness.  Yes, the White Fluffy Dog had entered her golden years and was certainly set in her ways, but she was still magic.  She still was that same dog that ran towards you when you were hurting, sick or broken.  If the girl was sad, her White Fluffy Dog would lay down next to her.  The White Fluffy Dog never ran when faced with distress, rather this is when she shined.  There are no words to convey what this meant to the girl.  ‘Everything’ is a good one to start with.  It pretty much meant everything to the girl.

The girl had more time for her White Fluffy Dog as her little Buckeyes weren’t so little.  She walked her every day.  The girl loved these walks.  The girl fed her, brushed her and made sure she had her medicine.  While the White Fluffy Dog still loved the Buckeye the best, she appreciated all the love and care the girl showed her.  She followed the girl everywhere.  The magic continued…until it didn’t.

The White Fluffy Dog had lived 13.5 well-loved years when her body finally started to give out.  The girl was heartbroken.  The day came that the girl and her family had to say goodbye to the White Fluffy Dog.  She had cancer and was bleeding internally.  The White Fluffy Dog was ready to go.  When the White Fluffy Dog’s last moments arrived, the girl bravely held her in her arms.  The girl reasoned they had started out together, that it was only fitting that they were together when it ended.

The space the White Fluffy Dog has left in the girl’s home is enormous.  It is quiet in a way that is unsettling.  The girl now walks around with a White Fluffy hole in her heart.  Her only comfort is knowing that love eventually prevails.

After all, she learned this lesson from the best…




children, family, humor, motherhood, parenting

Two. That’s All Folks!

T.Puzzle and Full Speed getting ready for a surrey bike ride when we lived near Milwaukee a few years ago.

Agreeing to disagree on a variety of issues is a cornerstone of marriage.  There are compromises on things big and small.  As long as both involved feel they ‘win’ at least some of the time, life can run fairly smoothly.  It’s when it comes to the bigger ticket items that you both have to be completely on the same page.  For instance, the number of kids you plan to bring into the world, if any at all for that matter, must be as close as possible.  This number can change and shift as unforeseen circumstance arrive.  Initially, Mad Dog and I had talked about having a big family.  As pregnancy turned out to be one of my least favorite states of being and as Full Speed and T.Puzzle evolved into their strong-willed, glorious selves, I was quickly convinced two kids was more than enough.  Recently, Mad Dog has been pondering the possible expansion of our brood.  I think I could be open to this notion down the road, say when I’m about 90 years old and don’t remember who or where I am.  I’m sorry, but my boys have worn me out.  I believe I am only beginning to safely tread the waters of motherhood and even so, I still feel regularly challenged beyond my normal capacity.

Fortunately for me, two recent events have diminished Mad Dog’s inkling for family expansion.  First, we had lunch with friends that we hadn’t seen in a very long time and finally met their two, extremely adorable boys.  We met at a restaurant and I was flooded with memories as their very active nearly three year-old motored about the perimeter of the table and their nine month old baby insisted he needed to be held during the entire meal (to be honest, if I was that cute, I would insist on it, too).  As we talked with our friends, the little conversation we could manage over the normal hustle and bustle of raising small children, the more I appreciated my spirited boys who at least are able to independently eat a meal.  Mad Dog appreciated this, too.  This was a relief to me.

The second event was T.Puzzle’s recent surgery (he is doing fantastic by the way).  In the first days post-surgery, I had given him pain meds throughout the day and night at regular intervals.   I don’t do well with sleep deprivation (putting it mildly).  This is why the newborn phase was and never will be, my shining moment in motherhood.  Somehow, Mad Dog does not remember this.  He claims to only remember the good.  Seeing my cranky face at the end of this week managed to bring it all back into focus.  Who knew being cranky could work so much in my favor?

I think I dodged a bullet.  At least, I sure hope I did.

children, gratitude, humor, kids, marriage, motherhood, parenting

No Question About It

When Mad Dog traveled for work this week, it actually went fairly smoothly at home (please, no one tell Mad Dog this).  The boys did go over the hyperactive deep-end one of the evenings he was away.  Blissfully, it was my monthly book club meeting and my incredibly patient babysitter suffered the brunt of their antics.  So while the week had been good, it was not without its bumps.

Additionally, my cell phone was broken which effectually ceased all my communication with Mad Dog.  While he is a champion of text-returning while away on business, connecting by phone with him is nearly impossible.  There was an unexpected bonus to this.  I was not subjected to his thinly veiled ‘suggestions’ on how to keep things in order on the home front.  He often will do this cleverly in question form.


1.  Did the boys help you bring in the recycle bins?

Translation: Sure hope you remembered to put out recycling.

2. Was the bank busy when you were there?

Translation: Sure hope you remembered the check I asked you to deposit.

You get the idea.

These kind of questions used to push my buttons.  Now, they only kind of do and mostly I find them to be humorous.

Fortunately for me, as Mad Dog has evolved, so have his questions.


1.  How do you manage to look younger every, single day?

2.  How did you get so beautiful?  (this one is my favorite)

At the end of the day, there is no question about it.  I sure do love that guy.

gratitude, happiness, kids, marriage, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery

2, 4, 6, 8 Who Do I Appreciate?

Do you ever wonder if your partner understands how hard you work to make everything seem easy? 

How when he may (or may not) reach for clothes for the kids, they are clean, neatly organized and always at hand?   This goes for karate uniforms, too.

Or, when he walks in the door, the kids are playing with each other in a respectful manner (someone had to teach them this and they need almost daily reminders of how to continue to do so), the house is clean (relatively speaking) and dinner is cared for (most nights).

And, what about all the learning these kids need to do that you have to help them with?  Eye appointments and doctors visits, too?

Believe me, I’m just getting started here.

Now, before you stop reading in protest Mad Dog, let me flip it around.

Do you ever feel like your partner understands how hard you work to provide for her and the kids?

How about all the long hours spent alone in an office (with no windows, mind you!) on endless phone calls trying to accomplish seemingly impossible business feats and doing so while making it all look easy?

What about trying to manage a team that is scattered across the nation that looks to you for leadership and expects nothing but excellence from you? 

Or the myriad of calamities and unexpected projects that pile up on your already overtaxed work schedule?

And what about the time spent away from your boys?  You know they are incredible and they grow by leaps and bounds every day, and you have to miss some of the really important and downright cool stuff.

You are handling all these things and doing it well even at great personal cost.  Does your partner get this?


I don’t know that I do.

Sometimes I’m so focused on feeling underappreciated in my own corner of the world that it begins to feel like a part-time job.

Are life and relationships ever going to be exactly how you want them to be?


What can I do today to take care of myself, give myself the recognition I desire and honor and appreciate my partner in the process?

I love you, Mad Dog and appreciate you!

I guess that’s a start.