dogs, motherhood

Fur-Ever Changed by Love

There are stories you never want to write. The ones that become irrevocably true once the ink leaves your pen.

This is one of those stories.

July 9, 2003 – June 4, 2021 (just shy of 18 years old)

Max lived a good life. He walked every day until he couldn’t.

That’s how he told me it was time for him to go.

When Max came into my life I did not understand the magic he would sprinkle over every part of my existence. His devotion to me was unmatched. In his younger years, though already ten when he became our family member, he would wait at the base of the stairs as I ran up and down completing the endless daily tasks of motherhood. Once he felt certain of my location and pause in movement, with Herculean effort he’d heave his stout little body up the stairs to find me and keep watch. I don’t know what exactly he was watching for but it seemed important.

As the center of his universe I did not take this lightly. I gave him as much as he gave me. Until he couldn’t give anymore, and he was tired, and his old body said enough is enough.

From the outside, the story of Max and me seems simple.

Dog meets girl.

Dog devotes life to girl.

Best friends for life.

From the inside the story reaches deeper. Max came into my world with precise timing. I was dealing with the crushing loss of my mom, raising two rambunctious boys, and supporting Mad Dog’s corporate aspirations. I was barely holding myself together and in swooped Max. He did not care how my anxiety sometimes froze me in place. He didn’t mind how I looked, if I showered, and if my writing got published. He didn’t care if my boys were on the honor roll, if I took awesome vacations, or if my house was organized. He taught me that I am enough as is. On the days I didn’t believe him, it did not phase him.

He loved me anyway.

The love he gave me was so perfect and true it has me questioning everything. We are taught by the world we must earn love through striving, pushing ourselves, winning at everything, and looking a certain, standardized way. Even if we somehow achieve this ephemeral perfection, its temporary nature has us immediately turning our attention to the next outside-of-ourselves goal.

I don’t want to live like that. I want to choose goals that speak to my heart. The kind that inspire me and fulfill me as I move through them. I want to cultivate a fluid state of being and allow the process of becoming to light the way. I want passion and purpose to rise up from within and carry me through all the twists and turns of life.

When you love someone, you dress up like an Ewok even though it makes you really, really angry.

Losing Max is a twist I knew was coming, but I wasn’t ready. We are never ready to lose something we love. It rips us apart at the seams and feels overwhelming and irreparable. And yet, underneath the surface of this gaping Ewok-shaped hole, the true-ness within me holds me steady.This is the part of me that Max loved the most.

This is where I will find my joy again.

Above all else, I want to make Max proud.

The best and only way to do this is remember each and every day no matter what, I already have.

children, motherhood

The Story of a girl and her First Little Buckeye

Well over a decade ago, the girl had her First Little Buckeye.  Even though she was of an age that society deemed her to be a responsible adult, she didn’t feel very grown-up and worried she wasn’t going to mother him correctly.  The first time she held him in her arms was transcendent.  Her worry and her fear left her.  All she felt was peace.  Peace for the girl is highly unusual.  This is why she remembers it so vividly.  She looked down into his tiny, baby face and felt comforted by him.  She thought that was odd.  How was a tiny baby going to take care of her?  She didn’t know, but she was thankful he was here.  She was grateful he was healthy.  She holds that memory in a pocket close to her heart.  On her hardest days, as life can be hard, she reaches into this pocket and remembers that love.  That memory of peace reminds her that no matter what shows up in her world, everything is going to be okay.


Now, enough about the girl, let’s get to the fun stuff.  Let’s learn a little bit more about the FLB.  He loves life.  He loves learning.  He sometimes loves his Little Brother, but sometimes he only tolerates him.  It depends on his mood and how much his Little Brother is annoying him on that particular day. 

Loves his Little Brother

About ready to lose it on his Little Brother

The girl tries to stay out of the way.  It’s hard to believe that their relationship and their lives in general aren’t really her business.  She’s working on staying out of the way.  She doesn’t always succeed at this.  At least she is trying.

A couple months back, the FLB’s love of learning earned him a spot in the county-wide spelling bee.  He managed to beat out all the other 5th and 6th graders at his school.  It was a pretty amazing day.  That meant over holiday break and beyond, he had to study, study, study to get ready for the Big Show at county.  It was a lot of work but he didn’t mind it.  He actually kind of liked the challenge of learning all these new, almost-impossible-to-pronounce-yet-harder-to-spell words.  The girl remembered to stay out of his way.  She told him she trusted him completely.  If he wanted to study all the time or not at all, she was going to support him.  He chose somewhere in between all the time and not at all.  It was a good, steady balance of studying that kept his attitude good, steady and balanced.  That’s all the girl cared about.  She wanted him to feel good about the process and he did.  So, she felt good about the process, too.

FullSizeRender (5)
The FLB celebrating his school win

About a month before the night of the Big Show, the girl needed to have a serious talk with her FLB.  She wanted him to know something very important about what her expectations were for him regarding the competition.  This is what she said to him:

“I want you to remember that you are awesome.  The amount of awesome you have inside you is static.  That means it doesn’t change.  There is nothing you can or can’t do to change this fact.  At the beginning of the spelling bee you will be awesome.  At the end of the spelling bee you will be awesome.  And during the middle, you will still be equally awesome.  Winning or losing can’t change your awesome-ness.  If you wonder how I know this it’s because when you were a baby and I held you in my arms for the very first time I loved you instantly.  I kind of already loved you before I even knew you.  Why?  It wasn’t because I thought to myself, ‘someday this kid is going to be great at spelling.’  No, it was because you were awesome.  You were then, you are now and you always will be.”

Most of the time the FLB is polite when the girl goes into one of her ‘Love-You-As-You-Are Lectures’ because let’s face it, there are SO MANY of them.  The girl can’t help it.  It’s who she is.  The FLB knows this about her so he is respectfully quiet.  The girl is never quite sure if he is actually listening to her but she lectures anyway.  However this time, the girl felt like maybe this Love Lecture penetrated his soul a little.  He seemed a little more sure of himself and seemed to have even more relaxed fun in his study preparations.  The girl was relieved that he believed her.  Sometimes as children we don’t believe the good our parents tell us about ourselves even though it is a proven fact that the good is ALWAYS TRUE.  We only have to be brave enough on the inside to believe it.  Thankfully, the FLB is brave enough.  At least the girl hoped he was.

On the actual day of the Big Show and right before the spelling bee started, the girl’s eyes swept over the mass of talented spellers selected from each school in the county.  Sure, she felt proud the FLB was included in this group but she also felt something else.  This isn’t something the girl talks about very much, but growing up she kind of never really fit in anywhere.  She stills feels that way.  She thinks most of the whole world feels this way but no one ever says it out loud.  So, as she watched those amazing, nervous kids, she could see herself in them.  She could see the shy ones, the awkward ones, the ones who looked like they might pass out from nerves and she could relate.  She saw the FLB way in the back row, he’s kind of small so she had to strain her neck and there he was.  Yes, he seemed a bit nervous but he owned that stage.  He was all confidence and class.  It was if he understood he was among peers and while they may not be the considered the ‘coolest’ when in the mainstream of school life, he seemed perfectly fine about it.  He is who he is and he knows he’s enough exactly as he is.  The girl’s heart was full.  She already won even before the first letter was spoken.  She won because the FLB had already won.

He remembered he was awesome.

When he happened to place 2nd in the whole county the girl thought to herself, ‘isn’t that an embarrassment of riches?’

The FLB celebrating his 2nd place finish with his Little Brother

The End


children, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

The Question

Once in a blue moon a question is posed that makes you seriously evaluate the direction your life has taken.

In an attempt to consistently utilize my remaining brain cells, most have left the building since motherhood, I participate in a monthly book club.  The conversation never stays on topic and that is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.

“I’ve never understood why stay-at-home Moms have college degrees?  Why would someone spend all that time and money on an education and not use it?”

This was the question that gave me serious pause.

The person posing the question obviously did not know that the woman seated next to her (me!) was one such stay-at-home Mom ‘wasting’ my college degrees.  Apparently, I had fooled her in to thinking I was highly educated and gainfully employed.  In her opinion, one cannot exist without the other.

Oh, I’m sure I could’ve gone off on a rant to defend the choices in my life.  I didn’t see the point.  Her opinion was solidly formed and the other women of the group heatedly joined in with their two cents.

When I left the group later that evening I realized that the question, however personally I may or may not have taken it, doesn’t matter.

As with any path we choose in life, as long as we are comfortable with who we are, no question, person or judgment will tear it asunder.

mommyhood, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

Happy Blog-a-versary to ME!

Well, I did it. I completed a year of daily posts. I set the challenge for myself and despite the crazy constraints of motherhood, I did it. To say that I accomplished anything meaningful outside of potty-training and getting my kids to eat broccoli feels pretty amazing. It is proof that I do still have some brain cells intact and that on occasion, I can rally them together and write something entertaining, heartfelt or just plain silly. I have had a very good time.

I think the biggest change for me has been coming to terms with motherhood. I think sometimes when we are unhappy with who we are, we blame our choices and our circumstances. I will admit, especially in the newborn years, I struggled with my all-consuming role as a mother. I thought that maybe if I had made some different choices, like continuing to work or if I was somehow parenting better, I would feel happier. Turns out, it wasn’t my boys or motherhood, it was me. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish outside of motherhood that determines my value, it is ultimately up to me to determine that. Whether I become a world-famous author or if all I manage is to raise two, well-adjusted boys, my value remains constant. I get that now.


So, Full Speed and T.Puzzle, keep bringing it. Keep my days filled with unexpected twists, turns and the random loving, moments. I look forward to the challenge.

Thank you for all the friends I have made along the way. I am excited and hopeful for the coming year and have a feeling, Full Speed and T.Puzzle will not disappoint.

Have a great day and celebrate my blog-a-versary! Cheers!