New year, new blog.

I’ve moved (switched?) blogs. After Penny got sick and this became a day to day of coping with losing her and then her death it’s just gotten to be a reminder I don’t need right now. So with a new year starting – a new blog. Feel free to add 365 Days of Thankful.

After-party.

I cried myself to sleep the night I turned 28. I had opted to work and since my birthday generally falls close to (or on) Thanksgiving – I think this is the first time I’ve ever worked on my birthday. Katelyn opened my presents while I was getting ready. I cried on the way to work. I missed my dog. I was sad for my friend and his family. It did not start out well.

I holed up in my office and got a lot of work done. It was quiet. No one around the office knew or remembered it was my birthday.

I met my mom and my grandmother for lunch. We had cake and candles that night. Katelyn, of course, blew them all out.

Once you become a mom – your birthday is no longer your birthday. I definitely had a “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” experience. It wasn’t fun and I wasn’t proud of it.

And then something happened.

Yesterday I woke up with a renewed sense of self. It felt almost like the sweet fresh promise of New Year’s Day.

I am 28.

My life has not gone how I had planned. But I have everything I need.

I felt recharged and fearless. There is a lot to take on in this world and I still have time and the energy for it. I spent two hours this morning cleaning my office. Eventually we will move and I will leave it all behind. That, dear readers, will be a good day.

Today I’m feeling a little less optimistic. But there are 10 days off looming ahead for Christmas and I am so, so ready for them.

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Twenty.Eight

I haven’t blogged in awhile. I suppose I can use the excuse that life got in the way.

November is the biggest month for me at work due to National Adoption Awareness month and National Adoption Day. What that means is that I work longer hours, work harder, and have more paperwork than the average bear. And then when it’s over, it’s just over.

I’m two days away from my birthday and although I didn’t expect it to be a “tough” year – today is proving otherwise. I feel like I am barreling ahead into my 30s and it’s making me feel almost claustrophobic.

28. 28. 28.

It seems like such a weird number. Last year, my best friend’s dad died on my birthday. I feel like it will never be the same. So with that weight on my chest with it being the first anniversary of his passing and the fact that I’m getting older and I’m just not where I thought I would be at this time – I want to run. Run far, far away.

When I was 18 or so I had this timeline concocted about what my life was going to be like. I was going to graduate college around 22 (accomplished that at least!) get my masters, travel a lot, get married around 27 and have a baby at 30 after I had time to get my career established. My superprise baby at 24 definitely through a wrench in it. A professor once told me that a timeline serves one purpose with that being it sets you up for failure. Life finds a way to get in the way – every time.

I do need to clarify that I would never trade my daughter for anything – but some days I do wonder what life would look like had it gone differently. Her dad is a wonderful guy but we feel more like roommates most of the time. He makes me laugh hysterically and he is so good to her but the “fireworks” are gone. Maybe that’s normal at this point in a relationship. We’ve been engaged for years but cannot commit to a date or even begin to plan a wedding because we say life gets in the way. Maybe that’s just an excuse.

I feel like an asshole for feeling ungrateful. We are very blessed. We have our own home, salaries that support us, great friends and extended family. But it’s just not what I though my life would be like at 28.

I’m okay with the discord I’m feeling. I was so hopeful at 27 until that earth shattering phone call came. I know it will pass. I’ll work on my birthday and it will be the same routine it always is that night. And Wednesday will feel like any other Wednesday. And I’ll go on. We’ll go on.

I just need to find that spark again. Figure out who I am. And where I need to be.

 

 

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Nanowrimo.

I wanted to do it in college which of course would have been the best time.

I didn’t.

I’m doing it now.

Let’s go!

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2.

Two months today. For over half of my life – dates have stuck with me. Anniversaries of silly things such as a first kiss, first date, first day of college. I remember those things without needing to be prompted.

When I met Sam – I somehow lost that ability. I can’t tell you when we had our first kiss. Or when we were “official” (well Facebook told me that a few months ago with the whole timeline thing but otherwise I couldn’t tell you…) first I love you. I didn’t keep up. And it turned out better than any relationship I’ve had prior. We finally decided on an “anniversary” for the sake of having one – the day we met. I can’t even tell you what day we got engaged. It’s amazing really. 5 years of my life without keeping up with dates.

But the day I can tell you is August 30th. It’s burned into my brain. I cried on the way to work this morning. How is it possible that she’s only been gone two months but it feels like years since I saw her sweet face? Physical absence is painful. I don’t expect her to greet me anymore. I don’t call out for her when I go to bring Miles in. But I’m keenly aware every single day that something is missing. She is gone.

I’ve had a few dreams in which she’s licking my face. I don’t ever really see her but it’s such a sweet familiar sensation. I don’t wake up with a heavy heart after those dreams. I wake up feeling like something isn’t missing as much. Those days are nice. Part of me wishes it really is her coming to check in. Last week I found one single strand of fur on a dress I bought after she died. I know her fur is probably all over the house but sitting in a pew at court waiting on a hearing it was a nice reminder that she’s always with me.

We’ve adjusted to being a one dog family. It’s strange after being a two dog family for so long. Some days I feel an ache that we need to rescue another dog and other days I can’t imagine bringing one into our lives. Maybe some day.

Thursday is the beginning of a new month. The most hectic month of the year. National Adoption Day is rushing upon me and my already stressful job becomes much more stressful for a few weeks. I’ll be glad once it’s over. And then it’s birthday. And I’m not excited at all.

Last year, my best friend’s father passed away on my birthday. And I know this first anniversary will be painful for him, his family and for me. I loved his dad. He was quirky and sarcastic. I flew to Houston once and his family picked me up at the airport and his dad hugged me. I’ll never forget that moment. They readily accepted me into their family and I’m always grateful for that.

It will be a rough month. And like the past two rough months we will get through it.

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Angst.

I suppose life gets in the way of blogging sometimes.

Tonight we’re carving pumpkins. The last time I remember trying that is when I was 3 or 4. I have very vague memories.

I’ve been sitting here angsty today wanting to complain about my mother in law but somehow tonight I can’t muster the energy.

I am so, so ready to move. I think I’ve scored an interview with a private agency that I generally would be super excited about except I fear that I would have to leave Sam behind for awhile if I took it and I’m not sure I really want to do that. But I also think that if I don’t push him to go, he will drag his feet even though he is the one who really.really.really wants to move home.

I do too.

Blegh.

 

 

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Missing.

I’ve been somewhat following the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway from Westminster, Colorado. When I saw the news a body had been found but not identified I had the sinking feeling it was her. There were tons of comments on a Facebook page along the lines of “oh praying it’s not her” etc and I’m sitting here thinking well, even if it isn’t her – it’s still someone!

My senior year of college I was offered a job in Denver and took a crazy road trip with my parents there to interview and check the place out. The apartment that I found was in Westminster and it was such a pretty area. Ultimately, I was talked out of that great journey but that’s a post for another day.

Prior to coming to the adoption side of CPS, I worked with kids still in the home with their biological family. I saw a lot of neglect and occasionally horrific abuse. And more often than I like to recall – abuse or neglect that ended in the death of a child.

A child dying is terrible no matter what the circumstance. But a child ripped away at the hands of a predator makes me sick. I think as a country – we’ve seen so many cases of parents killing kids, or step-parents, or mom’s overnight friend or whatever being responsible that we’ve become complacent that crazy people are still out there. There’s definitely a chance that the perpetrator is someone she knew but at this point it could have been a total stranger.  I’ve seen several comments and articles that there has been a man attempting to lure children in the area for awhile.

Bad things can and do happen. Any parent that is naive to this needs to wake up. Stories like this make me sick to my stomach and make me think that I’ll never let Katelyn more than a few feet away from me until she’s 50. Stranger danger needs to be taught to kids as early as possible. There’s got to be a way to teach your kids to be safe while not terrifying them of life.

I don’t know how or when I’ll find that balance but I pray that I am able. I don’t want to be a “helicopter” mom and Katelyn to never learn independence but I will also ensure her safety as much as I possibly can, for as long as she’ll let me.

And I should clarify I am in no way blaming her mother in this as I’ve seen others do. She will live with an unimaginable horror for the rest of her life and I won’t add to that. I truly hope this baby girl didn’t suffer for very long. This has got to stop. We shouldn’t be burying babies because monsters walk among us. We need to step it up. Report suspicious people, watch each other’s children. Ensure children who are too young to protect themselves are protected.

If there’s one thing that gets me going it is child abuse. And that’s probably why I do what I do. And the death of a child at the hands of a human is inexcusable. Period.

I hope they find the person(s) responsible quickly. I fear that if they don’t this neighborhood will forever be fearful. But what I do know is that what I’ve seen the past few days is that this community has come together in the most beautiful, supportive way possible and had I decided to move there – I would have been proud to call it home.

Rest in peace Jessica. May your death not be in vain.

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Journey.

Grief is an interesting journey. I don’t handle change well.

After a few “good” weeks in which the pain I felt over losing Penny has been manageable with few tears – it all came crashing down Tuesday night. I started sobbing and couldn’t stop it.

I’m grieivng more profoundly for the loss of my dog than I have humans that I’ve loved. The first person that I had a relationship with that died was my great aunt Helen when I was 11. I remember feeling that sick sweaty going to pass out feeling when we went to view her body. I spent what felt like an eternity in that room with my mom staring at her body convinced she was breathing.

I lost my great grandmother, whom I was very attached to a couple of years later. The loss of my dad’s mother whom I didn’t have much a relationship followed the next year. A man I knew in college who spent about 6 months asking me out shot himself while his girlfriend was 7 months pregnant. It was a tragedy and very hard to comprehend. We ended up being good friends despite my refusals. I was dating someone at the time or I might have considered it.

There have been losses in between but the most earth shattering was the loss of my grandfather in 2007.

Growing up I was incredibly close to him. At times we lived with them or very near them so he played a huge role in my life. I respected him and loved him. At times due to his alcoholism I hated him. He was a good man. He had dealt with cancer off and on but the last time when I saw him in September I just knew. His doctors had told my family 6 months to a year. But I knew. I found out I was pregnant with Katelyn 8 days before he died. I was so happy he knew about her and told my mom several times the day before he passed that he was going to be a great grandfather again. Sam is the only guy I’ve ever dated that he really liked and that always meant a lot to me too.

I feel like I had delayed grief when he died. Around the time of his funeral my hyperemesis morning sickness kicked in and I spent most of my days (and nights!) throwing up. I lost almost 30 pounds in my first trimester and I ended up so focused on trying to have a healthy baby that the sadness I felt at his passing was put on the back burner. In retrospect it was a good thing. I wish he would have had the chance to meet Katelyn. She would have had him wrapped around her finger and would have easily earned the title of “greatest” great grand baby  He joked with the rest of them at different times that they were the “greatest” and I know she would have been the favorite – because of course I’m the favorite grandchild…

The loss of Penny is different. I suppose it is harder to let go of someone that is with you every second you are home versus a family member that you love from a distance. It’s really shown me how profound her role was in my life. She and Miles saw me through some very rough patches and at one point probably saved my life. That’s a story I’ll save for another day. I’m appreciating Miles more. Although I had him before Penny I feel like I was bonded more to her. Perhaps it was because she was more of a snuggler and more in tune with my feelings and he’s always been my rough and tumble boy dog. But lately, he needs to snuggle as much as I need to snuggle. He will be 9 on October 15th. I am dreading it. It’s his first birthday without Penny.

I’m dreading the first snow too. She loved to run around like crazy in fresh snow and would sneak out on the deck to eat it. I’m dreading Christmas and pulling out her stocking. In many ways, I feel like I’ve lost a child. I was able to take her ashes out of that horribly offensive gift bag and they are sitting on the mantle now. The box she came in is cherry wood and actually really beautiful. I had shopped for urns before she was returned and found a few I liked but for now I feel at peace with what she’s in. We hadn’t planned on showing Katelyn her ashes because I wasn’t sure she could really grasp what it meant but she begged one night. I decided it was better for us to share them with her than her sneak in and open the box herself. I have never seen cremation ashes so my heart was in my throat when we all sat down to open the box.

They were beautiful. I don’t know if it’s true of all ashes, but hers almost have a rusty tint like her fur. I was just so glad to have my girl home no matter how she came home. Some day I think I’ll take them to our favorite spot in Lubbock and let her be totally free.

Lately I’ve found myself looking more at dogs available for adoption and not feeling revolted at the thought of bringing one home. Some day I know we’ll have another dog. No dog will ever replace Penny but I know she would be happy we saved a life like we saved hers.

And Miles needs a friend.

The past two days have been better and I’m thankful. This grief journey is exhausting. And enlightening. The one thing I do know is that when Penny found us, she took a big piece of my heart. And now that she’s gone, she’s left me with a big piece of hers and I am forever grateful for that.

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Retail therapy.

I haven’t felt the need and/or had time to blog much this week. Normally I would say that was a good thing.

 

We survived the terrible twos, which melted into the terrible threes, and now that we’re two months into four – holy moly.

My daughter is smart, funny, caring and sarcastic. And she is a handful. Four has brought on a whole new set of entertainment and challenges. She’s really realizing she is her own person and can say no and have an opinion (lots and lots and lots of them!) but she still hasn’t yet realized that Mommy is not just an extension of her and that I too, am my own person

 

Well – I used to be before I became a mom.

 

Last night I couldn’t get more than 6 inches away from her without her going into panic mode and getting thisclose to me again. I’m not sure what’s going on there but hopefully we transition back to normal soon. I’ve never been a touchy-feely person and granted I can cuddle my sweet girl like the best of them – last night it was just too.much.love.

It probably doesn’t help that I’m still not feeling all that great. And I’m pretty sure my ovary totally revolted the other night but that’s a post for another day.

I went to Target today. At work, we have a Halloween carnival every year. Halloween is in my top 3 favorite holidays so I get really excited about it. I’m way behind on decorating so I set out on a mission. Target will be the death of me. Why, why, why do they have the “bargain” bins by the door?! Yes $1.00 and $2.50 items are CHEAP but not when they are all so cute that you walk away with 10 items! I can never pull myself away from what seems like a good deal. So I happily shopped. Pumpkin decor – check. Thanksgiving sign – check. Owl – check.

The owl was too cute to leave behind!

Stop judging me.

Surprisingly – Target had no spiderwebs. So I ventured off to Michaels and shopped some more.

It was nice.

I was able to decorate my door before I had to commit back to actually working.

 

 

Yay Halloween! And fall! It’ s the little things right!

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