I haven’t written in a while, not out of laziness or lack of drive to post – but more because of my lack of direction. I started this blog ages ago after my sister started one, so that I could fill people in on what was happening with my wee kids and get things off of my chest. Lately though, I’ve been struggling to find things I want to write about… no one wants to hear me complain all the time, or listen to the same old rehashed stories of my humdrum day to day life. Funny thing is, I think about the blog all the time… almost every day, as a matter of fact. I shape stories in my head as things happen during the day, and turn them over and over in my mind until they shatter into too many pieces to type. So I’ll start again, work backwards a bit, and see if I can gather some together.
Lily’s been sick for the past couple of days, and not just the regular sick that a little attention and a tissue will fix - the throwing up, fever kind of sick that reminds you that you’re a parent. I took the days off and stayed with her, because Sara’s done her share of sick time, and I was the first one covered in vomit on Monday morning - it’s sort of like the lotto that way. If you find dog poo on the floor, you clean it up instead of waiting for someone else to do it – and if you get thrown up on, you’re ‘it’ for the day.
We’ve seen enough sick to know when not to panic. There were a few years where thermometers and Tylenol sent us into a tailspin, and I was sure that the night nurses at CHOP knew our voices and medical history by heart. But we know sick. We know hospitals and x-ray machines, stitches, blood tests, ice packs, and casts. We know what band-aids will fix, what fear looks like, when to make Jell-O, and when to drive through red lights. Yesterday I made Jell-O, and she survived just fine. The sick part is easy to manage, it’s the kids that are a wild card. We had our Jell-O, and she slept. We had crackers and watered down juice, movies and blankets, and she slept - slept with a passion, the sleep of the dead – and while she was sleeping I ate something besides crackers and Jell-O so she wouldn’t see. By the time we were getting ready for bed, she had long since stopped throwing up, but was still pale and limp on the couch... and when I asked her if she wanted me to carry her up to bed, she looked at me and let a single round tear well up in the corner of her eye, and when it was big enough it broke free it rolled down the side of her cheek and into her hair. Which killed me. She didn’t cry or complain, the day and the sickness won, and she just gave up. This morning, as expected, she’s once again a lion.
All the while, in the background, Steve is growing. When we decided to bring home an English Mastiff, the world seemed to collectively raise one eyebrow at us. To a certain extent, everyone was right. He’s absurdly large, and gets bigger as you stare at him. He is clumsy as an ox on Rohypnol, can eat an entire chicken carelessly knocked off a counter before it hits the floor, can drag Sara across the street even with a choke collar on, and has succeeded in turning our everyday lives into a cartoon. He is passionate about the eyes on stuffed animals, and will gently gnaw them off when no one is looking. He drools when he drinks, when he thinks he is going to get a treat, when he thinks he is going to get walked, when he sees another dog, and whenever he feels like it. And not just drool – long, thick strands of viscous slobber that wobble about from his jowls and refuse to disconnect until they’ve found purchase on something clean or expensive. He has kept me up nights, swallowed Christmas tree ornaments and DS games without chewing, tested our patience at every opportunity, and somehow has managed to make up for every bit of it. He’s patient and loving, attentive, and will actually stand up and give you a decent hug if you don’t mind washing drool off the side of your neck.
In the midst of the chaos, destruction, and spurts of Green Day Rock Band, I’ve been trying something new. It’s not a New Year’s resolution or a grand life change that I’ll toss out the window in a month, and it’s not even something I’ve talked about. It’s just a thing. A little thing. I have all this stuff here, kids, wife dogs, house, friends, bacon… you know, stuff… and I’m trying to focus on the stuff that’s important for a change. It doesn’t always work, and it’s easy to forget, but sometimes it’s really paid off. Like Christmas, for example. I didn’t ask for anything, and truly couldn’t think of anything I really wanted. I wanted the kids to have fun, and thought some surprises along the way would be cool, but that’s it. In the end, we had a great morning here with the kids, and at my parents house I got one of my father’s photographs (which is really the only thing I wanted) and a cookbook my mother made that left me completely and utterly speechless – which isn’t easy to do. But it isn’t just that. I’m incredibly frustrated at work, but have reminded myself every morning that it’s good to have a job, and it could be worse. I try not to just come home from work, but remind myself how glad I am to be at home… and when Steve knocks over and eats the entire contents of my kitchen trash can, I try to take a deep breath and remind myself that I have one less bag to carry outside. In forty years I think I’ve squandered away more than I’ve deserved, and maybe in lieu of a mid-life crisis Ferrari, I’ll just try to get what I deserve, and appreciate what I have.