Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nine Plus Nine

Nearly nine years ago, an
animal-loving nine year old 
little girl was counting the days
until her longed-for wish would
finally come true.

And it did.

In early October 2004,
the puppy she dubbed
Gracie Marie flew home
with our family from
Ohio to Minnesota.

And just like Elizabeth's,
the rest of our hearts
grew, as the Grinch's, 
three sizes that day.

We were smitten.

In a busy household of
four, Gracie quickly learned
that, although the days
weren't always predictable, one
thing was.  From the beginning,
she always, always, slept
with Elizabeth.

Puppies grow quickly and
soon become adult dogs, 
romping alongside their kids 
and their families.

Then one day, their kids
are all grown, too.

I held up beautifully when
we dropped Elizabeth at college
last week, my friends.  I smiled
and stayed positive through 
countless shopping trips. 
I smiled and encouraged
her through dorm move-in
and parent orientation.

And, although my eyes glimmered
and stung with tears, I still smiled 
when I gave her one last squeeze 
before leaving her dorm room
to head for the airport.

You'd have been proud.

But when I got home, and 
learned from our son that Gracie
had slept in Elizabeth's empty
room for two nights in a row,
the tears started coming.

And when I went into my girl's
room one afternoon to put away
some laundry and discovered
Gracie, nestled among the pillows
on the bed, they came even harder.

It doesn't seem fair that Gracie
isn't able to understand why
her little world has changed. 
Nine years old, just as Elizabeth
was when she waited expectantly
for the day we brought her puppy 
home, Gracie's muzzle is now white
where it used to be brown.

Life's button is on 
when you are a dog.

Right now Gracie is taking turns
between our son's room and
our room at night.  As she settled in
the crook of my arm last night and
sighed a small doggy sigh, I once
again felt an unbidden tear drift 
slowly down my cheek.

But I'll be alright.


When I'd thought ahead to our new
normal just a few months ago, it was
me, my husband and our son that
I'd pictured.

I hadn't considered Gracie and the
fact that there'd be no explaining
why the girl she dearly loves has
suddenly disappeared.

I'm trying to make it up to her, with
extra cuddles, more walks and
her favorite treats.

But I'm a distant second to
her Elizabeth, and I know it.

Their reunion at Christmas is
going to be crazy sweet.

How I'll always picture them, in my heart.

Until then, I'm going to smile,
I'm going to stay positive,
and I'm going to encourage.....



PS:  Thank you for all the uplifting
comments, emails, thoughts and prayers
over the last year as I've anticipated this
separation from our daughter.  Your 
support has meant more than you'll ever
know and I'm so very grateful.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Il Momento

I finished an illuminating book
recently, about a village in Italy
where the residents enjoy
exceptional longevity.

The elders of Campodimele
work, play and eat with the
rhythms of the seasons and
this motto woven into the very
fiber of their being:

Ogni cosa ha il suo momento.

{Everything has its moment.}

I love the lyricism of the Italian
language and can just imagine how
beautiful this phrase must sound,
rolling off the native tongue.

As I walked the country roads
near my parents' home each
day in early August, I found
myself tracing these words in
my mind, almost like smoothing
my fingers over a well worn
rock or sea shell in my pocket.

Everything has its moment.

The blackberry brambles,
sporting green fruit when 
I arrived, were heavy and
redolent with the sweet-sweet
fragrance of ripe berries in warm
summer sunshine by the time
that I departed.

Everything has its moment.

My brother's youngest, barely
a toddler when I last saw her,
seemed to race towards the
girlhood awaiting her, on this visit.

Everything has its moment.

The summer evenings, whose
bright light lingered, long and
languid through July, began to
end just a wee bit sooner each
August night.

Everything has its moment.

The blueberries in my dad's
garden were waning, while the
radishes and zucchinis, squashes
and tomatoes took center stage.

A lot like one generation making
way for the next.

Everything has its moment.

Despite years of sunscreen 
and creams, the delicate web of
fine lines on the face looking back
at me from the guest-room mirror 
revealed that, no matter how 
much I may wish this journey to
slow down, time propels us forward.

Everything has its moment.

Back at home this week, packing
for my daughter's imminent 
departure for college, I close
my eyes and see all of these
seasons ~ these moments ~
 not as linear events, but as 
individual ones, pasted side 
by side in the scrapbook of 
my heart.

The rhythms of life.

Ogni cosa ha il suo momento.


PS:  The names drawn for the $50 gift cards are


all pics P&H