Being a parent is harder than I had ever imagined. My children go through trials and tribulations that I never would have dreamed of as a child. They demonstrate amazing strength in the face of fear, and they are succeeding, despite the obstacles.
Our daily schedule, like most people’s, is chaotic. I sometimes miss days when we actually had time to be bored. Then a day like yesterday comes along…
It started off as busy as usual, with both having soccer games at 9 a.m. It was cold, and none of last year’s pants fit them. We rushed to get ready so that we could stop by Target and buy new pants on the way. We made it to the game, each child to their respective fields, and I did the usual routine of trying to walk back and forth and watch both as much as I could.
After the games, the day turned to one of leisure. This is something we do not get often enough. We had nowhere that we had to be, and nothing to do but be together and have fun. And it was one of those days when I got to observe them in their natural state, a day that allowed all of us to escape the stresses and the worries, just for a little while.
First, we made our way down to our community yard sale. Each kid took $5.50 of their own money. I let them roam and purchase as they saw fit, and it was heartwarming. My son, predictably, went straight for the pop cooler, where he spent his first 50 cents. My daughter was drawn to the candy.
Both grabbed a piece of candy and we moved on. A very nice couple who we often greet outside was selling jewelry. My daughter snagged a pair of skeleton earrings for Halloween and my son purchased a necklace with a wooden charm, a gnome holding a rock.
He then went to the next booth, where an elderly lady who was selling her yarn creations. He got a simple red drink coaster, as his favorite color is red, and a bookmark. Then he realized that the next booth had a Spiderman mask available for $1. Alas, he was out of money.
That is when my daughter walked across, her last dollar in hand, and bought her brother the mask. She used her last 50 cents to purchase a pop for herself and we walked back home.
A little later, we were on the road to meet my mom and grandma at the BBQ and Blues Festival at McCormick’s Creek State Park, where we spent hours. I had not even felt like going earlier, but it ended up being one of those amazing days that we will likely look back on fondly forever.
I spent less than $20, and we enjoyed so many wonderful moments – dancing, singing, eating, playing, hula hooping, telling stories, exploring nature and just being happy together. We drove home in the dark, tired and content.
Looking back this morning, I realized that, in a lot of ways, my children are my heroes. They love hard and they feel deeply, and these two special little people are kind, smart and beautiful in more ways than I ever could have hoped. They make me a better person, and I am so lucky to have them as the biggest part of my life.
Today is National Love Your Pet Day, and I, like many others, posted a photo of my pet -- my dog Ella -- on social media. After posting, I started to think about all the things my pets have helped me through over the years.
Ella came into our home in February of 2012, when she was around 4 years old, and already has been with us through so many changes.
At that time, I was married, my children were 5 and 3, and we already had another dog, along with five cats. My 12-year-old dog Greta had been put down a month before, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, and going downhill quickly.
That was a heartbreaker, and as a result, I did not open my heart to Ella right away. It did not take her that long to work her way into my good graces, however.
In October 2013, my pet family had to be downsized. I left my husband, and although I wanted to take all of the animals along, there are not a lot of rental options for a family with seven pets.
Two cats -- Fred and Ted -- were sent back to live with the ex, and when all the dust settled on several other traumatic events, another cat -- Ikey -- ended up with my mom and my other dog, Ollie, is still living with my brother.
I took Ella and my two oldest cats, Miles and Benny. They both passed away in October of last year. They were 16 and 15. They had been with me since the beginning of my “adult” life. It was sad, and even worse trying to explain it to two small children.
As I write this, Ella and I are hanging out watching TV. She was born to be a good friend. She does run away every chance she gets, but she has been returned every time, always with compliments about how sweet she is.
As much work as my pets were, and as frustrating as they can be, I have a hard time imagining a life without a cat or dog companion. I will never again have more than one or two at a time, but I feel like I would not know what to do without an animal around.
Ella is all I can handle for now, but I could never ask for a better dog for my kids, or me. I have never seen any pet who is so gentle, patient and kind, and I am thankful that I get to spend this national holiday with her.
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News Writer: Lucy Pery PHONE: 317-527-4141