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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Surprise Gifts

March 24, 2010 6 comments

Usually this would be a Wordless Wednesday post, but I have too many words about what I am sharing.  We have started a family tradition where Aaron’s best friend, Jeremy, visits us for Christmas.  This past year he came and brought his girlfriend and her son, Xavier.  It was a real treat because Xavier is very close to M’s age and very much like him when it comes to personality.  We spent the day together at my in-law’s as the boys got to know each other.  Then that night we came home and stayed up late laughing and playing.  It was one of the most perfect evenings of my life as a mother.  M was full of smiles and just giddy with joy.  They danced, jumped, ran, hugged, tickled, shared.  It was amazing.  M is our only child so to see him connect so well with another child was amazing.

This week Jeremy and Ashlee came to visit again for a day and Jeremy had a surprise.  He had created a video of the evening and set it to music.  It is incredible!  Jeremy is the most talented video guy I know.  He recently had a great success with a music video he completed.  I was so excited when he said he had made a video.  Below is what he put together.

Keep an eye out for our niece, Lilia, M’s break dancing, and a spitting dinosaur!

Each time I watch it I get choked up.  It is so amazing and completely captures the joy of that day.  You can see M and X in the beginning, a little unsure of each other.  You can hear the laughter and joy.  And as it continues you watch two little boys forge a friendship.  It truly was one of the best nights of my life.  I was so thrilled to see my little guy having so much fun and I felt like I was literally watching him grow and mature before my eyes.  It really captures the essence of what I hope M’s childhood is.  These are the types of memories I hope he holds on to.  This will bring smiles (and some tears) to me for a long time.

Thank you Jeremy, for being so incredibly thoughtful and talented and for capturing a few moments of my son’s life that I am so glad to have forever!

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Goodbye dear friend

February 23, 2010 10 comments

Baxter when we first brought him home

This month our little family faced yet another deep and difficult loss. Our precious dog, Baxter, passed away on February 18, 2010 at about 1:00 am. Words can’t explain the bond we felt with Baxter “BB”. He came into our life unexpectedly in June 2004. He had been abandoned by his owner and was being kept at my cousin’s house. They didn’t really have space for him and so we offered to bring him home. From that moment on, he was our first baby. I had never known immediate love before. I didn’t realize that it was even possible with anything other than your own children. But we did. We loved him deeply from the moment he came home. I remember he wandered off that first night and I was in tears. I was crying over a dog I had only known for about 5 hours. That was how instant it was. We got him home, cleaned him up, removed ticks, and fed him. We spent hours snuggled up with him. He was so sweet and easy to love. He burrowed his way into your heart and you just couldn’t let him go. He made an impact on everyone he met. I don’t know many dogs that have their own theme song, but our BB did.

Baxter the week we lost him

Baxter during the last week with us

We made it our mission to give him all he had missed in life and to make up for the pain he had suffered. He went with us hiking, canoeing, camping, traveling, shopping at Lowe’s, boating, and visiting family and friends. He LOVED to get dressed. He would prance around so proud. I think it was all the attention he received. He wandered off quite often… he loved to catch a scent, but always came home to us.

Baxter gave an immense amount of love and companionship. We joked that he was an equal opportunity lover. There will never be a dog like him. He was the best gift we could have hoped for. Several years ago, at a routine checkup we discovered he had a heart murmur. Over the next 4 years it progressed until the last year when it was as bad as it could get and he began coughing. The coughing turned to hacking and then to a distressed breathing. It was heartbreaking to watch our best friend deteriorate, especially when his mind and spirit were so strong and sharp. We don’t know for sure how old he was when we got him, but the vet guessed 5. So, he would be almost 11. Until the end he seemed so much younger than that. On the evening of the 17th we knew it had gotten bad. He had already had 2 bad days and a bad night and was now stressing to breath constantly. We called our vet at midnight and told her that this was it. We were not sure that he would make it through the night and we didn’t want him to go into distress. We knew it was coming, since she had told us a week ago that it was really up to us at this point as to when would be best, but we just didn’t expect it so soon. But we knew this was it. We met her at the office and spent an hour crying, sharing stories of him with her, snuggling with him and finally, saying goodbye. His weak heart only had 5 beats left in it and he was so peaceful. And in that moment our hearts were shattered.

Never would we replace Baxter. This was a truly special dog that had a place in our heart that will never belong to another. We cried and cried. On Friday, we brought home his ashes and felt some peace knowing he was home. More times than I count I would expect him to be there. Split seconds of forgetting he was gone. His loss has been unmeasurable.

So, a few days later, yesterday in fact, we did something we never thought we could or would do. We rescued another dog. Yes, less than a week later, we have invited a young puppy into our home and our family. We NEVER thought we would find ourselves here. We had wanted another dog many times, but always decided not to because Baxter needed to be an only dog. We were happy to make that sacrifice for him and his happiness. When the end of his life was nearing, we were in agreement that it would probably be a long time before we got another dog. Yet, here we are. How did we get here? How did we come to this decision for our family when we always felt it would only be proper and necessary to wait for a while after losing a pet?

Anyone that has lost someone very close to them will tell you that each day without them in the beginning feels like an eternity. And that has been so true. We have tried to just be open with our emotions. The first few days we cried as we shared stories and memories. We cried as we looked at his picture. But we started to realize something. We realized that we will be mourning him for a very long time. We realized that no dog will ever replace him. He has a place in our heart that will always belong to him. We realized that loving another animal doesn’t diminish him, doesn’t take away from him, but to us it honors him. It is a way to pay it forward. He gave us so much, we want to give to another dog.

We also realized how many dogs there are without homes that love them and commit to keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. It was heartbreaking. We realized that not everyone can rescue, but we can. So many insist on pure breeds for a number of reasons; always had a certain breed, wanting to “know what they are getting”, etc. But that isn’t true for us. When we started seeing this and realized this, it suddenly didn’t make sense any more for us to not give a dog a home as soon as we could. We will be mourning regardless, why not be loving and supporting a dog who needs us too? When someone has two dogs and one passes, they don’t stop loving the other dog. They mourn and learn and grow. There is enough love to go around. And that is what we learned. We are only limited by ourselves. We are capable of mourning and missing Baxter and wishing he were still with us at the same time that we learn about and love a new member of our family.

We never imagined ourselves here, but yet here we are. I am processing the loss of Baxter and remembering all the joy he brought, while Reagan is sleeping next to me. I think Baxter would be proud. He would be happy to know another dog has a chance at a home that will give him anything and take the time for him. And Baxter will always know his place in our hearts, we are confident that we did a wonderful job of loving him during his time with us.

Reagan on the way home

So, here is the new member of our family. Reagan Gold. He is a four month old Schnauzer, Yorkshire, Beagle mix. His mommy got pregnant unexpectedly and the owners surrendered the 3 pups. He was the last to go and we knew the moment we met him that he was meant to be a part of our family. Aaron is still sleeping with Baxter’s collar in his hands. I still cried as I wrote about Baxter. Our family has a lot of healing to do still. But we have also laughed and smiled many more times in the last two days. We have something positive to focus on if we feel stuck. And with all of the loss we have faced this year, Reagan is a gift for which we can’t even begin to say thank you enough.

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Child ornament ideas

December 16, 2009 1 comment
M's first ornament

M's first ornament

I don’t claim to be uber-crafty, but this is one thing I think I have done right.  When M was a newbie we wanted something for him to give at Christmas so we bought the kits to make those hand print ornaments and we made those for each set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and ourselves.  We could actually say that our brilliant 6 month old made the gift and it ended up starting a wonderful tradition. (We even had our pup make one that year!)

The next year, we needed something that M could do that would keep the interest of a 1.5 year old, be easy enough, and be beautiful!  So, we bought plain glass bulbs. (only ONE broke in this whole process!!  Seriously!)  We also bought some craft paint in red and green.  We did two different types that year. Some we let him use a sponge brush and paint them, which he loved until he became bored.  Then we took a gallon size ziplock bag, put some paint in it, put the ornament in and let him shake it.  When it was coated, we let it dry for a few minutes, and then did the same with the other color.  As you can imagine, he LOVED this!

M's ornaments from when he was 1.5 years old

M's ornaments from when he was 1.5 years old

M's ornament at 2.5 years old

M's ornament at 2.5 years old

Last year, at 2.5, we were able to let him really go to town with it.  We bought wood carved hearts and let him paint two colors and add some glitter.  He was also old enough to tell us who each one was for as he was making them.

This year he will be painting wood snowflakes and adding glitter and ribbon.

These have been a huge hit with the family.  We love that we are instilling in him the value of thought and effort instead of monetary importance when it comes to gifts.  We love that we look at our tree and see how he has grown over the years.  And, of course, we love to watch him create these gifts on his own.  It is a gift in so many ways!

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Wordless Wednesday 12/16/2009

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

I thought that, since we are so close to the holiday, I would share some images of the ornaments that A and I have collected each year.  I love putting up our “family” tree because it tells such a story.  Each year I buy A a surprise ornament to mark that year together and we usually pick out one together too.  I also sometimes buy one to celebrate what special event has taken place that year.  Here are the “mark the year” ones we have collected:

ornaments 2002-2008

"Mark the Year" ornaments 2002-2008

This is a tradition of ours that I absolutely love!  I look forward to a tree FULL of these ornaments one day, each helping to tell the story of our life together.  Just imagine… one day we will include ones for new children, grandchildren, and major events in our lives.  It is a wonderful evening spent unwrapping memories that starts our holiday season each year.

The Family Tree

The Family Tree

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