Friday, April 23, 2010

He's Just a Dog

We had to put our 17 1/2 year old dog Snooker down today. He was blind ... deaf ... had developed doggy dementia ... had cancer ... was having accidents in the house ... and wasn't eating. Each day that went by, he continued to grow worse. After talking to our vet, my husband knew this was something that needed to be done, so he made an appointment. We said our tearful goodbyes, took off his collar, and Wes left with Snooker. I kept saying to myself, "He's just a dog!"

But he didn't feel so much like a dog when ...

... he'd play outside with my kids when they were little and bark a warning when someone came up to our fence.

... he got hit by a car and we rushed his mangled, unconscious body to the vet.

... he'd wrestle with stuffed toys that were larger than he was.

... he woke us up at 4:30 in the morning for a dog biscuit.

... he'd tear up Mikaela's Barbies if she left them out. Mikaela was the only kiddo we had that Snooker would "pick on". Maybe because she'd dress him up in ridiculous baby clothes?! His attitude towards her changed over the years though and eventually he decided she was okay.

... he'd sit by my chair every morning while I had my daily quiet time. He didn't want anything other than just to be sitting by me.

... he'd have horrible, rancid gas -- look at us as if he were blaming us for it, and then walk out of the room.

... he'd pace the kitchen while I cooked, eagerly hoping I'd drop something, ANYTHING that he could pounce on and eat. But you know, that dog would WAIT for my permission to eat it. If I told him no, he'd lay there by the food and wouldn't eat it. He was always pretty happy to be able to clean up any spills for me though.

... he'd sleep ON my feet in bed -- not NEXT to my feet, not CLOSE to my feet, but ON my feet. Snooker made the rounds over the years, blessing everyone in our family with his presence as they slept.

... he'd greet us at the door when we came home like he hadn't seen us in years. He loved us totally and unconditionally. He thought we were incredible!

The fact is that we let that dog worm his way into our family and in to our hearts. Today, Snooker doesn't seem like "just a dog". We've lost a family member ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crusty Meat Loaf

I knew that I had finally made it as a mom when I took the burnt, crusty part of the meat loaf for myself and served the better portions to my family.

I knew I was a mom when my two youngest sons would wrestle on the floor and scream at each other in a restaurant, and I'd sit there calmly acting like it happened every single day of my life. Oh yeah, it did!

I knew I was a mom when I sat on the metal bench in 105 degree weather without shade to watch my child skip around the bases.

I knew I was a mom when I'd be the only one up at 3:00 in the morning, peering out the windows to see if an adult child's car had pulled up in the driveway yet.

I knew I was a mom when my child drew a picture of me getting out of the shower -- anatomically correct, by the way -- to show at the Mother's Tea at school.

I knew I was a mom when I could walk down the hall in my church, hear a baby screaming in the nursery, and recognize that screaming child as mine.

I knew I was a mom when I'd holler at the ceiling to the upstairs bedrooms, "You don't want me to come up there!!"

I knew I was a mom when everyone else left the hospital to go home and sleep and I still sat there with my child.

I knew I had arrived as a mom when it seemed that I spent the better part of my day and evening praying for my children.

Yep, I've finally made it. And what did those kids do? They grew up ... moved out and moved on ... started families, careers, and lives of their own.

As for me, I still eat the crusty part of the meat loaf because I've learned to prefer it. I still wake up at 3:00 in the morning, but now it's to go to the bathroom. I can't help peeking out the window still at that time though. The habit is too engrained. And I continue to pray -- pray, pray, pray for my children.

It's what we moms do ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Letting Go

I heard a sermon a few weeks back -- about the causes of anger and releasing our expectations, even though they might be "good" expectations. Why?! Because most of us (including me!)hang on to those expectations like a lifeline. We so want them to be fact that we refuse to accept anything else. When expectations are unmet, we (mostly me!) react with anger. So, God's been working with me a lot in this area. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of people around me (primarily me!) who don't meet these expectations.

As I was discussing this one day with God -- the discussion was mostly my whining and complaining, I've got to admit -- I was telling Him that anger was much easier for me to deal with. And surely I can be angry without sinning, right?! The simple fact is that if I'm angry with someone, then I don't hurt. Instead, I'm on the offensive. My fleshly and normal goal is to lash out or to force them in to meeting my desires. But, if I let go of my expectations and don't allow myself to get angry, the hurt seeps in. Hmmmm. Hurt vs. anger. Grief vs. hostility. Honestly, I'd rather be the one not hurting.

At the same time, I know that God tells me not to keep myself as the focus. I need to let go of expectations. I need to release anger. And, if the hurt and grief come in to play (which they assuredly will), then I have the knowledge that I'm experiencing my Father's heart. That's what He does for me. How can I do any less for those people around me that I love?

There have been several opportunities to experience this lesson the last few weeks (dang it!!). There have been times when I've grieved and experienced hurt. There have been moments of deliberately "letting go" and allowing God to work through me. Has it been fun? Nope! Has it been worth it? Definitely so! The amazing thing is that those folks who have grieved me probably have no idea what is going on. They don't know the high standards that I've held them to that they didn't meet (said tongue in cheek!)... and honestly, they probably don't care! But, do they know I love them?! Assuredly so!! Do I know that all is well between God and me? Gratefully so!

Releasing anger ... letting go of expectations (even good ones!) ... and allowing the Father to love through me -- may I bring glory to Him!! Again, it's all just a part of Finding Me in Him!!