The last three weeks of life have taught me some definitive lessons on being human… I learned these lessons because of a dog. Yes, a dog… A dog that is smaller than most house cats. I’ll let that sink in.
A little sidenote, if you aren’t a lover of dogs, (I am sorry for you) you may have a hard time relating to what you are about to read.
“Her white blood cell count has bottomed out and there may not be much we can do for her.”
I’m sorry but excuse me? What? Little dogs live to be 14, 16, 18 even! What are you trying to tell me right now? She’s only 10. That’s like, way too many years too early. I am NOT ready to say goodbye to her. She’s a spoiled 10 year old ball of fur that loves to eat expensive dog food, chew raw beef bones and hump a pink teddy bear in the middle of our living room that’s twice her size… What do you even mean there isn’t much you may be able to do for her?! THIS IS NOT OK. THIS IS IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM OK.
Those were the (censored for my blog) thoughts that ran through my head as I stood in exam room 3 of the vets office with tears streaming down my face, holding in my arms a groggy, 5 lb 4 oz, ball of fur named Bella. This was last week. Two weeks into a nightmare that started with a routine doggy dental cleaning. The only thing the vet could tell me to do was wait to see how her little body responded to some big medicines. This morning, a week after an inconclusive bone marrow test, I went back for the final blood draw. I stood in the same exam room and waited. I waited as they took her from my arms to draw the blood that would tell me if she was going to be ok. I waited holding her so tight as they ran the tests that would either wake us up from this nightmare or spiral us deeper into it. I held my breath as the vet came in the room with the paper. “Her levels have dramatically improved!” I let out an exhale and yes, I cried. Right there in exam room 3, I wept, except this time they weren’t tears of sadness and uncertainty, they were beautiful tears of joy and gratitude. This little dog that has changed my world is going to be ok, for now.
As I drove her home, I went through the process of debriefing myself. It’s a quirky process that I came up with long ago that allows me to critically think about things that have happened and lessons I have learned about a situation. Before I get into what these three weeks have taught me, I will start with the conclusion that I came up with… It might sound super-duper crazy, but I am thankful this happened. I have legitimate gratitude that I have gone through this. (Yes, for real.) It taught me to stop. It taught me to stop the busyness of life and pay attention to the life that’s in front of you. It’s helped me to be more present in my relationships because we don’t know when they will be gone.
It reaffirmed the incredible support system that I have. It also opened my eyes to the fact that there are people who don’t have support systems like mine. It called me into action to want to be someone’s support system. To show up for someone who needs it, when they don’t have anybody else.
It taught me to rely on God. In my weakness, He is strong. In my worrying, He is steadfast. In my sorrow, He is my comfort. My sweet sister, always there with a redeeming word, shared an incredible story that referenced the Saturday between the Friday Jesus was put to death and the Sunday that he arose from the dead. Silent Saturday. The in-between days spent waiting on God to move. The three weeks of waiting were my Silent Saturday. For those days that I know will come again in life, I am comforted by these words “In the silence, wait well. Pray. Trust. Mourn. There’s no shame in that. But keep hoping. Sunday, your Sunday is coming.” I didn’t know if my Bella was going to be ok but I learned that regardless of the outcome, putting my hope in God and who he is was my best bet at getting through any of it.
It taught me to cherish each moment. Waiting for her to sniff out the perfect spot to pee when it’s super-duper hot out and the air conditioning feels so much better. Waiting for her to slowwwly finish her breakfast so I can leave for work. Waiting for her to walk in circles to find the most perfect spot for a little nighttime snooze-fest. Taking each moment and wrapping it in a pretty bow and placing it in my memory. Cherishing the time I have with her. Taking time to do nothing other than lay on the floor with her and rub her belly. The moments are fleeting and memories are all that will be left so it’s imperative that we cherish the moments and make some damn good memories.
Love with reckless abandon. Judge me if you must, but I had a moment where I tried to protect myself. Self-preservation at its finest. It lasted about 42 seconds. I had myself convinced for the better part of a minute that “It’s just a dog. No big deal.” Then I looked at her and turned into a blubbering basketcase. Cheers to being human. I’ve come to terms with the fact that when it’s over, it’s over. Withholding your love to try and protect yourself won’t make it feel any less painful. This is true for our dogs and this is true for fellow humans.
My debrief with myself came to an end just as I was turning down our road. I thanked God one more time for just a little more time with my dog. In that moment, the sun came out from behind the ominous dark clouds. The sun came out so bright that I had to put my sunglasses on. In that moment I am reminded that no matter what, the sun does come out again. On the cloudiest days, in the most horrible of storms, the sun always comes out again. I know one day, the day will come that I am going to have to say goodbye to this little ball of love that we named Bella. I boast in the Lord and his great mercy that today was not that day.
I didn’t always want to be a member of the Mommy Club. For 8 years now I have been the President of the Rockin’ Auntie Club and that’s been working out juuuust fine. I must say, I take my job as Prezzy of the Rockin’ Aunites super-duper serious. Load ’em up with love on Sleepover Saturday and send them home to Mommy on Cereal Sunday… Everyone gets ice cream and everyone gets to sleep in… Win-Win all around.
A little over a year ago Hubbz and I decided it was time. Take the plunge, make some adorable little babies and change your life forever in a million ways you never dreamed. I wish I could say that I am the next Mrs. Fertile Myrtle, however that has not been the case. The journey to the coveted Mommy Club has been arduous. (I was going to use the word laborious but there is definitely a lack of labor happening, and I didn’t think the pun was appropriate… But I am laughing now so there’s that. Anyway, I digress.) It started off fun and with high hopes of bright-eyed babbling babies. A year later it’s become tiresome and taxing … I know what you are thinking, how could baby-making EVER become tiresome and taxing?! I thought the same thing before I had to start timing a good sexy romp in the sack around my ovulation cycle!
For the women who are desperately trying to get into the Mommy Club, don’t lose heart. I can confidently give you that advice because I have lost heart many many times…
I’ve lost heart for every day I’ve peed on a stick only to have it tell me I’m not ovulating. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I AM NOT OVULATING!? I AM A WOMAN! I HAVE ONE JOB! MY JOB IS TO OVULATE! WHAT THE H-E-L-L DO YOU MEAN I AM NOT OVULATING!? WHO MADE THESE STICKS ANYWAY?! HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY ARE RIGHT?! 99.9% ACCURATE IS NOT 100%… OH. MY. GOSH. I BOUGHT A BROKEN BOX OF STICKS! HUBBZ WE HAVE TO BUY NEW STICKS! THESE STICKS ARE BROKENNNN!
I’ve lost heart through fertility drugs that make you feel like you are L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y going crazy (a sweaty crazy woman at that… Gimme a heyyyy if you know exactly what I am talking about!) I have cried about the buckle on my sandals. Let’s take a moment to really grasp the magnitude of that last sentence. Nothing says you’re losing your marbles until you cry over a shoe… And it wasn’t even one of my cuter pairs. I have ripped Hubbz’s head directly off his shoulders because well, I don’t know how to say this so it doesn’t sound crazy but, I mean, err, he was breathing too loud. There, I said it. The man was breathing entirely too loud for my ear holes. You will be happy to know that immediately after I was the most awful wife on the face of the planet I picked up his head and reattached it… And then I grounded myself for the rest of the night to our bed with Pinterest and a bowl of ice cream. Thank God Hubbz believes in mercy and grace. Also, if you are judging me at this point in my post I invite you to imagine having PMS… On steroids… Times 100… Besides, we laugh about that now… Well, I nervous laugh about it, then I look over at him to see if he is laughing over the story yet. He usually isn’t. I’m sure one day it will be funny… Maybe.
I’ve lost heart over many late periods and negative pregnancy tests. This is where I wish I could be funny and throw a line in here that takes the sting away from the journey to the Mommy Club… But I can’t because this is the hardest part of the journey. It’s the part that offers the most ridiculous amount of hope and excitement and leaves you crushed. This is the part where the planning and the pills and the tests and the doctor’s visits take it’s toll on your heart and your mind and your body. To want something so badly and to know that you can’t make your body cooperate. I was the girl who grew up knowing I could make my body do anything I set my mind to. I was an athlete. I could do anything. As of lately it feels like anything except this.
Since I am a silver lining girl it is imperative that I find the good in every situation no matter what. For the moments when I have lost heart I am so present to the things in my life that have helped me through.
Hubbz. That man has the ability to make me laugh when I have tears streaming down my face. When the pain is breaking my heart his love is a soothing balm. When I asked him what we would do if we never have kids he replied “We have each other and that’s the plan God has for us.” Drop the mic on that, Hubbz… Just drop the mic and exit the stage. You won the day, the month, the year, basically Hubbz, you won a whole lifetime with that answer.
My People. I have 13 of them. These are people that for years have stuck. Through the worst times in life they have done one of two things either stuck like glue or showed up when others ran out. They say if you can count your true friends on one hand you are blessed, well I need three hands… I am triple blessed.
The 9 Ladies. 39 days ago I invited 25 women to embark on a 40 day prayer circle. 9 accepted. For the past 39 days we have group texted intentions, motivations and inspirations to each other. I am confident that the prayers of these women have carried my through hard days. Life was intended to be spent with people and while I was scared of looking like a super weird Jesus Girl when I asked people if they wanted to be in my prayer circle, I am confident that I don’t want to live another day without a life circled in prayer.
My Sovereign God. I have gained and lost faith through this journey. I have gotten mad at Him and questioned Him and a time or, ahem, seven let Him know I was less than fond of his plan. Despite my own opinion I know in the gut of my heart (that’s a real place deep in your soul) that His timing is divine and His plan is only for good. I serve a God who is mighty and this journey has showed me how to surrender to His will- and perhaps more important, how to have peace and joy no matter the outcome.
To the valiant women who have gone on this journey to join the Mommy Club and faced infertility, I am in awe of you. I am in awe of your strength and your hearts. I have read blogs and stories and some of them make our time on this journey seem small. Others of you are where we are. Somewhere in the middle wondering if a little voice will ever look up at you and call you Mommy. I don’t know how this journey will end for Hubbz and I but I’m no longer ashamed or afraid to tell our story. It’s messy and it’s beautiful and it’s ours.
It’s time. The Universe is ready. Everything you have been working towards culminates now.
Here’s to looking back with affection, grace and gratitude while moving forward toward your destiny.
Here’s to new beginnings.
Here’s to living your greatness.
Here’s to being who you were meant to become.
Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready.
There are storms in life sometimes so great that we feel the very boats we Captain might capsize. The sky darkens, the seas pick up, and we start to take on more water than our boats can handle.
The storms come in so many forms.
Relationships gone so wrong they are unrecognizable.
Finances stretched so thin they just might snap under the pressure.
Health issues so overwhelming it makes it hard to breath.
Pain so great the thought of being alive another day makes our sweet souls ache.
A sign so amazing that it fills the sky and makes the very breath we breath catch in our chest.
In a moment. In an instant. In a flash.
The sea is calmed.
He is here… Not like he ever left… We just became aware again.
Whatever your storms- take heart.
He is here. Hands of Heaven outstretched in colors so vibrant they cannot be masked. In Him you will find His promise so deep, so profound, so incredible that you will be amazed you ever breathed a breath without it.
Live grateful. Be thankful. Count your blessings.
No, those aren’t silly cliches people say. They are words to build your life on.
The more thankful you are the more your life literally changes before your eyes.
Be thankful for it all- even the crummy things that make you cry.
In gratitude there is infinite blessing.