Shades of Shadow

I have this four legged companion who is now eight months old.  Oh he’s so cute and certainly a lap dog, full of love and kisses.  His name is Shadow and in the deep recesses of his personality, there lies a shadowy darkness.  Oh, yes, underneath that loveable exterior is a rebellious teenage monstrosity.

He challenges me every single day.  In the beginning, the potty training went well and all was right with the world until I realized that he used his urine to make a very loud and clear protest.  That’s how it all began.  Shadow doesn’t like when Daddy comes home from work and goes on the computer, so he stands in the middle of the kitchen and pees, not just in one spot but over a five foot radius.  Shadow doesn’t like when Mommy leaves the living room to go to the bathroom so he decides to chew the remote control.  Did I mention that most of the time I am not allowed to go to the bathroom alone simply because, well, he is my shadow.  He likes to pull the toilet paper off the roll as entertainment while I am desperately trying to take care of business in peace.  I have to use reading glasses and when I decide to get up off the couch, he eats the glasses.  I am now on the third pair of reading glasses.

His protests are becoming quite clear and more and more destructive despite my attempt to give him plenty of exercise, discipline and affection.  It seems that the kitchen counters are not off limits to this guy.  I was in the living room and he wandered into the kitchen.  He came right back out again and I thought everything was okay.  But evidence to the contrary grabbed my attention.  When I went into the kitchen, there were paw prints on top of my counter.  He was just checking things out I guess.  One day, while I was in the shower for all of 5 minutes, I came out and heard a strange crunching noise.  I knew he had gotten into something.   I have  my medications in a daily pill box.  He reached up on the counter and took the pill box.  I was in a horrific panic as I was considering grabbing the phone and calling the vet.  If he ate my medications, I don’t know what would have happened.  But, to my surprise, all my pills were spilled on the floor.  He was more interested in the plastic pill box than the pills.  Thank God.

Yesterday was a new twist to this menace of a dog.  I watched him through the sliding glass door as he went to do his business.  I don’t know if  you can really imagine my horror when I tell you that he was eating his poop.  I totally freaked out.  I ran outside, screaming like a lunatic, “Get out of there, what is wrong with you.”  I honestly couldn’t look at him the same way.  I was so repulsed by his action.  I immediately went online to look up this disgusting behavior to find out that it is quite common among dogs.  I guess that is why they are dogs.  I don’t know, but common or not, I cannot live with this nonsense in my life.

I took some time to calm down and regroup.  This one will take a little longer to get over than all the other troubling things this holy terror has done.  So, here are the new measures I have had to implement.  Every time I am watching television and need to leave the room, I must remove the remote, cell phone, reading glasses and anything else that is on the end table.  I mean, every time.  He has to be in the crate when I shower.  I cannot let him out of my sight for one minute.  He’s not allowed in the kitchen if I am not in there.  I have to watch him every time he goes outside to poop so that I can clean it up immediately, which, I have always done anyway, but now he can’t even have time to smell it.  So disgusting.

I am at my wits end with this puppy.  He’s about 65 pounds and despite his size, he’s still a puppy.  I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this first year with this calamitous animal.  I often feel like a prisoner of this dog.  I hate to admit it, but he requires my attention every single moment of the day.  Many times a day I get so frustrated and I actually say out loud, “Dear God, please help me.”  When I do that, I am seriously praying for help and the truth is that it calms me down and allows me that moment between raging reaction and constructive action.

I love Shadow and I know that this too shall pass.  These days are very trying and I do believe that when I “pray” and ask God for help, he does help me.  This is just a small trial in my world and I know that in the grand scheme of life it’s not important but, this animal is a spiritual soul and it is my duty to give him the best life possible.  The unconditional love and loyalty will make up for these teenage times with my pup.  You can’t get much closer to God than that.  Complete unconditional love and loyalty with pure innocence.  I can only hope that I could exist with those attributes for even a small amount of my time.

Once again, I am finding another pearl of wisdom in my daily life.  Simple, daily life issues always have some form of a gift for us to take away.  As I struggle with this young creature of God, I am reminded that the gifts in my life are plentiful.  Shadow is a gift that will enrich my life and bring me so much joy.  I am truly thankful for him.

 

 

Never Say Never

I believe that in life if you don’t get the lesson the first time, you get to do it over and over again until you get it right.  I never realized how true that was until it really hit me in the face.

I have evolved ,over the years, into a completely different person.  I am but a shadow of my former self and that is very good news.  Not that I was a bad person, but I was a very hurt and broken person.  My daily decisions were all based in fear, anger and low self-esteem.  I was broken by the sudden loss of my father when I was 17.  It was sudden, completely unexpected, especially for a man of 48 years old.  He had been out of work for a solid year and finally got a new job.  He was a truck driver.  On his very first day of work, he was excited to be able to get financially stable once again.  On that very day, he never came home again.  He died of a heart attack while unloading that truck.

My world changed and I went into a tailspin of deep depression.  My life choices were made out of fear of being alone; out of fear of losing another; out of fear of not having someone to take care of me.  I got married at the age of 18.  I was so naive, just a child actually.  I was scratching my way through the muck of life with no direction.  I had two sons from that marriage that ended in divorce after nine years.  I was low-spirited for that period of my life.  My children didn’t know that.  They just needed me to be a Mom and I gave it my best with what I had to work with.  At that point in time, I had not evolved into anything but a sorrowful, depressed young woman and unfortunately that is what I gave to my boys.  I remarried and had a daughter with my second husband.  I felt that  was my chance to start over and use previous experiences to grow and to raise my children.  It was all so fresh and new.  But, I still carried the sadness and fear and depression with me.  Since that was what I had, that is what I once again given to my children.  Don’t get me wrong, I was the best mother that I could be.  My children were well cared for and loved but I wasn’t able to give them the best version of me because I hadn’t met her yet.

I raised my kids and felt that I was mothering them pretty well.  The struggles of raising kids never ends.  You’re always trying to teach them lessons and show them the way.  I made so many mistakes along the way.  I was rigid and expected them to grow with the rules that I grew up with.  I was unrelenting in my high expectations of children that were so young.  I look back now and wonder to myself, “What was I thinking?”.   I was so involved in the “rules” that I couldn’t see that I wasn’t allowing for the fact that they were children and so they should be able to act like children.

I have always been a searcher, meaning that I was a soul-searcher.  As I grew, I learned more and more to allow my spirituality to help me raise my children.  But, that took a long time and my kids were getting older and turning into teenagers and young adults.  I have to say that my children are 5 years apart.  I was one person when I had my first child at the age of 20 and a completely different person when I had my second child at the age of 25 and then again changed when I had my third child at the age of 30.  I was evolving at a slow rate.  I was finding that problems were getting bigger with my kids and I was not equipped to handle them.  I was still allowing fear, sadness and anger to guide my life.  Looking back now and seeing the mistakes I made just makes me cringe with sadness.

Now at the age of 57, it all seems so clear as does most things when looking in the rearview mirror.

My second marriage ended in divorce after 15 years.  I moved on to a new relationship and at that point, my daughter was 14.  The boys were adults then and I had grandchildren.  Still, at that point, I was not seeing the true needs of my daughter.  Again, she was well cared for but I was overlooking the most important things.  I was missing what her feelings were and what she was going through.  I was on a new journey and she was along for the ride.

While all this was going on, I eventually had a nervous breakdown and was forced into therapy.  I thought it was the worst day of my life but it turned out to be the best day.  I gave in and sought therapy and healed through hard work, blood, sweat and tears.  I finally healed from the loss of my father.  His death was 33 years before this.  So much healing took place with that year of therapy.  I learned how to communicate with my daughter and I learned how to stand up for myself and look at the world with more loving eyes as the sadness began to roll away. I allowed myself to be accountable for all the mistakes I made while raising my children.  I spoke with each one individually and acknowledge my mistakes and asked them to share with me the things that I had done that hurt them so much.  I apologized to each of them.  I learned so much about myself at that point in my life.

My evolution at that point was monumental but I had another surprise in store for me that I didn’t see coming.  My boyfriend has a daughter that is 8 years younger than my daughter.  All this time she lived with her mother until her mother’s circumstances changed and his daughter came to live with us at the young age of 14.  Wow, I thought I could handle taking care of a 14 year old.  I had done it 3 times and now had grandchildren; a lot of experience under my belt.  Once again, my eyes were opened.  This child was different, I was different.  The “rules” that I had raised my children with weren’t working.  I suddenly became that same old rigid mother type again.  What was I thinking?

I guess I didn’t get the full lesson after raising three children and grandchildren so, I got to do it again.  My step-daughter and I went on a journey together.  We learned together what worked and what didn’t work.  I learned to not be so rigid and to acknowledge when I was being unreasonable and apologize.  She began to respond positively and we grew a bond with each other.  Today, as she is now 19 years old, we live in a very peaceful environment.  We work together to achieve peace in the house.  We have compromised with each other about our daily habits and life is good.

I remember saying very adamantly, “I’m never going to raise anyone else’s kids.”  I so forcefully put that out into the universe and the universe heard me and responded with another chance to get the lesson.

Never say never!

 

Becoming a Mother, Again.

Last October we sadly said goodbye to our beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback Shakarri.  He was eleven years old.  I swore I would not ever get another pet ever again.  I was surprised at how much my heart has ached since he left us.  I just can’t seem to shake it.  My depression was getting the better of me.  Finally on March 10th, it was a Saturday, I was in a deep state of sadness and I told my boyfriend that if I saw a Rhodesian puppy that day I would take him on the spot.  My boyfriend was very surprised at the statement because I swore never again.

On March 10th, 2018 I decided to go online and look for a Rhodesian puppy.  I found a woman who has spent the last 50 years raising, breeding and showing Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  She has studied them and loved them deep in her soul and it has been her life’s passion to share these beauties with the world.  I decided to call her but she didn’t answer and then I texted her but I didn’t get any response.  Two days later I was finally able to get hold of her.  When I told her how heartbroken I was and how I needed a Rhodesian puppy she immediately said “I have one for you.  He was just born on March 10th”.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe that things happen at specific times and for specific reasons.  I believe that the Universe puts all the pieces together for us if we are willing to be open to receive.

On May 12th, 2018 we brought home our new baby and his name is Shadow.  The name is so very fitting because I cannot take a step without tripping over him.  Here I am at the age of 57 and raising another baby.  Puppies are babies in every sense of the word.  They require complete attention and awareness and they rely on us to meet their needs.  I’ve taken on this responsibility willingly with open arms and heart.  Once again this is a true exercise in living in the moment with complete awareness and love.  These are the things that I have always strived for. The true gifts in life are within the here and now.  This moment is the only thing we truly own and I am embracing this moment with my new puppy.  Once again in life I have the opportunity  to practice my experiences of patience, love and kindness and grow with this little guy.  This little puppy will open me to new joy and new lessons that I can learn from each day.  I’m already  experiencing them by being able to just let everything go, the housework and the routine to nourish this sweet precious little soul.

I am grateful today for all the new challenges Shadow will bring.  I look forward to sharing our growth with all of you.