13 September 2013

September 11 and Baseball

At precisely 7:15am every weekday my boy crawls in bed with me to begin our daily ritual:  he reads me the box scores from all of the major league baseball games the night before (to include division standings and any injury reports) while I silently wish I had a barista on speed dial who delivered to my bedside.

Today was no different.  Except that it was.

Boy: "Mom, listen up.  This is important.  The Cubs beat the Reds but the Pirates won.  Mom, did you hear me?"

Me:  "Yes, boy.  I heard you.  Um, who's pitching tonight?"

By asking this, I foolishly think I can buy myself another 30-45 seconds of slumber.  Wrong.

Boy: "Today is September 11th right?  So tonight...."

I didn't hear what he said next.

Today is September 11th.  That date still makes me feel vomitous.  And I felt even more vomitous when I realized that I should probably remind him of the significance of today just in case someone mentions it at school.

Me: "Boy, do you know what today is?"

Boy: "No, why?"

I take a deep breath and tell him in the simplest words possible about today.  I tell him that there are some bad people in the world but that there are hundreds of thousands of good ones, too.  I tell him that his cousins have an uncle they never got to meet.  I tell him that the men and women in the military work hard to make sure that our country is safe.  And I tell him that today is a day to remember.

He suddenly puts down his tablet, looks at me exclaims, "Whoa.  Does dad know about all of this?!"

I can't help but smile and sort of chuckle.

Me: "Yes, dad knows."

Boy: "Ok, good.  Because as long as dad knows, we'll be safe."

If only it were that simple.

But for him, today, it is.  And since he's grown up with a dad that has deployed eight times, a mom that survived those eight times on too much caffeine and probably not enough patience, I'm glad it's that simple for him.  Selfishly, I'm glad he doesn't know too much about what happened 12 years ago today.

For now, he can spend his time memorizing ERA's and stolen base stats.  When he's older I will make certain he remembers.  And not just today, but every day.

Today?  I will remember enough for both of us.

19 February 2013

Goodbye, Sadie Girl

Always where the action was.
I said goodbye to my best friend on Friday....of the four-legged variety, that is. It hurts. And I'm still crying off and on as if I am one week postpartum and my milk hasn't come in. It's ugly, I tell you. Those moments are only balanced by moments where I want to shake myself and say, "Snap out of it, woman! She was just a dog! And you're running out of Kleenex!"

The rational part of my brain knows she was just a dog. But the irrational part knows she was the best dog I'll ever have. Sure, she ate two pairs of Joshua's man sandals (I cant believe I ever let him buy those, btw) when she was a puppy. And yes, until she was five or so she used to jump on people and bark like crazy when they came in the house. And believe me I was not thrilled when she once decided to eat an entire grill pan full of greasy chicken and steak drippings and then proceed to barf up ALL of her stomach contents on our brand new Army-issue beige carpet. She wasn't perfect. But she was perfect for me.

Ever protective.
 For 14 years she was here.  Every day.  All day.  She PCS'd (Army moved) eight times like a champ, and always settled in to her new backyard with ease.  She sat through numerous coffees, FRG meetings and bake sale preps with me without complaint.  She got up with me for middle of the night feedings, cleaned my cheerio-strewn floors on a daily basis and  In essence, she was my "battle buddy."  When the Army sent my husband across the big pond eight different times, I would bury myself in FRG meetings and functions, play groups and volunteering at school.  I did anything I could to keep myself out of the house and to make the time pass faster.  But at the end of each day, I always felt better knowing I would come home to Sadie.  And I could always count on her to lay in front of the couch with me when I fell asleep watching reruns of Matlock or The Dick Van Dyke Show (it's hereditary, I swear) waiting for a phone call.   I specifically remember one instance where the Air Force had cancelled four rotators to Iraq in a row (shocker!) which meant we had to say goodby to my husband four times over the course of about 36 hours.  It was pure torture.  Each time he left I would be a crying mess and Sadie would position herself by my feet and fall asleep.  After the fourth time, she positioned herself in front of the door as if to say, "Don't worry, I'm not letting him back in this time."  I think she knew we couldn't handle another goodbye.

Always a good sport.
On Friday, I left for work knowing I would not see her again in this life (dogs TOTALLY go to heaven, so don't even try to tell me they don't).  I sat down at the top of landing and stuck my face up to hers, nuzzled her snout, and patted the ground next to me to signal for her to sit.  But she didn't.  She looked up at me with her now gray face and cataract-filled eyes and walked away. I heard her nails on the rug under the dining room table and when I looked, she was lying down, her head on her paws facing away from me. This time, I think she knew that neither one of us could handle a goodbye.