Friday, August 30, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today's thankful thursday...Our local animal shelter.
Last year, my daughter's depression hit a peak that was scaring us.  She deals with anxiety issues, and sensory issues, and a myriad of issues and despite therapy (maybe even partially because of the wrong therapy) we were watching her spiral downhill.
There was one thing that seemed to consistently improve her mood, her ability to cope and her overall quality of life.  Which led to an improved quality of life for the rest of us.  And that was...dogs.
Our neighborhood seems to have a ridiculously high dog turnover rate.  One family is on their 5th dog in 2 years.  While I'm happy for their fortune...and Bumblebee was enjoying spending quality time with their pooches during their still-working hours (with their blessing), it was hard on all of us when they would make decisions to rehome their beloved pets.
Reasons varied.  Pets were occasionally offered directly to Bumblebee, which made the whole seperation ten times worse.  We rent.  We're financially challenged.  A pet?
But then we did some research on animals and anxiety/depression.  The facts were pretty concrete from what we'd seen with her.  We thought...maybe a hamster.  Or...a bunny.
But you can't bring either of those with you to the park, or a friend's house, or whatever.  We wanted (we needed) a pet that would help to get her out of the house and social.  That would directly and positively impact the depression we were all being sucked into.
A cat?  They seemed a distinct possibility.  But, you can't take a cat out in the yard when you can't breathe.  you can't take them for a walk.  And they do their own thing a lot.  They aren't necessarily cuddle bugs when you want them to be.
Bunny then.  But research shows that they are pretty needy.  Their upkeep cost was similar to a dog's and they live for 8 or more years.
I looked at my husband and said "If we're going to have a pet for the next 8 years, I'd rather have a dog."
He looked back at me and said "Me, too."
Enter the local animal shelter.
I'll skip through the looking process for this post.  Suffice it to say, we brought home this fluffball.  He was traumatized in the shelter setting, and removed to a no-kill; all frills facility where he was given his own little room with a cozy chair and a covered window.  He shivered, and used his wide eyed 'button' face on us.  (The face that makes him look like a teddy bear with button eyes and nose).  We were smitten.
Of course, we got him home and discovered that on leash he is loud and obnoxious, and off leash he's anxious to get back on leash and do some more walking.
He's kicked me into shape with his 3 miles a day or more, and makes sure we get moving.  He's dragged us out of the house for weekly obedience classes (which was a condition of adoption, since he was shivery and needed confidence boosting)  He's not quite the therapeutic dog we hoped he would be for Bumblebee.
He's better.  He's given my husband and I something new to focus on besides what went wrong today; he's given us all something to laugh about and talk about.  He gets us moving.  And once in a while, if we're really lucky, he snuggles up close.

So, we're thankful for the shelter.  Not only for giving him a chance to find us, but for helping us to keep helping him.  And in doing so, to help ourselves.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Looking back over my blog, I've noted that the past few years have been rough.  I haven't been thinking or focusing enough on positive things.  Nor have I been keeping up with a faithful dialogue of my life, stressful or not.
And there's a lot of mention of depression, which I flirt with and am repeatedly told that there's not much I can do except reduce my stressload.  Since there isn't a lot I can do about that either, I decided I'd begin a series of thankful thursdays to last through Thanksgiving if not beyond.  (Eventually I may start being thankful for the same things over and over.)
This lovely epiphany began as I was strapping on my favorite apron and thought "This makes me happy."  I don't often wear aprons.  No one really does anymore, I've noticed.  They sell them all over the place, and hang in kitchens and appear on TV.  But how many times do you show up unexpectedly at someone's house and see them hastily untying a stained apron?
If people wear one, it's usually for show.

My favorite apron isn't exactly showy.  It does a lovely job of absorbing that extra backsplash when I'm washing dishes, although I usually am reminded to put it on *after* a large pot resettles itself with a clatter and splatter of suds down the front of my jeans.  But, tie it on I do.  And then I feel my mood raise.
I have no idea what was done to the fabric to create this cute design, but it appears to have been done by hand.   

You see, this apron is special.  It came to me when my parents were cleaning out my Grandmothers house and I mentioned I'd like some cute kitcheny things.  Along with a dozen egg beaters (which all were abandoned soon after, when I was diagnosed with Celiac and Corn allergy and terrified of cross contamination) I found this apron.  It was cute, I thought.  The little pattern at the bottom seemed unique.

I figured I should throw it in the wash.  After all, how long had it been in storage?  And what manner of flour might be hidden in it's folds?  Gingerly, I turned it around, looking for a tag.  That's when I discovered the most wonderful thing about this apron.

It's handmade.
Family research indicates it was originally handcrafted either by my grandmother when she was young or by my great grandmother.  Either way, it seems like an heirloom I should cherish.

A good collector knows that collectibles collect nothing but dust if they aren't loved and used.  So, it was thoroughly handwashed and now it is regularly worn. That's the best way to cherish something, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I hate punishing my kids.  I absolutely hate having to come up with and follow through with consequences.  I'd much rather they behave like the perfect angels I know are buried in there; sometimes closer to the surface than others.  But, a good parent can't always be a child's friend.
Sometimes, parenting means being 'mean'.
Although one child is constantly testing and reevaluating her boundaries, the other sometimes takes me by surprise.
It is that child that blinked away tears tonight and told me I was right and thank you.

I don't know how to let her know how proud I am of the way she listens, accepts and respects rules.  She may rant and rail in her own way in private (And I'm certain with her friends) but some days...she makes me feel like maybe I haven't done so bad by them after all.