To my Mom on Mother’s Day

I remember crawling into your bed at just five years old. The thunder was cracking, the lightning was flashing, and I was scared. But as soon as I crawled into your arms, and you held me tight, the fear suddenly diminished. I felt safe next to you. This was even before the tornado came.

About two years passed, and suddenly we found ourselves huddled in the corner of our basement, under covers, praying for our lives. But just like you had done two years ago, you held on to us kids so tight. You refused to let anything happen to us. You made us feel safe. And even though it was scary and traumatizing, we made it through that night. We lost every material thing, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter much. We still had each other, and that is all we needed.

The years after the tornado were tough on me. I had nightmares after nightmares. But when I had one of those nightmares, and I woke up in a panic, I knew where I could find my comfort. I would slide out of my bed, tip-toe across the house, and crawl in your bed next to you. You always knew why I was there. You would tell me it was okay, and you would hold me in your arms. And for the rest of the night, I would feel safe.

Then there were the times that I was sick. I am sure I would have recovered the same in my own bed, in my own room, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be with you. You would make me hot tea, Vicks me up, tuck me under your covers, and there we would lay, watching Lifetime movies, until we both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe and the sickness suddenly disappeared.

There were also the heartbreaks. I know you remember each one vividly. They broke your heart almost as much as they broke mine. And I didn’t even need to ask you – you already knew. You told me to come over to  your room, and there I would stay, crying with you, talking to you, watching Lifetime movies with you, until we finally both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and the heartbreak suddenly started to disappear.

But it wasn’t just the scary, sick, or sad times that I would spend with you. There were nights, that I just wanted to be with my mom, the woman who raised me, loved me, and inspired me. So I would come over to your room, we would lay in the bed, eating popcorn and drinking Pepsi, watching Lifetime movies, until we would fall asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and I felt unconditionally loved.

You have always been there to hold me when I needed you most. You first held me in your arms 25 years ago, as I took my first breath. In that moment, there was so much love, so much joy, and so much safety. I knew from that first minute on, that you would always be there to hold me, and you have never let me down.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – I love you.

 

Two Years.

Today is my adopt-a-versary. My gotcha day. However, I’m sure you all knew that already. I’m sure you had it marked in your calendars since last year. I mean, it isn’t as big as Martin Luther King Day or Christmas, but come on people, it’s pretty high up there. At least top five. Oh and by the way, I am still waiting on the gifts and cake to start rolling in.
So of course there had to be a blog post about this monumental holiday. But, instead of being all sappy, and making everyone cry hysterically with how sweet and corny I can be, I decided to make everyone slightly chuckle instead. Yes, I do enjoy a good laugh.

A lot has changed in two years. I’ve gotten better looking (if that is even possible), more witty (of course), a little more tender (don’t tell anyone I said that; I don’t want to ruin my bad-ass image), and more comfortable and content with life. Let’s face it, my life is way better than yours. My mom and dad are way cooler than yours. In general, everything about my life is pretty amazing. Well most things are amazing – we still have that whole bath situation to sort out.

Anyway, I figured I would compile a list of 15, because that seems to be a good number. A list of the 15 things I have learned in my two years of being adopted. So continue on…

  1. All dogs literally hate the mailman. This is not just true in movies. It is very accurate in real life. I think they are some sort of terrorist, or maybe they just smell like bacon. I haven’t decided yet. Either way, I would bite my mailman’s arm off if I was loose when they arrived.
  2. Pretending you’re scared of getting your nails trimmed at Pet Smart is the best way to get attention, from both your parents and strangers. All you have to do is start whining slightly and add in a little tremble for extra effect, and a second groomer will just come over to you, just to hug you until it is over. Come on people, I am not that big of a baby. I just want the extra love. Plus, your mom and dad will feel so guilty afterwards, that you will either get a bone or a vanilla ice cream dish. It’s a win-win.
  3. Human food is way better than dog food, and if you give the dopey-eyed look long enough, you will definitely get some of your human’s dinner. And you know what I think – I think that chocolate isn’t actually toxic to us dogs. I think humans just tell you that so they don’t have to share.
  4. No matter how hard you beg, or how many times you put it on your Santa list, you will never get out of getting a bath. I will forever hate this time of the month, but shaking all of my wet, dog fur onto my dad afterwards, makes it semi tolerable. 
  5. Lounging on the couch is only acceptable when I am at my grandparents’ house or dad is not home. But as soon as Marlee gets the call that Zach is heading home from work, I jump off the couch and the lint roller comes out. Shhh, don’t tell Zach our secret. 
  6. Squeaky toys are the best. I used to never be into toys, but after getting the BarkBox every month, I have grown to love all toys. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and start squeaking and tossing my toy up in the air. It’s mostly for my personal enjoyment, but I also get a kick out of watching mom and dad wake up wondering what the heck is going on.
  7. You feel like a new man every time you take a poop. I guess it is like a load taken off of you – pun intended. But seriously, every time I relieve myself, I bolt into the house full force and start throwing my toys all over the living room. Maybe it’s my way of telling Marlee there is a fresh pile for her to clean up.
  8. When you are named after your dad’s favorite college basketball team, you will be forced to wear a t-shirt every game for good luck. I just learn to accept it. And warning, there will be family photos involved.
  9. I know I am not supposed to lay on the mattress when the bedding is being washed, but that never stops me. Marlee loves it when my black fur gets all the over the white mattress pad.
  10. Cuddling with Marlee and Zach at night is the best part of my day. Zach makes a great pillow, full of fluff, and Marlee makes the best snuggler.
  11. Running away, even as just a game, isn’t worth it. When I first was adopted, I used to get loose and have Zach and Marlee chase me for hours. Now, if I get loose, I just lay down on the grass in defeat and wait for them to come grab me. Mostly because life anywhere else wouldn’t be as great as the life I have with them, and partially because Zach spanks hard.
  12. I will forever be between the ages of 4-6. Marlee and Zach do not know my exact age, so anytime they are asked, they always say 4-6 years old. They have been saying that for two years now. I guess I am like Edward Cullens and won’t ever age.
  13. Barking at any stranger or dog that walks past me is my favorite thing. I get a kick out of watching them jump a little.
  14. Sometimes all you need to make the day better is a little bit of porch sitting with the family. Plus when you’re out there at the front of the house, you feel like the King of the neighborhood. 
  15. Being with a family, who loves you as much as Marlee and Zach love me, is pretty awesome.

So yea, life for the past two years has been nothing short of fantastic. I am one lucky dog. I am loved. Everything is okay in my world, well except for the bath situation, but like I said before, I don’t think that is changing anytime soon.

Now, I am going to enjoy the Burger King cheeseburger meal that I got for dinner, while wearing my crown, because I am the King.
 

I am Thankful for…

It’s officially Thanksgiving Day everyone!! I can just smell the turkey, and most importantly, the pumpkin pie. Ahhh yes. It just feels so right.

I absolutely love this time of year. I love when the whole house is filled with those feel good scents that take you back to the good ole’ days of running around grandma’s house. I love when the holiday music softly plays in the background, as your mom works hard in the kitchen preparing the greatest feast of the year. And I most importantly love when everyone you cherish the most is together at the dinner table, going around saying what they had most to be thankful for this past year.

Unfortunately, this year, I have to spend the first part of my Thanksgiving at work. I know, I know, this is the part where I say how thankful I am for having a job that pays the loans upon loans I have. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for it, but this year, when we go around the dinner table saying what we are most thankful for, mine won’t be my job. It won’t be any material thing I possess. And no, it won’t even be Duke. I know, big shocker there. Mine will be something that most people probably wouldn’t even think to be thankful for. Mine will be second chances.

Yes, everyone, this year, I am so, so thankful for second chances.

It’s not even just looking back on this year. It’s looking back on my whole entire 24 years of existence. I ask myself, where would I be without second chances? It’s scary to think about. It is almost chilling. Without second chances – Without grace, I could be dead, I could be lonely, I could be lost.

I first go back to when I was 7 years old. Huddled in the basement, under blankets, clinging with everything I had to my dad, while an F-4 tornado literally took everything from above us. It was the most traumatizing night of my life. To this day, I still feel the fear from that night. It wasn’t the blankets that saved our lives that night. It wasn’t even my parents’ strong hold on to us kids as the tornado ripped through everything around us. It was God – God’s grace that saved us. Without his grace. Without him giving us a second chance to live life, I would not be here today. That is why I am thankful for every morning I wake up, and for every night I lay my head safely down on my pillow. That is why, I am thankful for God’s second chance.

Then I go to my senior year of college. The year that I made a big mistake. The year, I was unsure of my fate, my future. What would become of me? Would everything I worked so hard for, be ripped away from me that quickly after one mistake? But after two months of uncertainty. Two months of pure misery, I was blessed with a second chance. A second chance from people there who believed in me. The people who saw me for more than my mistake. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for them believing in me and for them giving me that second chance to prove myself. 

Then I think, where would any of us be without second chances after mistakes. We all make them. Big ones and small ones. It’s part of life. So be thankful for those second chances, because you’re life wouldn’t be the way it is now, without them. 

I then go to this past year. Actually, these last 3 months. The time when I lost one person who meant so much to me. The person I thought I would spend my life with. We went our separate ways for 6 weeks. It was tough. My heart broke. But then out of the blue, things turned around. They did a complete 180. We were brought back together. This time, even stronger and happier than before. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for that second chance. The second chance he gave me to love him, the second chance I gave him to cherish me completely, and the second chance we gave each other to make things even greater this time around. 

I finally think, where would Duke be without a second chance? Where would any of those sweet shelter animals be? Probably alone, probably scared, and maybe even gone from this world. He was given a second chance at a family. A second chance at love. And I know, he appreciates that more than anything. They all do. 
 

So tonight, when I sit around the dinner table with my family, listing everything that we are each thankful for, I will say how I am so thankful for second chances. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!