Haiku Horizons: Play

Bloody mud piles, play

dig your mean gut, soul, under

Won’t cry over you.

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Playful pup, mint grass
Going home with family
Kisses with trust, joy.

 ADOPT A SHELTER DOG IF YOU CAN, SO MANY WONDERFUL DOGS AVAILABLE
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 The play begins, hush
song notes are dancing like brides
tiptoe in white gowns.

 

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Daisy

One of my oldest, dearest friends is staying home this Thanksgiving with her dog, Daisy. I feel for her because Daisy is close to dying. Barbara, one of the most tender people I know, if you can get inside her layers of bravado, will not leave her side. She will sit with Daisy and eat turkey together and will not leave her house for one minute, she knows this is Daisy’s last Thanksgiving.

Ba and I have grown up together and I don’t say this lightly. We have been friends for over 30 years. We may not see each other for 5 or 10 years at a time but our connection is unbreakable.

Barbara has cooked a turkey for Daisy because Daisy still has her appetite and I know that my dear friend will be eating with her. The dog can’t walk easily so Ba helps her on to the bed, where she sleeps, on and off. Barbara hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks and from how she sounded I can see the dark circles under her eyes. The ones I used to see when she allowed herself to be sad in front of me, crying, when she was vulnerable and unafraid to be who she was.

Part of me wishes I could be there, for her, part of me is grateful that I have my own family to be with, I was never good at endings. I can barely say good-bye. All of my old feelings of our first dog, Callie dying unexpectedly are coming up.  I can’t write this without being misty-eyed and I am controlling myself. A lot.

I am sending my love to Daisy and to my friend Barbara because I know how hard this is, most animal lovers can certainly relate. I know that Daisy does not have much time left in this world, and in fact, when I found out that Daisy died, about a week later, I knew it in my heart, I felt it deeply. I even told my husband the very same day that Daisy had passed.Dog lovers, animal lovers, there is a bond like no other. Daisy was Barbara’s fur baby.

You cannot know love until it is taken away from you. That is when the grief process begins. The house, Barbara lives in now, is just way too silent.

In memory of Daisy, dedicated to Barbara with love.

Haiku Horizons, Home

Nestled in my lap

sleep, red-furry dog, snore, sigh

Home, together, safe.

 

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Coming home, head down

ashamed, broken, unsure, sick

Family is love.

 

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Homecoming queen sits

silver sparkles, crown, glory

starved, tortured inside.

 

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It’s Really Okay

Nothing could console me the other day. I was heart-broken about life in general and dear family friends whose demise was absolutely shattering. There didn’t seem to be much happiness in our lives (with the exception of our kids) and not one blessed thing could cheer me up.

I initially thought I should try to shake myself out of this mood but the world was an evil place, life was not fair. I thought things were supposed to work out in the end, I had believed that all my life, not anymore. Things don’t work out many times and even though I may root for the underdog, they don’t always win. There was is way too much random sadness, unhappiness and sickness, things, often, don’t work out.

First, I tried to justify things, to try to explain them to myself. That didn’t work, there were no answers.  There was also no need for me to try to cheer myself up. So, I stopped.

I realized it was perfectly okay not to try to make myself feel better. It is really okay to feel bad.  What’s wrong in feeling crummy once in a while? I never got dressed, I wore my long black V neck T-shirt that falls to my knees and didn’t even take a shower. I stayed in bed not that I felt particularly sick or winded, I just felt blah. No one ever said  life was perfect so I decided to have a mental health day and be alone with my crankiness and cuddle with my sweet dog, Lexi.

Lexi didn’t care if I was in bad mood, she still jumped up on the bed right next to me.  She always keeps me company. I can count on her to be there for me, that’s the wonderful thing about dogs. Unconditional love. She doesn’t have to give me pep talks or call me on the phone like a friend would have to do, she knew I needed her and she put her head on my stomach, even our breathing was in sync.

I’ve noticed lately that my friends don’t even call anymore. They text. I find this horrifying. When did my generation start doing this? I make my kids call so I can hear their voices but my friends now text? Insulting.  They can’t be bothered, either? What’s next? I’m sure I won’t like it.

It’s a very hard world out there and I used to be such an optimistic person but I’m not anymore. Life, as we know it now, has changed me. Part of me feels like bursting into tears this very second and the other part won’t let myself. I’m not sure if I could stop if I let myself cry….. I keep trying to hold it in and hope it goes away. I know that won’t last. Life is tough, really tough and the older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

I have no more expectations that things will get better. Why should they? They haven’t been good for a really long time and yet still I try to be grateful for the good things I do have.

It doesn’t change the world but I don’t want to become a bitter, cold person. I know it won’t change my circumstances or any one else’s but it keeps me focused on the good not the evil, most of the time, it’s hard work.

When I was young, my mother used to sing this song:

She never did promise me a rose garden, but I always thought there was one anyway.

Dear Parents of College Students

The Clown Motel

The Clown Motel (Photo credit: Great Beyond)

TO MY CHILDREN: THIS IS KNOWN AS SATIRE. DON’T GIVE ME “THE FACE.”

Dear Moms and Dads of College Students,

It’s been a long summer so I need to start this letter with an apology, I feel so badly for all of you.  Believe me, I am going through the same thing with my two, you are not alone. We are all here in solidarity. I’m writing to you today, on behalf of those of us parents who have been through this for a few years already and we want to forewarn you on the things that might be coming around the corner. We had no one to tell us, and believe us, we wish we had, so here is some helpful information, a guide, as you will, for YOU to get adjusted to college life. Let me put it bluntly: This is a phase after freshmen year usually called: YOU CAN DO NOTHING RIGHT.

After that as your child gets older you will all be; ” AS STUPID AS F**K.  Usually it’s the condescending tone of voice, the eye roles, the groans of disgust and the stony faces that will give you a clue. Now? You see them huddled over their computer screens not even acknowledging your presence. “Huh, what, did you say something.” The only question I get asked (think back to grade school) is “What’s for dinner?” What happened to manners? What happened to “NO TEXTING AT THE TABLE?” What happened to “can I help?”

We know nothing, our advice (unwanted) is not listened to and who asked us anyway? Face it people WE JUST DON’T GET IT.  The kids are not “home” they are here to stay as if they were staying at a MOTEL and you, mom and dad are the full-time, 24/7 concierge. What? You didn’t get that message from the college newsletters? Oh, well, right, it’s ASSUMED. Duh.

College students know much more ABOUT EVERYTHING than we do because basically WE KNOW. NOTHING. We are the “older generation” and people like us, well, we just don’t know the same things that they which they have practically learned in training pants. “Sigh (in a condescending tone)  I’ve shown you this on the computer three times already” “I know, I say sheepishly but I forgot, it’s not my fault. I have NO short-term memory.” I beg pathetically.  Deep heaving and annoying sigh, “Oh fine, mom, I’ll show it to you ONCE more but write it down.” At this point, embarrassed and demeaned you say, “Never mind, I’ll google it.” which is what you should do in the first place or called Apple even if you are on hold for two hours. Some things WE need to learn, this is one of them.

Who are these strange grown-ups dropping in at our home? I don’t recognize them this time, I don’t even know their friends who are sleeping in our family room. We want to make our kids happy so of course we say yes to their grown-up sleepovers. My gosh, we are not living in our home anymore, we have become a bed and breakfast, lunch or dinner. More likely, we have become a free-motel. Our warm, compassionate kids have become distant and aloof and self-involved while they haven’t stopped for a second to think about us. Why? Because we don’t exist except to pay the bills and welcome their friends with a smile.

The question begs to ask “who are we?” We are just the same old Mom and Dad that haven’t really changed much compared to their quick minds and independent thoughts. We’re stuck in the mud, while they zoom off to have fun with their new friends, to study what they want and to pop back here to see their old friends when it is convenient for them. We are no longer part of the equation, well, ok, maybe at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you accept it, it gets SO much easier.

It’s almost time for them to leave, for them to go back “home” to their suites and apartments in college. They have their own cars now. We don’t have to drive them up like the princes and princesses they are. They can unpack by themselves with the help of their suite mates. They will call once a week, maybe more. And, knowing us, we will be there for them at any and every time because that is what parenting children is about, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

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Haiku Heights: STARS

English: Mother with child; Oil on canvasC...

English: Mother with child; Oil on canvasCategory:technique with mounted parameter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kiss, touch, clutching hands

Nurture, discipline, move back

Moms, eternal love.

DEDICATED TO ALL OF US WHO ARE MOMS OF CHILDREN OR FUR-CHILDREN OR BOTH.

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Intangible light

green, octopus tentacles

Swirling, white foam dies.

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Sprinkle pixie dust

magical, enchanting gold

Shine your lights within.

If My Pet Could Talk

Kissy Face White Puppy Dog Love, Kahuna Luna c...

Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

True, True Love

I’m Callie and I am a nine year old “mixed breed” or mutt as some would say and my mom is the best mom EVER. I’m her favorite child because she says that I just give unconditional love and my siblings are both teenagers and they have something called “attitude.” I don’t. I just love to lie on my mom’s bed and we talk and she rubs my belly and I lick her face. I know when she is sad so then I just go up to her and kiss her cheeks and she puts her arms around my neck and cries some more but it’s now like a happy cry. She doesn’t leave me alone all day and I’m so lucky. I’m a lazy dog and I definitely fit in with THIS family. My mom picked me, yes me and not my stupid sister at the shelter and it was love at first sight. I told my sister not to eat all the electrical wires there but she didn’t listen. Hey, sometimes my Mom and Dad say that about my HUMAN siblings too about how they “don’t listen.” I listen and I crawled right into my mom’s lap and stayed there and never left.
At meals, I always sit next to her, my chin rests on her leg. I don’t bark, she likes all her children to be polite but when I look into her loving eyes, she always cuts a piece of food (or 3) for me and hides it in her hand so Dad won’t see it even though everyone knows she does it and that she’s a sucker for me! My mom loves food and she shares, my new favorite are ginger snaps and my mom was surprised but I LOVE THEM. She puts half in her mouth and the other half she lets me have because I go right up her mouth and the cookie and eat it. We share. My mom was also surprised when I liked blueberries but she stopped letting me lick hand lotion off her hands because some mean woman at the vet’s office said it wasn’t healthy. Who does she think she is? It was good for my pretty coat of hair.

My mom and my sister always have a birthday party for me, every year on March 1st. They invite my good human friends Margaret and Christina and John, but my brother and father are NOT INVITED on purpose because they think it’s stupid. I don’t even care. I get presents and a special meal and they sing the “Happy Birthday Song.”

So, Dad, I know you are the alpha male but ‘ll tell you now, it’s not MY fault I shed so PLEASE put away those stupid sticky tape rolls and stop with the vacuuming already, that vacuum machine scares me and there’s only so much noise I can take. My mom now puts a clean sheet on top of the bed so we’re all happy.

My mom is the best; I love her and she loves me. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. It’s Love, True Love. Lick. Lick.

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A Love Letter To My Dog

 

Bernese Mountain Dog, puppy, 7 weeks old

Image via Wikipedia

 

Dear Callie,

I adopted you from the Briarcliff ASPCA  animal shelter 8 years ago. When I arrived,” just to look”, the manager of the shelter was cuddling two tiny puppies, one on each side of her cheeks. She told me that they never got puppies but you and your sister had just been returned by a man who adopted you at 5 weeks old. He returned after a week to drop you and your sister off because “you were too much trouble.” What did he expect from two 5 week old puppies? You and your sisters and brothers were rejected by your mother who was very tired after having given birth a few years in a row and she would not nurse you. I’m sure in my own psychological, baby heart I related to you, having been born 6 weeks prematurely and in the Neonatal department of the hospital for 5 weeks, away from my own mother. I wanted to save you, to save myself.

You and your sister,  tiny,  black with white and tan spots were handed to me as I sat myself down on the cold, gray concrete floor. You fit into the palm of one hand. One of you ran around, eating electrical wires and trying to escape; the other one walked more tentatively and curled up in  the center of my lap. It was love at first sight. I admit, the other dog was more confident and feisty and she probably would have had fun riding in the car, unlike you.  But, we all know that I’m a softie and when the tiny fluff ball that was you crawled in my lap and sighed with contentment, I did too. We were made for each other, Cal.

When the kids came home from school, in 3rd and 4th grade, you were so tiny that they first thought you were a hamster. For the first week or two I slept downstairs with you on the sofa bed and I treated you as if you were a newborn baby. When you cried I held you, when you whimpered I soothed you and I put a stuffed animal in your crate and the sound of a ticking clock to simulate a heartbeat. You were never a dog that needed to be walked continously you preferred to be at home, safe in our tiny house that was always filled with warmth and lots of love.

You are a natural-born charmer.When we eat dinner you stay near me and you rest your soft, silky neck right on my knee. Oh, you’re a spoiled dog, but you don’t whine or beg, you just look at me tenderly, licking your lips, knowing I will surrender eventually. Who can resist your warm brown dog eyes, the way your fur is outlined  so it looks like you are wearing permanent eye liner. I covet your really long eye lashes that dip and curl.  You eat everything, and you especially love Lorna Doone‘s, spaghetti sauce and blueberries. You’re not a fan of broccoli or pretty much any vegetable that’s not covered in cheese sauce. But, I admit, you eat more things than my two teenage children combined.

I love you, Callie. You are so important to our family; you always have been. The kids used to lie on their stomachs with one arm around you and talk. My son would confide in you when he was furious, my daughter still whispers her secrets in your silky ears. I never knew the meaning of unconditional love before you joined our family. Your fur has white and gray in it now, and you jump more tentatively but that’s alright. We will love you as long as you are with us and long afterwards too.

Snow Dog (Repost)

The Wolf Dog playing with a ball in the snow

Image via Wikipedia

Callie, my beautiful 9-year-old dog lies curled up at the end of my bed; her black, white and tan fur as soft as down feathers.  Her paws are white with tan freckles, her stomach is pure white. Her long tail is like a sweeping paintbrush, like a peacock’s plume, black and tan, its softness tickles my nose.   Sometimes she shudders and shakes when she is sleeping and I reach out to stroke her fur and wake her up; she looks around and stretches one paw directly up into the air and audibly sighs.

Callie knows, instinctively, how I feel;  she is sensitive to my moods and especially to my sorrow.  She jumps up on my bed  and looks at me with her liquid brown eyes, knowingly.   After my father died, Callie spent a lot of time with me, she could comfort me as no one else could. She licked the tears away from my face and would not leave my side until I felt better.  I didn’t need to explain, I didn’t need to talk, she understood my pain at the most primitive level. Her fur was often damp from my tears, my arms curled around her body. Wherever I went, she went; she still follows me everywhere; I still call her “my little shadow.”

Nine years ago I drove to a few shelters, “just looking.” One day I arrived at a shelter to see a woman who worked there cradling two, tiny, adorable puppies in her hands, one to her left cheek, the other to her right. Apparently the pup’s mom had abandoned them and wouldn’t nurse them.  I arrived five minutes after a man who had adopted them for a week came back and brought   the puppies back to the shelter, because “they were too much trouble.”

I sat myself down on the dirty floor and the two, six-week old  puppies were placed next to me.  One was frisky and started eating telephone wires, the other crawled into my lap and stayed. It was love at first sight, for both of us.  I identified with the little ball of mush snuggling into my lap, sighing with contentment; if she had been a cat she would have purred.

I  watch Callie from the window, frolicking in the snow, barking happily, and hopping and skipping like a bunny. Snow is her favorite element and in it she acts like the same young pup we’ve always known.   Her favorite time is when we have a snowstorm and my husband shovels snow directly to her.  She can literally jump up to two feet in the air so she is just about vertical and she yelps and barks with utter joy.

I was never able to understand the bond between a human being and a dog, until we adopted Callie and then I knew what unconditional love was.   My children whisper their secrets to her, I have seen them bend down, close to her ear. She is the keeper of secrets and of sorrow, and she is constantly happy, even if we are away for five minutes, she greets us with great joy.

Now, her once black whiskers are turning white; the fur under her chin has also changed from black to white. My daughter asked me the other day “How long do dogs live?”  It’s the same thing I have thought about from time to time.  I hesitated, and  my daughter said the following:” Mom, I need to know. I need to be prepared.”   I told her what I knew and what the veterinarian had said and that I understood her completely because I needed to be prepared too.  What I did not tell her is that no matter what, you can never be prepared for death. Ever.

My daughter and I and our closest neighbors celebrate her birthday every year on March 1st. We buy her a present or two and she always gets a really good meal. The boys in our family want nothing to do with us. But, for my daughter and me, it’s a celebration of her life, year after year. I hope she is with us for a very long time but when the  day comes, I know that I will always cling to the image in my mind, of my dog, crazy happy, jumping into the air, covered with snowflakes.

newly dedicated to Rosa Michelle