Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Scout the Dog

I had to put Scout to sleep tonight. It was time. I knew something was wrong last week. He stopped meeting me at the door when I got home from work. I thought he was just getting old and I let it pass. This weekend he would spend time just standing and staring into space. Still I was hoping it was just a phase and he would get back to being normal Scout. That didn't happen.

When I got home from work tonight my dad told me Scout had been laying on his pillow under my desk all day without moving. I got under the desk with him and tried rubbing him while offering some hamburger. He wouldn't eat and barely lifted his head. I made a bed on the couch and placed him on it. I gently stroked him for about an hour trying to will him into feeling better.

I told Sophie he was sick and she covered him in her pink baby blanket telling him, "it will make you feel better Scoutie." Such a kind and loving heart she has. I got up to use the bathroom and when I was away he had stumbled off the couch and then evacuated on the floor. He was trying to walk but just could not make his body do what he wanted it to do. I knew he was not going to get better this time.

I ran him to the vet where they did a chest scan, an ultra-sound, and blood work. Scout had a massive growth near his spleen and his stomach had masses in it. His blood platelets were gone. They gave me an estimate of $6000 or more if they did surgery but were honest enough to tell me the chances he would make it were very very remote.

After making a terribly painful decision, I held Scout in my arms as he passed on to the other side. I rubbed his belly. I put my forehead on his. I let him know just how loved he was. He was Holly's dog. She got him when she was 18. I cannot count how many times she cried thinking about what she would do when Scout finally died. In some perverse twist of fate she never had to experience that pain.

Holly loved Scout as much as any person can love a pet. Scout moved across the country with her. He was with us in San Francisco when we got married. He was there waiting for us when we brought Sophie home from the hospital. He was there waiting every time Holly got out of the hospital. He was there for me when Holly passed. Scout was a huge part of our life and involved in so many monumental events. Now he joins Holly, Shilo, and Lulu in Heaven.

Godspeed Scoutie. I hope you are running through heavenly dog parks filled with your favorite juniper trees. I hope you are eating nothing but the most tasty of french fries of which you loved so much. You will be greatly missed by both Sophie and I. As Sophie told me earlier, "Scout is with mommy now but still attached to our hearts with the invisible string." Indeed he is. Good bye buddy. Good bye.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentines Day Fail

A couple of weeks ago Sophie's teacher sent home a notice that they would be doing a Valentine event at school and that if she wanted to participate to bring in 18 cards for her classmates. In addition, we were to help make some kind of box or bag that was decorated for the kids to put the card *into*. Simple enough. I planned ahead enough to buy the cards last weekend. Yeah me!

Fast-forward to yesterday morning. I was getting Sophie ready for school when I realized that today was the day of her party. I had totally forgot. In fact, I had entirely forgot about the decorated box we were suppose to make. I threw Sophie's card in her backpack and we headed off to school. No box for the cards.

Yesterday when I picked her up she mentioned that I had forgot to make the mailbox for her. She told me she was the only one who did not have one. I felt... terrible. The kind of terrible that only a parent can understand when disappointing their child. She was not sad. She was not mad. Just matter-of-fact. She was happy with the cards she received. She said she had fun. Just not box.

I don't have a lot of time. I get up in the morning. Get ready for work. Get Sophie up and ready for school. We drive to school and I wait in the car drop-off lane with all of the other parents. I go to work for a full day. I pick Sophie up from her after-school care at 5:30. If we don't have to do any errands after work we can be home by 6. I make dinner for us and try to have it ready by 6:30. We sit and eat dinner until about 7pm then it is off to the bath. Bath time from 7 to 7:30. Get her jammies on and into bed about 8pm. She still has a hard time sleeping on her own so most nights I get in bed the same time she does and read a book or watch a documentary. That is my Monday - Friday. No deviation.

Weekends are a time to go shopping, yard work, clean, laundry, and everything else. Including getting Sophie's school stuff done. During the week there is no point where I can slip it in. Unless of course I want to keep her up later which I refuse to do. I think sleep trumps just about everything for growing kids. Last weekend Sophie already had a project to do (on Super Bowl weekend... whatever). She had to create a diorama of an area in Australia. Which really means I had to do a diorama on Australia. She is 5. 

In the midst of finishing one project for/with her last weekend, I forgot to do have her do the other project of the Valentine box. Sigh. Didn't we use to do that stuff when we were in school as kids? Regardless. I forgot. As hard as I feel like I try, I still fail at times.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

9 Months

Yesterday before the Super Bowl we went to Costco to buy a bunch of provisions for the week ahead. We did our shopping and as with most trips there, we ended up having a hot dog for lunch (something Holly started). Their dogs are huge and I am always amazed when Sophie finishes the whole thing. Heck, I rarely finish the whole thing.

As we were eating there was another little girl who was sitting at the table behind us. As little kids do, they were best friends in no time. The other little girl was a month older than Sophie (cause apparently learning the vitals of your new best friend is pretty important.) Surrounding us were several other tables with women of various ages pretending to be looking at their phone or busy doing something else. In reality they were all listening to Sophie and her new best friend as they talked and talked and talked. It really was adorable.

The other girl pointed to her mother and told Sophie her mom's name. Sophie pointed to me and told her my name (and my age which somehow always seems important for Sophie to share).  The other little girl then asked Sophie were her mom was. Sophie (very matter-of-factly) told her that her mom had died and was in Heaven. The other girl seemed to have a little trouble processing that (which I am glad). The women who were listening-in seemed sort of crest-fallen. A cute little conversation between two sweet girls had suddenly become more serious in a not-very-happy sort of way. While not numb to it, I have heard that conversation enough times now to know how it goes. 

By this time Sophie was done her with her lunch and it was time to head home. We got up and were walking away when one of the women who had been listening came over and told me she was sorry for my loss. Very kind words from a perfect stranger. It was also a very distinct reminder of how painful it was to have lost my wife just 9 short months ago.

I miss you Holly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nudging Conversions by Carrie Gress

We all know someone - a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle, coworker, grandparent, child, neighbor, or friend who has either left the Church or never discovered it. We want them to know the joy and peace we've discovered, but the last thing we want to do is to force our faith on them. So how can we bring our loved ones back to the Church?

Jesus was the first and greatest evangelizer. As his disciples, we're called to share in his mission to spread his message to others. But going outside your comfort zone to engage the disengaged in meaningful conversations about Catholicism can be overwhelming. Fortunately there are common patterns that are easy to follow once you recognize them.

In Nudging Conversions, Carrie Gress unveils those common patterns and offers a practical roadmap for reaching out to friends and family. You'll learn the art of asking questions, when to speak and when to keep quiet, basic tools for talking to others about Jesus, how to answer questions about the faith, and more.

Conversion doesn't happen overnight, sometimes all it takes is a little nudge.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016