The first day of kindergarten and a sick dog. This week is emotionally chaotic. Too much change at once. This week is supposed to be hard. It’s the first week of school for my girls. Gabs is starting kindergarten, so obviously I am all verklempt. I am trying to hold my shit together because there is nothing worse than a 5 year old seeing her Mommy act like she’s sending her baby off to war. Oh, but my mommy heart. It hurts.
I’m trying to be proactive and make it easier. Yesterday, I took her to school to meet the teacher and showed her around the room and the school. We investigated every nook and cranny of that Kindergarten class. She was a bit overwhelmed but I kept telling her how awesome it was going to be and her big sister was there to reassure her. I just kept swallowing the lump in my throat. Pushing it down, down, down; where it will stay until I am safely outside the building on the first day of school this Thursday. THEN, I will collapse in a heaving, hyperventilating pool of snot and tears.Yes, my heart is going to break. I know this. I’ve been here before with my first but this is different, this is my last baby.
My sweet little shy girl who embarrasses easily and who wears her heart on her sleeve. But like her sister before her, she will suck it up and make that funny little smile that tells me that she is feeling unsure and a little bit scared inside but she won’t let anyone else know, just her and I, it’s our secret. I’ll want to make it all better but the only way to make it better is to let her experience it and know that it is okay. This is one thing the girls have definitely inherited from me, they need to feel their feelings and survive them to know they can. We are “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger girls” and we are firmly set in our beliefs that, “Failure is not an option” even when it may seem like the only choice there is. We keep on trying. Both my girls are like that; stoic to the bitter end, almost to a fault. I wish she could just cry and get it all out but she’s too much like me. We do cry but first we push stuff down, way down and we carry on no matter how much it eats at us on the inside and necrotizes that spot we push it down to.
But the crap just keeps piling on. The same week that my baby starts kindergarten and my Bella has moved up to 2nd grade, my oldest and furriest girl (our 13 year old boxer, Saffaron) is sick. She’s old and we know that every day is a gift with this girl. Saffaron was the first baby the Big Guy and I had together. We brought her home in September, 4 months after we were married and she has been by our side since. I love this dog like only a Mommy can. My girls adore her. I’ve been trying to explain that sometimes people and animals get REALLY old (I’m trying to convince them that me being 39 is NOT really old) or sick and they go to sleep and then they go to be with God and wait for us. This is what I told them about their baby and now I am telling them this about their dog.
Today, the dog was really not feeling well. She was lying around not moving (she was breathing, I checked) but she just seemed done. Yes, I’ve seen this look before and we had a conversation last year. She owes me 5 more years, because my heart is not ready to say good-bye again so soon. I just had to say good-bye in May and I think there should be at least a year in between good-byes to people and things you love. Last year, she almost died from an acute case of pancreatitis. My grandmother died from pancreatic cancer about a month before my dog was afflicted. No, I am not saying that my Grandma gave my dog pancreatitis but my year in between good-byes rule came to mind this morning.
I grabbed my girls; sleepy (because she’s trying to adjust to the school sleep schedule), nervous (because she has been sporting her nervous “Help me mom” smile since she realized that this was the week she started BIG school) and Grandma Moses (because my once spry puppy is now an elderly 91) and off to the veterinarian hospital we went. As I looked in the rearview, I saw both of my daughters sporting the “Oh Jesus, please don’t today be the day our dog dies!” TO my right, the dog is giving me the,”Please don’t hit any bumps. Dear Jesus, take me quick!” Me, I am torn. On one selfish hand, I don’t ever want that beautiful bitch to die. I just love her too damn much and our family will be incomplete without her walking around looking at us all like we are all a bunch of assholes before giving us lots of love out of pity for our stupidity. She thinks we are big dumb animals; it’s obvious to us. But on the other hand, I don’t want her living in pain. Her body is not what it used to be. Her arthritis is awful in the mornings, she’s got glaucoma, and benign tumors pop up all over her body at random times for no apparent reason. She’s tired and I’m pretty sure that soon she will be ready to go and we will have to let her go.
The letting go sucks. I just hope it’s not this week. This week, I have that beautiful and sweet bitch pumped full of antibiotics and pain pills. We are all giving her a little more love and attention than usual. I’m hoping she will grace us with her big heart and floppy ears for at least another year. This week I have to start the letting go of my 5 year old and I just don’t think that my Mommy heart can handle losing my furry daughter. I don’t think any of us can, least of all the 5 year old. Please don’t turn the first week of kindergarten at my house into a country song.
How did you mark the first day of kindergarten?