23 August 2013

Flashback Post: On Her Birthday...

I still find myself wondering what she would make of things that come up in my life and missing her gentle strength and guidance.  Much love, Carla.  Happy Birthday.

For My Friend Carla, With All My Love

14 August 2013

I'm so glad she was born. SO glad.

At first, she looked like this...
I've recounted the story of how FTH Oopsie Daisy/Daisy/Daisy Duke/Daisy Mae/Mae/Mei Mei/Princess came into our lives.  You have undoubtedly heard me brag about how she was named by the community of greyhound freaks over at GreyTalk, how she lived on her Mama Caffie's kitchen floor until she was old enough to go outside in the puppy runs, and how my entire family on my mother's side once gathered around the computer to watch her come in spectacularly, amazingly, and fabulously dead last in one of her attempts to break maiden at JAX.

(For those not versed in Racing Vocab, that means she has to win a maiden race to get to run with the big dogs.  She didn't do that at JAX but did at Sanford Orlando, where she got up to Grade A.  I'm sure you've heard THAT story before as well, so I'll move on.)

Then, this happened...
What you haven't heard from me lately is that Daisy is nine years old this week (there is a running debate about the Leelo Babies Birthdate so I celebrate 12-14 August to cover all my bases...and because I love her too much for only one day).  Nine.Years.Old.  It has been almost a decade since I watched via text on GreyTalk that she had been born, almost a decade of knowing about her and waiting for her and loving her.

I know, everyone moons over their dogs like they are the only ones that have that sort of relationship.  I know that I am not the only one that loves my dog.  But y'all, my Mei Mei is special.

She came home to me and Simon at the tender age of 2.75, in March of 2007.  Me and Simon weren't even a Me and Simon at that point, not officially, but he was Daisy's Dah-dee from the start.  She never had trouble understanding him like the other dogs did, and would look up at him with the most adoring expression as he talked to her, as though trying to understand every syllable that came out of his mouth.  She still does that.  With him.  With me if I prattle on too long she licks me to shut me up.

She came into a family of old dogs.  Hunky was 10 when Daisy came home, going on 11, and Jeany would turn 10 the next month.  They were still reeling from the loss of Profile, who was the clear pack leader, and were none too thrilled to have this young and bouncy dog around.  So she adapted to them, not the other way around.  She would defer to them in all things, and became a comfort to both of them as they got older.  She also took their Mommy's focus for awhile, so that they could sit around and love each other and not be bothered by my constant fussing and attention seeking.

After Jeany fell down the stairs in Keighley, Simon kept finding Daisy curled up next to her.  She could have been out exploring her new home, terrorizing the cat, or doing a host of other doggie things, but instead she decided to make sure Jeany was comforted.  I think Jeany actually liked it.  After we lost Jeany, Daisy was forever snuggling up to Hunky, even when he wet his bed, and I'm not sure if it was to comfort him over the loss of Jeany or herownself.  Daisy falls hard in love, and when she loves you, you know it.  She loved her big brother and sister with a fierceness that I wish more people could possess.
And now, all she has to do is this and I'm a goner. 

Now she's back in that position again, after two years in the UK of being the only dog, getting all the attention, and generally living like the Princess she is.  With Clowny's injury and subsequent paralysis, Daisy has to navigate a world where her people are either ignoring her or telling her to be careful, don't stand on Clowny, let him finish eating before you dive into his bowl, etc.  She could turn into a spoiled brat, acting out because she isn't getting the attention she's used to, taking her frustration out on Clowny who is, to be fair, the easiest of targets right now.

But she doesn't.  My precious baby girl, my Daisy Mei Mei backs up when we ask, she waits to be allowed to clean up the food Clowny leaves behind, she snuggles on the bed with him at night until he grouses at her to move.  She takes her toys elsewhere and plays on her own, tossing George, her stuffed monkey, up in the air over and over until someone notices.  She follows me down the hall when I just need to go cry about Clowny a little without letting him see me do it and licks my tears off my face.

Today (and the two days prior) are more than a celebration of her birthday.  Today is a reminder that through some twist of fate, I was given the gift of Daisy.  Love you to absolute bits, my babygirl, to the moon and back.   I don't know what your Daddy and I would have done this summer without you.  Thanks is not enough, not by a longshot.

"You're my back bone.
You're my cornerstone.
You're my crutch when my legs stop moving.
You're my head start.
You're my rugged heart.
You're the pulse that I've always needed.
Like a drum, baby, don't stop beating.
Like a drum, baby, don't stop beating.
Like a drum, baby, don't stop beating.
Like a drum my heart never stops beating...
For you, for you."

(from Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips)

10 August 2013

Lost...but not in translation...

Hey Anne?  This is the purple sofa I wanted to
marry and bear children....
This is going to be a fairly personal episode of the Lettuce, so if that sort of thing makes you twitchy you might want to hit the back button on your browser.

Ever since I moved back to the US on 19 May, 2011, I have been lost.  At first I was lost because I was back in my foreign home.  Let me give you an example.  One of the first things I did was go to Walmart with my parents to pick up some things I needed.  After about ten minutes in the store, I had to go outside and ring My Mister (who was still in the UK and, sadly, didn't get it) and take some deep breaths because it was just too much.  Too much choice.  Too much colour.  Too much light.  Too much.

I had come back here to stop being lost in the UK.  But what I've found is that I wasn't lost when I was there at all.  I was me, the me that doesn't have to be the best greyhound parent or the competent seamstress or the flawless interpreter.  I didn't have a lot of the distractions or responsibilities there that I have here. There weren't as many people there for me to disappoint.  My Mister and I spent a lot of time together because basically we had...each other.

Don't get me wrong, he had friends and family there, but because I was not as outgoing as I could have been, I only had a few friends and my inlaws.  But My Mister and I are different in that way...he doesn't depend on his friends to define him like I do.

I thought that the things that kept me from being lost were in the USA:  Greyhound Crossroads.  The Hounds of East Fairhaven.  Follow That Hound.  My Deaf and Interpreter friends.  Wrong.  Since I've been back, I've had to take a job that isn't really what I wanted to do so that I could afford to bring My Mister and Daisy over from the UK and adopt Clowny.  I'm still in that job because there isn't anything in my field that would offer a comparable salary.  I see things every day that make me regret the cowardice that led me back here two years ago.

I wish I could wind up this post with a happy and confident "but now I'm no longer lost" sentiment, but I can't.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe Christmas if we make it over to visit my inlaws and my adopted home.  Maybe not.  I try to remember that "not all who wander are lost" and see myself as wandering instead...but that refrain is getting old.  Very, very old.  Is this the curse of the repatriate?

One of my expat/repat friends has a statement on one of her signature graphics that says something about coming home to find what has changed is you...maybe that is what's going on after all.

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