Tag Archive | Family

A Dog Named Libby

Today was a dark day.

It was one of the worst we’ve had in many years, and for a long time there were a lot of them. But we knew this day was coming and despite the anticipation, we still weren’t prepared for how hard it would hit us and how much it would hurt.

Once a family of six, we are now a family of five, saying good-bye to our sixteen year-old fur baby, Libby.

We knew it was time. We purposely didn’t travel for our summer vacation because we didn’t want to be away when it happened. Coincidentally (or not) it did happen during our vacation. A dog smarter than most, we’ve come to the conclusion that she knew when she wanted to go. She waited until after her human brothers were done with their baseball seasons and she was surrounded by the ones who loved her the most, to make her departure. She did it gracefully and considerately like she did everything else.

She came into our lives at just the right time and left the same way. She was the perfect dog, a wonderful companion with a beautiful soul. She gave us comfort and hope and joy, and I’m afraid I’ll never find that in another dog again.

I’m sure you can tell I’m a dog person and always have been.

From my own Princess who lived to about sixteen and died in my arms, to my grandparent’s dachshunds, and then my own two dogs, I’ve always loved their soft brown eyes, wagging tails, and happy tongues. Nearly every member of my family has a dog, and I’m that girl that wants to be best friends with every dog I meet.

Their loyalty and happiness, goofiness and unbridled joy, is not only endearing but inspiring and I can’t imagine a world where they don’t exist. Between you and I, I prefer them to most people. They don’t complain, judge, or criticize. They don’t care if you’re successful, pretty, or smart. If you’re sad they try and make you happy and if you’re happy, they try and make you even happier.

Their only purpose in life is to make yours better. I don’t know that there’s another creature on earth who is that unselfish and loves you so unconditionally, even after only knowing you for two seconds.

That’s why the loss of our girl was so difficult. She was the perfect dog. Everyone said so and everyone who met her loved her instantly. She was gentle and loving. As a puppy she was adorable. As an older dog, she was a sweet lady with soft fur, perky ears, and an agreeable personality.

My husband was the one who adopted her. He found her during an APL event and chose her because she was the runt, but she fought back against a sibling who was trying to bully her. He chose her for her spirit and she was forever bonded to him because of it.

He was her person and if he was nearby she was over the moon. This loyalty lasted throughout her entire life, even up to the end. They loved each other and because of him, we got to love her.

When we got her she was shorter than a wine glass. She was supposed to be a Pomeranian mix and no bigger than ten pounds. Imagine our surprise when she grew to thirty-five pounds and we discovered that she was a Shepard-mix instead.

We had so many nicknames for her. Libby Jean (named after my mother-in-law), Libbers Bajibbers, Jib-jibs, Satchel Page (I think that’s a baseball player), Libs Bajibs, Libbers, Libs, Wibby Wibby, pretty girl, and Libby-Lou. She loved her pink stuffed piggy and a stuffed animal of Paddington Bear, who ended up a shell of himself without eyes, stuffing, or clothes. He became a naked and empty carcass covered in dog slobber and smothered with love.

Her favorite thing in all the world was tennis balls. She loved to chew on them and chase them and she was fast. Really fast. She jumped, ran, leapt, and raced after them with everything inside of her, tongue flapping, legs flying, bursting with happiness anytime she found someone who would play with her. She carried that ball in her mouth until she would find a sucker to throw it to her and she always did.

Notice the tennis ball at Libby’s feet.

She’d take her soggy, spit-filled ball and set it on your lap, or roll it toward you, until you acquiesced and played with her. She was relentless and full of joy, and she knew that eventually you’d give in because you wanted to. She begged you with her beautiful brown eyes to play and it was impossible to deny her.

She ran like that for many years until her legs started to give out and we had to stop her from running so much in order to save her legs. She would’ve ran like that until the day she died if we would’ve let her.

Her second favorite thing was her family. She loved company because she loved her people. She was especially fond of her grandparents and aunts and uncles. She loved being the center of attention and basked in everyone’s love and attention. She was easy to love and everyone did.

She also loved to sleep on my husband’s pillow during the day. She’d put her butt right on it and when he would lay his head down at night, he’d have a face full of dog hair and know that his pillow was full of dog-butt. I didn’t envy him for that.

A Shepard-mix, she was strong and intelligent, and highly intuitive. Her mind was nimble but her body could no longer make it which was perhaps one of the saddest parts of all of this. She still wanted to play and run but her body told her that she was too old, and she didn’t like that one bit.

She was funny and feisty and bossy. Toward the end, she often refused food, so every day was a challenge to get her to eat. Some days she would only eat out my hand, other days she would only eat chicken and rice, burger meat, roast beef or soft dog food. She knew what she wanted and didn’t want and kept life interesting.

She was the one who made us a family. We had her three years before our children were born and she was always our baby. Spoiled, loved, and adored we were so happy to have her for as long as we did. We know how lucky we were that she had such a full life, but it still doesn’t feel like it was long enough.

Not nearly enough.

I could’ve had another sixteen years with her. I could’ve had her for the rest of my life. It doesn’t make sense that they’re gone so soon when we love them so much but I know that I have to let her go.

I know that part of life is loving and letting go. I also know that I am sad because I didn’t get to love her as long as I wanted to. I don’t know that I would ever be ready to let her go but I’ll have to. I have to show my children that this is a part of life and that you can’t be afraid to love, because you have to say good-bye. I have to show them that it’s worth it, and important, and worth doing again and again.

There will never be another girl like Libby. She was perfect. But I know that there will be another pup for us to love when we’re ready. We still have one pup we adore and while my husband swears that there will be no more dogs because it hurts so much, I know he’ll change his mind … eventually.

His heart is too big not to fall in love and want to rescue another one. There will be one who loves and needs him as much as Libby did, who will capture his heart at just the right time. In the meantime, we’ll mourn and remember our perfect girl.

Our hearts are broken but they’ve been broken before. Only love and time will heal us and we’ll be thankful that we got to spend so much time with such a beautiful soul.

And we’ll be thankful.

So very thankful.

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Crazy White Haired Lady Rant

When I’m confused or frustrated, I turn to writing. Don’t miss my blog post on the Hummingbird Charm website!

http://www.hummingbirdcharm.com/family

The Rock

I swear I’ve been writing. I promise!

While I am behind with a book due March 1st, a short story due for a anthology that will benefit autism, and the second book in my Coming Home Series, I try and write a bit at a time. I would love to write in blocks of time but often I only have minutes.

I admit that I’ve been failing at marketing and behind on writing but its a constant struggle that I know I’ll always have. With a busy life, many responsibilities, and shifting priorities, I remind myself that it’s all about the journey. So yes, I have been writing.

I can’t not write because it’s just a part of who I am. It’s how I make sense of the world and am able to face it every day.

As part of this journey, I’m currently looking for reviewers! If you’re interested in helping me by reading and reviewing my books, please fill out this form. Writing is better when people are reading, and people read books they know others have read.

Here’s my latest blog post for the Hummingbird Charm , The Rock. Not the Dewayne Johnson “Rock,” but me. I’m the rock. I love this collective of amazing writers and women and most of blog posts will appear there first though I’ll share them with you!

I’m wondering how many of you are the rock in the center of your universe? If you are, I’d love to hear about it. Us rocks needs to band together!

http://www.hummingbirdcharm.com/family/being-the-rock

30 Day Writing Challenge-Someone Who Fascinates Me…

Today’s challenge is to write about someone who facscinates me and why… which I’ve been wracking my brain about for days.

I wasn’t sure if I should choose a public figure or someone closer to me, and for days I’ve tried to figure it out. Ultimately, I’ve decided to write about my children because they fascinate me so much more than anyone I can ever imagine. For starters, I can’t believe that I actually made them. I actually had the capability to make little tiny people! It boggles my mind even now!

When they were small, I could stare at them for hours. There were days I did nothing but watch them sleep or watch their tiny chests while they breathed.  I truly felt like the most amazing person of all time because, did I mention this before, but I made them! Never mind that women have been having babies for centuries .😆 I can still remember how soft their skin was and how their tiny bodies fit right in my arms, reminding me that I was put on this earth just so that I could be their mom. I still remember their tiny cries, and how my youngest son’s cry was husky, just like his voice is now. 

As they’ve grown, I’ve often found myself thoroughly captivated by them through every stage. Every gurgle, noise, coo, and giggle, I’ve been completely mesmerized by all of it. Whether it was age two , five, or seven, remembering the softness of their hair every time I’ve kissed the top of their head or their tiny hands clutching tightly to my own, I’ve photographed every bit of it in my mind. Listening to their minds develop and grow, and seeing their emerging personalities has been an utter joy. Even their stubbornness, their tantrums, and the moments when they’ve been the most difficult have been interesting. I’ve watched them both work through diversity; the bully in first grade, the broken nose, the racial slur, the lost toy, the loss of a grandparent, the brotherly squabble, and through it all I’ve been able to catch a glimpse of the men they will one day be. Watching my youngest hold the door open for an elderly couple at a restaurant without being prompted and listening to my oldest remind his brother to say his good-night prayers, are moments that give me much hope for a bright and beautiful future for both of them. 

They’ve become two very strong-willed individuals who are discovering the world and themselves, and it’s a tremendous thing to watch and be a part of. They are feisty, grateful, and amaze me every day with a new revelation or observation. I never anticipated such joy from watching two people grow.

When I look at them, I often feel like a scientist who has discovered a miracle and I want to shout it to the world. I’m fortunate to have a husband who gets it and understands why I sometimes cry when a moment with one of them catches my heart in just the right way. He understands how perfectly beautiful and unbelievable they are, because he sees it too.

I never imagined being fascinated by two people who haven’t yet reached the potential of who they will be. I can only imagine how fascinated by them I’ll be when they’re adults and I get to see what they will become. If I never know anything else in this world, I know that I was put here in this place, at this time, just so that I could be with them.

 Nothing will ever be more amazing to me that that. 

Butterfly Kisses

My oldest son turned ten today. It’s the day I’ve been dreading because it’s the day he hits double digits, signifying that he’s no longer a boy, but not quite a young man.

He’s so far from being a baby and so much closer to being  an adulthood. Everyone told me to enjoy my boys while they were little because it would all go so quickly and indeed, it has. In the blink of an eye I have a ten year old! TEN! I’ve been his mom for an entire decade, which is completely unbelievable, and the sad thing is, my youngest isn’t too far behind him. They are each one year older this year which means they are another year closer to the day I have to let them go. Even though I know they will always be my babies, l dread the day they will walk away as adults. They are already changing so quickly right before my very eyes, both nearly as tall as I am and their feet almost as big as mine. My oldest has always had the cutest, sweetest, most adorable high-pitched voice. The day puberty sneaks in and steals it replacing it with an awkward, lower pitched one, I’ll probably cry my eyes out.

My children bring out the most sensitive part of me to the point that, I’ll admit it, I cry every night on the eve of their birthday. I realize that declaring this out loud may make you see me as a bit crazy, or strange, or neurotic, but I can’t help myself. Everything that has happened through out the course of my life makes me appreciate every moment I get to have with them. I know how short life is and I’m reminded of it every time I look in the mirror and am reminded that I am no longer twenty-something anymore.

Life flies by without warning at lightning speed. These moments of whimsy and unfettered happiness, every giggle and kiss they offer up reminding me that this won’t last forever. It literally breaks my heart because if I could freeze these moments, I would truly live in them forever, and I would viciously protect them from what lies ahead as they barrel head-on toward adulthood. 

I love that I get to take care of and watch over them. I love that the most difficult decisions they have to face are what to wear and which Legos to play with. I adore their innocence and irreverent sense of humor. And I am thankful that life hasn’t mucked them up, or disillusioned them, and that they still believe that I am cool, smart and beautiful. I am happy that they find joy in the simplest things and that the world hasn’t taught them yet, how to be afraid, or ashamed, or that they should change who they are or what they believe. They are still true to themselves in a way that most of us can’t believe we were ever able to be.

At their ages,  my boys aren’t jaded, hurt, angry, or bitter, their only emotions coming directly from their beautiful little hearts which are guided by truth and perfection. As I watch them grow, I know these days will continue to pass quickly, and as I hold onto them as tightly as I can, it feels futile, like sand sifting through my fingers.

It’s not that I don’t want them to grow up. I knew that having children would result in raising them into adulthood then letting them go on their own. I knew that they would get older and hopefully become functioning, responsible members of society. 

I know that raising them to be capable, strong, compassionate young men is a privilege and an honor. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impish little smiles and their sweet unaffected spirits. It doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impulsive hugs and bashful kisses and how they still want to be little boys as they strain unexpectedly toward young adulthood. 

Having a healthy perspective about it all often evades me but I do realize that my oldest is only ten, and there are still several years of childhood yet to come. While I mourn for a childhood that still remains, I realize that my fear for them is still unfounded and that I need to indulge in the joy of cuddling with them today. So I try to live in the moment, never wanting it to end and realizing how lucky I am to get to have these moments at all. And I remind myself to cherish every hug, giggle, and butterfly kiss that they bestow upon me. I can’t promise that I won’t cry on their birthday eves. I’ll probably always cry because I’m a sap like that, and that will probably never change. 

But I do know to be hopeful and happy for the promise of the wonderful young men I know they will someday be. Always hearing their sweet voices in my ears as I feel their butterfly kisses on my cheek.  

 

Being An Author

I never realized it before but I was an author even long before I had books in print. Instead of writing the stores down, I would just write them in my head, one right after the other. Unable to quiet the noise in my brain, there were often times when I felt like I was losing my mind. But I’ve found that since I’ve been writing, life actually seems clearer without the residual noise that comes from having all of those extra thoughts rolling around.

It’s funny how being an author has changed me. I’m not yet prolific (three books published, one in the editing process, and one about 1/3rd of the way written), or on the NY Times Bestsellers list (A girl can dream…), or even very well-known (Jennifer Sivec… “Never heard of her!”). BUT, I am more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been.

After being alive for (ahem!) several decades, I finally feel as though all of my important pieces have been discovered.

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve published my first book, Leaving Eva. I thought that publishing a book would be like having a birthday. I had the anticipation that I would feel different after reaching this momentous milestone in my life. But after I published Leaving Eva, I didn’t feel like an author right away, at all. Instead, I was almost embarrassed anytime anyone brought it up and I was constantly worried that if they hated my book they would look at me differently (writer neurosis). I wasn’t even sure what being an author would feel like, I was just convinced (like birthdays) it would feel different. I kept waiting for it to hit me and wasn’t sure if I would feel it after my first book  or after my tenth, though I wasn’t even sure I could get to writing two.

Finally, after three books published and another one “on the way” (yes, it’s like giving birth), I FINALLY find myself settling into this new role, realizing it isn’t just a passing whim or just an experiment in life. I realize that writing is here to stay and that I can fit it into my busy life and make it a permanent part of me. I struggled with making that commitment for a while wondering if I would be too busy and if it would eventually end up on the list of things that “just didn’t work out”, in my life.

It’s been challenging rotating roles: wife, mom, full-time career (that I love), and writer. There have been many long days and nights, and moments when I’ve wondered whether I would be able to do it all. But I’m finally figuring out that each role fulfills a different part of me and makes the other one so much better. I’m more fulfilled from the inside, which makes more productive and complete on the outside.

I finally understand what being an author is all about. It’s quite simply about writing, and nothing else. While there are many other things involved in selling books, without the writing there is nothing else. I’ve set some goals for myself this year, to center myself more around the writing in order to become a better writer. They involve blogging, newsletters, and simply writing my books. After all, that is why I became an author, so I could write, which is what I love to do.

Now I wake up and life makes much more sense. And despite the many long days and nights, and constantly juggling roles, I feel utterly fortunate to get to live this busy, far from perfect, but very full-life! And for the first time in my life, I finally feel as though I am what I have always been… an author!

http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Sivec/e/B00CA7NN64/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1420987883&sr=8-1

I Run to You

I Run to You

I Run to You is not your typical love story. It’s a story about the power of love and choice, and what happens when one young woman decides to change her life completely.

Synopsis~

Alyssa Bennet had been living life on autopilot, never taking chances or the time to figure out what she wanted in life.   A broken family and lonely childhood had failed to show her the true meaning and depth of what love can be.

 

But all that changes on her 25th birthday.  

 

Alyssa suddenly realizes that it’s up to her to take charge and choose the direction of her life.

 

Landon Daniels, Alyssa’s best guy friend is always there for her whenever she needs him. But when the unthinkable happens and life takes a drastic turn, her relationship and feelings for Landon become too complicated to face. Alyssa is forced to rely heavily on the only two people she’s ever been able to trust, her best friend Anna and her beloved Nona. As they always have, they help Alyssa sort through the mess that has become her life. 

 

At her time of deepest despair, Alyssa finally begins to learn what true love really means. But her old feelings of inadequacy quickly creep back into her life making her doubt she can ever have happiness.

 

Will Alyssa be strong enough to face her fears and run toward the only man she’s ever loved, or will she destroy her chance completely? 

Buy Links:
Amazon~http://www.amazon.com/I-Run-You-Jennifer-Sivec-ebook/dp/B00KPK5EE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1404914080&sr=8-2&keywords=jennifer+sivec

Barnes & Noble~http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-run-to-you-jennifer-sivec/1119886694?ean=2940149786183

Also available on IBooks.