Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Remembering my friend

For most people, the loss of a pet is no different than feeling the loss of a family member. For most of us, our childhood was the first time we would experience death...with the loss of our family pet.

When I was a little girl, it was my dog Buckwheat. I remember he died on a Wednesday. He was hit by a car and my family was devastated. My mom was sad like I had never seen her sad before. I would find her crying, days, weeks, even months later. When I would ask her why she was crying, she would tell me she was thinking of Buckwheat.

Oh he was so cute. He was a cockapoo. A wirery bundle of scraggly, shaggy brown fur. His eyes were set far back in his face,  and he had the cutest brown nose I have ever seen. I would often lay my head on his belly and feel the soft rhythm of the rise and fall of his breath. We always shared our food with him and he was always most grateful for the ice cream. I can still feel his fur on my fingers if I think long and hard. Buckwheat with all his tender, loving ways and his fierce loyalty to us, was my first experience with death. His love is embedded into my memory forever.

Then it was Wylie's turn. I was nineteen living in Calgary with friends, and I missed the loyalty, comfort and unconditional love that only a faithful pet can bring. I found some kittens for sale, picked one out, and brought him home, to the somewhat dismay of my roommates!

When I moved back home to Winnipeg, I was taking a bus and could not take Wylie with me. I had no money to bring him home with me. I loved him so much already though, and it certainly didn't occur to me to leave him behind. So, being that I worked at a truck stop, I was able to find him a ride home with a trucker, a few weeks before I was scheduled to leave.

I know I am pathetic, I still have my name tag from that Truck Stop (Shifters). I am sappy that way.

Wylie when he came home to Winnipeg!

Wylie was so tiny when I got him. He was way too young to be taken away from his momma. I am quite certain he thought I was his mom, the way he would wrap himself in the warmth of my neck and if I let him, he would suck on my earlobe to fall asleep. Gross I know!

My Wylie was my best friend for nearly nine years before I became pregnant. He was with me during every move I made, every relationship I had. He slept with me every single night either near my neck, above my head, or in the crook of my arm like a baby. He accepted another cat brought into the home, like a brother.

His "brother" Ceasar

 Then came the nearly nine months of trying to train him to stay off the bed, so that when the baby came, he would know that the bed was off limits. He learned his new place gracefully. He accepted the baby, and would sleep under her crib often, just like a faithful dog.

Wylie was with me through a lot. For nearly three years, he was not allowed to sleep on my bed any longer. When my husband and I were splitting up, I remember clearly the first night I would spend at home alone, my new life as a single parent. Wylie, a bit hesitant at first, jumped on my bed and assumed his position. He came up to me and proceeded to give me numerous head butts and rubs, as I cried myself to sleep that night, wondering what my new life would be like. He never left my side again.

Head butting was Wylie's thing to do to show his love for you. As my daughter grew up and I re married, he would pass the head butting love on to them!

And boy did he love me! It may seem crazy to some people, if they have never known the love of a pet in that special way. I am sure Wylie loved me more than I knew and I am sure Wylie thought I was his momma!

Wylie was my comfort and my friend through many hardships, a divorce, the worst times of my life. I always had him. He always knew when I was sad, and he would let me bury my face into his side whenever I needed a good cry. Oh and always, he was there with the head butts.

In his old age, Wylie became quite annoying. My daughter was always sure to correct me if I yelled at him or said something I did not mean.

This is the 3 of them trying to lay in the cat bed. Duke the dog won, and he is 3 times the size of the bed!
I guess it was the heat register they were loving more than the bed itself!

One September, not so long ago, I had a miscarriage. Again, Wylie let me cry into his fur and like always, took my pain away into himself, like some kind of magic. I noticed as I cried into him, his nearly nothing self, of bones and horrible fur. That made me sad.

The next month, we got a call from my husbands family and his mom was in poor health. The doctors found cancer and she was in the hospital. Within 10 hours, we were packed for a long drive to B.C to be at her side. Thankfully I had a friend who was able to look after the animals for me.

When we came back a week later, we were tired from the long drive, my husband was sick and we were all emotionally drained. My mother in law made it through the surgery, and we were hopeful.

Normally, I would come home and pick up Wylie for comfort. But not this day. I took one look at Wylie, sitting on the chair, he jumped off, stumbled and fell. I knew something was wrong right away. They say things happen in three's. I thought there was no way I could take it, the last few months had just been too much already.

This was Wylie's last time outside in the garden, where he loved to be.

It was a Sunday when we arrived home. I can tell you that Sunday is a night I will never forget. I kept Wylie with me that whole day. All I did was sit with him on my lap. If I needed to get up, I took him with me or I laid him on the bed. He was in so much distress. I just cried all day because I knew his time was up. At night, I could not sleep. He was above my head, but he would not let me stop touching him. If I did take my hand away, he would move his body as best he could to be close to me. It was so sad, he was dying and there was nothing I could do. We had already decided that in the morning my husband would call the vet and make an appointment to have him euthanized.

My daughter woke up in the middle of the night, worried about him and wanting to come into bed with us. I let her, and when she fell asleep, I got up, took Wylie with me, wrapped him in a towel, and I went into her bed.

I did not sleep. I let Wylie stay in the crook of my arm and I petted him. I could not stop looking at him, horrified that his eyes would not close, they could not close. He was dying in my arms, I could feel his body shutting down, and I could do nothing. His body was shutting down. That is all I could think, as I felt his insides moving, right beneath my hands. I will not go into more detail, because it is something I don't like to remember, and is too graphic to share.

Morning came, and the minute the vet opened, my husband made the call. I was leaving the minute he got off the phone, they were taking me right away. My husband stayed behind to get my daughter off to school. We went to the van, my husband carrying Wylie and placing him beside me in the passenger seat. My husband said his good bye to Wylie, he cried and he kissed me goodbye. I loved him so much more in that moment, for his tenderness. I knew then that he too, had grown to love Wylie in a way that was unexplainable.

I don't remember driving to the vet. I remember walking in and I burst into tears. Bless those ladies for just taking me into a room to cry on my own and wait for the vet. Wait for finality in its ugliness. They told me to say my good bye, but really there was nothing left to say, I had whispered it in Wylie's ear over and over again the night before. I had whispered in his ear, my love and appreciation for him,  for the previous 18 years. For eighteen years, he had been my faithful, non judgemental, loyal loving and caring friend. How do you say good bye?

When it was done, I cried louder, I sat down, I looked at him. And I turned and left out that door. I hated leaving him there. I knew I would be back in a few days to pick up his remains, and I just wanted to go home and cry. And that is what I did. I went to bed, sleep deprived and I cried myself to sleep. I cried for days. If I drove past the vet, I cried, when I went to bed at night, I cried. I cried so much I think I freaked my daughter out. She saw me weak, likely for the first time in her life.

It has been a year and a half since my friend left us. Within six months, I lost my other cat, his "brother" of sixteen years. I swore we would never get another cat again. Never. One day I went to the Humane Society by myself and I came home a few hours later with 2 cats. We now are a family of three cats and a dog! Us pet lovers just cannot help it I suppose.

 I still cry sometimes, when I think of Wylie, and his "brother" Ceasar. But we have their urns with pictures next to them, we (my daughter and I) write them notes and Christmas cards, and we remember them with sweet love. We know that they would be happy that we have more cat love in our house. And I try not to think of the final days, but just the love. Oh and it was good cat love!

Go hug your cat, your dog, your rabbit, and be thankful that you have that faithful friend. I will always be thankful for the love of my Wylie, just as I am for the love of my new, crazy, loving, playful friends and their dog brother Duke!

As always, thanks for taking the time to read.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sharing for a blog challenge

For this weeks blog challenge, I had three options to choose from. Being that I had a really full week and weekend, I have to admit, I chose the easiest of the three! Bad me, I know.

What I want to do for my blog challenge, is share a blog that I follow and tell my readers why I follow it, do a "review" on it, and tell you why I think you should read this particular blog. For me this is an easy choice.

I have a friend who first brought my attention to blogging. She would tell me about blogs that she followed, people she would read about on a daily and weekly basis, bloggers that she felt she knew, just by reading about their lives. I have to tell you, I thought it was great of her to be that involved with these bloggers. Knowing what kind of person she is, I was not surprised in the least that she was feeling compassion for some of the trials and tribulations she read about in the blogs. I just didn't think I could get the same satisfaction from reading a blog.

Then one day, I thought I would try it. I read a few, but nothing really peaked my interest. I have all sorts of interests and so I randomly starting reading craft, gardening, writing, parenting blogs and so on. I became a subscriber to a parenting blog, that was all about writing your own "momior". To this day I still subscribe to it, and I learn all the time, from what other moms write. It validates for me that I myself can write those types of stories, and it reminds me every time I read one of the posts, that I have compassion for moms and what stories they have to tell. Basically meaning that often it moves me to tears!

So after all of that, the blog that I want to review and recommend is Enjoying the Small Things at I am not sure how I even came across her blog to be honest, I just know I subscribed to it. I didn't have the option of having it delivered to my e mail, so I found myself logging on to her blog every day, sometimes multiple times per day.

I love Kelle's blog for many reasons. What I first loved about her blog, that kept me going further and further, were her photographs. I can't take great pictures, but I love photography and I love to look at pictures that are well taken. Kelle is a mother, a photographer, a wife, looks to be a fun friend and I imagine so much more. As I continued to read her blog, I learned that one of her children was born with Down Syndrome. This also kept me coming back for more.

I think Kelle is a good writer and I love her play on words and her seamless flow of a writing style. This, as well as all of her photos makes her blog an interesting read. She lives in Florida, so I can also live vicariously through her and dream of being at the beach and picking carrots from the garden in April. Really? Yes, well they can. They can have picnics, walk on the beach, go swimming in April, while here in Manitoba, we just want the snow to melt!

For the past few years, I have had trouble sleeping and Kelle's blog has often kept me company late at night when I was unable to sleep. One night I decided to read way back in her blog to learn about her daughters birth story, the daughter that was born with Down Syndrome. I did not expect to cry the way I did! I mean, I don't even know these people right? That night is when I learned the power of the Internet, the power of blogging, the power of sharing our stories and the power of just plain connecting with each other.

That is when I decided to start my own blog. I have two blogs. In one I share my crafting, my baking, and cooking. If you wish, you may check it out at and the other is this one. I know that Enjoying the Small Things is not for everyone, just like I know Moments in Time with Tannis is not for everyone. What I do know, is that we all write about things that will touch someone, help even one person to feel less lonely, more loved, more connected, learn something new, and maybe even make someone smile! I know, that I have already connected with other parents I don't know. I have connected with parents that have children with learning disabilities, parents who home school or want to home school their children. I know that I will inspire someone out there to take a chance on their child and learn to teach them on their own when the schools are failing them. Reading Kelle's blog helped me to see that people do read blogs, they can be moved to tears, they can learn something from reading the things we bloggers write.

So there you have it! I suggest you go check out her blog today, and then come back to my blog and tell me if I was right or wrong to recommend her!

As always, thanks so much for reading.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Coming Home

Coming home.These are two words that can mean so much. I am sure we have said those words, or at least felt them many times in our lives. I know I have. Coming many different meanings in just two words.

Perhaps you have said them after being away on a long trip, a vacation, travels of adventure, but it is always nice to be back at home. Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.

Maybe at one time you moved away from all that was familiar to you, to a new city. When your time there was done, there was always a home to come back to with friends and family.

When you are in the arms of that one special love, you feel as though you are home, where you were meant to be. Where you belong.

If I close my eyes, I can picture a soldier, relieved to be away from the dirt, the dust, the horrible noise. This soldier who whispers, a barely audible " I'm coming home" escaping from his lips.

My husband has been away on a business trip for a week. My daughter was so excited that he was leaving for a while, because to her it meant one on one, uninterrupted mommy time!  A girls night every night, party time!

 I let her sleep in my bed when it is just the two of us, so we had many nights of snuggles, cuddles and long talks. We got to eat whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, watched whatever we liked on t.v. Actually, I got control of the t.v and that was nice!

Spaghetti is our favorite, and Dave's least favorite meal!
  We went out for coffee, took our computers and looked at each other over our laptop and net book while snacking on a cookie.

At Starbucks having a girls night!

We took the dog for a walk everyday, slept in every morning, played for what seemed like endless moments with the cats. We were as loud as we wanted to be!

We also laughed a lot less, had a lot less "crazy time", felt a void that could only be filled by Dave. When I asked her what she liked the least about Dave being gone, she said that he made her laugh allot and she missed that. She also said she missed scratching his head. You have to be here in this house on a daily basis to actually know what that means. She has this thing she does to him when she walks up to him and scratches his head so vigorously, and he makes these faces and for them it is just plain old fun. She has always done that to him. I don't get it and I am glad she doesn't do it to me, but I wouldn't give up the burst of fun it provides them both.

So today, Dave is coming home, and although I have been here this whole time, I still feel the whole "coming home" feeling. I hope Dave does too. See you soon Davie Boy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What exactly is a typical day?

"So Tannis, what does a typical day look like for you these day?" This is the question I get asked so often, now that I am not working. Not working a "real" job anyway. You know, I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, I just never thought it would come about this way.

Haley as a wee baby!

Haley turns one
  When my daughter was two, I was going through a divorce and life took the usual twists and turns. For me and Haley though, it wasn't all so usual. She was diagnosed very early with a chromosome anomaly, an 8q24 chromosomal duplication to be exact. Whatever that means. Well I could tell you what that means, but it is complicated.

At the time I only worked part time, and that would be all that I could manage, since so many of our days early on were spent going from one specialist to the other, physio, occupational therapy, the genetics doctor, the urologist, the list goes on. Haley also had bladder reflux, which required on going attention and later surgery to correct. At age two she had a second surgery to correct an interior ectopic anus. I can tell you this surgery scared me more than correcting the bladder reflux, because I know there was a small chance that this could be a cause for Haley not being able to have babies. We won't know of course until she is ready to try.

Currently, our biggest challenge is the day to day that comes with Haley's learning disability. These days I think I manage quite well. When I worked full time, I hit the nearly 10 year mark where I just could not do it anymore. I hit a wall. I hit that wall so hard, I felt it full force with my whole body. Inside and out. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic disorder. It was time to quit and learn where to put my focus. I still struggle with it daily, but these days, Haley's learning gets my full on attention.

It has been nearly two years since I gave up my full time job, my career for the previous 10 years. It was one of the toughest decisions I ever made. It took me a year to make that decision and when it was all said and done, I cried. I cried allot. It also took me about 6 weeks to realize that I was not going back. Well OK I did go back part time but that was short lived. I quit once my mom needed to go for surgery. I quit for good. I needed to go back, to learn that I was done. Done, not with the company, but with any job outside of my home. It just was too soon.

"So what does a typical day look like?" Why is that such a difficult question to answer? I suppose I don't want to be judged, I don't want to be stereotyped as a typical stay at home mom, and I certainly don't want to be made to feel like I am not accomplishing anything.

Why is it that we can't seem to say "oh I am not doing too much these days" and be OK with it? Society has developed an all or nothing attitude in us. If you are reading this and you happen to be one of the people who have asked me this question, please don't feel bad. You having asked it, gave me something to think about and something to write about. It truly is not even the question that is difficult, it is what is in my mind that is the challenge.

The first time I answered that question, I felt like such an idiot, my answer surely making me look and sound like a fool. I wish I could say that my days have some kind of consistency to them, some kind of concrete routine to them, and have some kind of substance to them that is easy to describe. When I stopped working, I was hoping to learn the art of taking time for myself and learning to take care of myself. I suppose essentially I have allot of time to myself, the taking care part is a learning process. It could be something as simple as the snacks I make for myself, and how they differ from the thought and care I put into the snacks I make for Haley. Should be simple, but it's not.

I do know that being off work has afforded me the time and brain space to accomplish some things that I never seemed to be able to do when I was working. I have been able to find programs for Haley to be a part of, I have organized Haley's home schooling work in a way that allows her to stay on track and not be overwhelmed. I have utilized resources that are available for us to take full advantage of. The thing with resources, is they are great only if you can find them! And finding them takes so much time. Most of all I am learning. I am learning to be a better mom, I am learning to teach my child, I am learning the in's and out's of advocating for Haley, I am learning to understand how her brain works, and I am learning that no matter what, I will just keep going!

Now, I embrace the time I have. It has allowed me the freedom to embrace life for what it is, to face it head on and to connect with those I care about. To be present.

When Haley and I see real change, feel real understanding, have moments of real "I got it!", I no longer care when the next person will ask me what a typical day looks like for me. The reality is, my days have never been, never will be typical. They will be forever changing, forever evolving, always about learning, growing, being better. I hope eventually I will learn to have more days that are about me, my growth, my personal care. In the end, everything I do will come back to me. It will come back to me in the eyes of my daughter, in her growth, in the love and happiness of my family.

Oh and if you are one of those people who have asked me what a typical day looks like for me these days, I know you only asked it because you are curious, and you care. So thanks for asking it, and thanks for caring.

Always, thanks for taking the time to read......


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring .... it has arrived

The first calendar day of spring has come and gone, but it truly has not felt too much like spring. And then we had today! It was a beautiful, full on sunshine day! The warmth of the sun was so powerful today!

We spent nearly the whole day in our pyjamas, crafting and playing with the cats! After lunch we checked the temperature and it was +8. There was nothing to do but take the dog for a walk. And so we did. I took the dog, Haley took my camera. I looked at her, with her rubber boots, her hoodie, hair bouncing with her walk, and my camera hanging around her neck. She was a vision to me. She looked so grown up, a mini professional photographer in training! Her view of the spring day with the camera was this.....
Haley's boots from her perspective


Me in the back yard.

There were plenty of puddles, lots of families walking and riding their bikes! The sun shone through the tree branches, stretching it's rays to reach deep within to help those buds turn to baby buds.....

We walked for an hour, which I tell you was not very comfortable in my new red rubber boots. But it was dry. I love when you walk in a puddle that is really big, or you stand in it just to see the ripples of water, your feet feel like they are getting wet. Then you wait a moment and you realize, no, it's just that the water is that cold!

I love to watch the ripples in the water after Haley has walked through a puddle!

Spring always makes me think of high school spring fever, my first love, late nights in the back yard, driving with all the windows down! Most of all, I love spring for the possibilities of new growth......

Shedding the unwanted and enjoying the blossoms of the new! As nature takes it's course on the outside, we learn, every spring, we learn to blossom again!

Happy Spring everyone, take some time to really enjoy!