Monday, July 20, 2020

Summer 2020: The Children, a Crippled Canine, & COVID Chaos


Well hello. Long time no blog. Good Monday morning.

Inexplicably we are nearing the end of July. I am mentally and emotionally still in the middle of March. 

You should have read it by now since you've had quite some time to read it, but if you missed it my last blog can be found - - - > here

Goodness, where to begin? Since last I blogged in early May the children and I have spent a great deal of time in and around our home. The golf course is convenient when you have time on your hands and two restless children who need to roam. 

They have honed their fishing skills with the help of Nana and Papa:

Despite the chaotic, surreal end to the school year and his lackluster homeschool teacher, Henry did pass Kindergarten. He will be a first grader come August, and Reagan will be in the fourth grade. The plan is for the kids to begin school on schedule in August (it is my plan and also, importantly, it is the plan in place at their school). 

Though we were unable to hold a traditional Kindergarten graduation ceremony in May, we did have cap and gown pictures taken. I took these of the kids while Henry awaited his turn with the professional photographer. I don't yet have the professional shots to share, but here are some very unprofessional shots of Reagan and Henry in his cap and gown, complete with his full head of long and thick quarantine hair I had to stuff into that cap. An official ceremony is scheduled for August. 

Reagan and Henry love me, and they love each other. That said, they've both been out of school since the middle March, and with all kids' classes and activities still suspended at church they have clamored to spend as much time as possible with their cousins this summer. 

We have enjoyed a few sleepovers at Nana and Papa's house, and rumor has it we're aiming for one more before school begins. 

In June, the 6th to be exact, Henry turned seven. 

We ate pizza and cupcakes at my parents' house followed by an afternoon of gifts and fun playing in the sprinklers. In these photos below you can see Henry is wearing the sash Reagan made him for the occasion: 

In addition to turning seven Henry attended his first Football Camp this summer, and he thoroughly enjoyed that. He has so much energy, and I am just getting old and often neither Reagan nor I are a good substitute for running around with a bunch of boys.

Here are some random shots of the kids:

So, that's a photographic summary of what the kids have been up to lately. What about me, you ask? The kids keep me fairly busy, but my time this summer has been split pretty evenly between the kids, pondering existential dread, writing semi-organized thoughts of a political and cultural nature (which you can find - - -> here), and taking care of Sophie, our aging Maltipoo. 

Henry's birthday is not the only summer birthday in our house. On June 20 Sophie turned thirteen, but early in the summer I was not certain she was going to see her thirteenth birthday. Sophie is no spring chicken, and early one morning in June I awoke to the sound of her whining. Upon investigation I realized she couldn't walk. She was on the floor near my bed and could not even stand up. 

Fast forward a few hours: I learned at the vet that Sophie had some issues with her back. We were sent home with steroids which helped her far more than I anticipated they would. I didn't think she'd walk again. I spent one night wailing in bed as Trey walked in and out of the room (I think he was changing lightbulbs in the fixture maybe? I wasn't paying attention to him) while I went on and on about how awful everything is because, you know, THE VIRUS, and Sophie couldn't walk, and I missed my trip to Scotland, and on and on and on. You get the picture. I had a little meltdown. 

Sophie is walking again. She can't gallop like a deer or keep up with Maggie, our younger pup, but she's getting around the house better than I ever thought she would when I found her on the floor that morning. 

Here are the dogs snuggling (Sophie is the formerly-black-now-graying one): 

I don't know how much longer Sophie will be with us. She still loves to eat and is still getting around fairly well all things considered. She naps a whole lot and doesn't have nearly the energy she once did, but you know, same here, Sophie, same here. 

I am inclined to sign off at this point now that you are up to speed on all things child and canine related. I probably should. I haven't blogged much this summer for a few reasons. First, this website I've used for nearly a decade to bring you high quality blogs has a newfangled format, at least on my end of things, and my goodness I am not thrilled about that. It's taken me some time to learn how to navigate everything.

Additionally, as I mentioned I have been writing elsewhere, and that has likely saved you from a handful of ranty blogs in which I yelled into the void about a variety of things and people who were (and are) getting on my nerves. 

The good thing about formal writing (as opposed to a personal blog) is that incoherent screaming is discouraged. The formality forces me to somewhat temper my emotions with logic and reason, and isn't that always the goal? I suppose of everything I've written for The Resurgent thus far there are two pieces closest to my heart, and because you know I love a good theme I will tell you that what they have in common is that they are intended to call attention to and rebuke the raging desire of some to control others, to control what they say, what they share online, and, yes, whether or not they wear a mask on their face. 

These last few months have hammered home a lesson, a hard truth, that diabetes teaches me daily, over and over again: I am in control of very little, and it's an effort in futility to pretend otherwise. It only leaves me frustrated. I had plans to go to Scotland. I had plans to watch college football this fall. Do you want me to tell you how bothered I am by the way these last few months have unfolded? I would be writing for days. Instead I will just keep plugging away, hoping Scotland works out next year, praying for some semblance of college football this fall, and spending time with my happy kids and my two dogs. 
So many people, myself included, need to work on controlling what they can: their mouth, their thoughts, their actions, their diet, their daily habits, and worry less about exerting control over others.  

Anyway, to this end I wrote Drowning in Chaos in June and The Illusion of Control earlier this month. You can click the titles to link to the articles. 

Normally as we near the end of July and it's one hundred degrees outside I would say something about how I can bear the July heat, oppressive as it is, because I know soon Kirk and his friends will fill my television screen on Saturday mornings and all will be right with the world. I hate this all so much. Yes, I think it's ridiculous to even consider cancelling college football, but no one of any importance has asked me. 

My spirits are a bit low. Uncertainty is annoying, to put it mildly. It's the uncertainty and the sense that we have so little control over things that are making people restless and crazy. Add to that the one-hundred degree heat in Louisiana and take away our college football, and it's a wonder we're keeping it together at all. 

I do have some interesting, heartwarming, and semi blog-related news I will share with you: You may recall I began blogging in March of 2011. Reagan was a few months old. I felt time slipping away, and I knew there were little tidbits, slices of life, random thoughts I ought to get down on paper. I was tired all the time the first year of her life, and I wanted something to later jog my memory as well as inform her about her early days. I knew neither a baby book nor a scrapbook were items I could successfully assemble, and I wanted something more word-centric. I was perpetually nagged by the feeling that I must do something. 

I sat down one night to fiddle with the idea of a blog, and the feel of the keyboard under my fingers was delicious. I began writing about Reagan, about our newly emerging life as a family of three, about, well, everything. After a year of blogging I printed the blogs in a lovely bound book, complete with color photos, and it is her favorite thing in the world right now. She reads it all the time, pointing out funny things and pictures to me, asking me if I remember when

Reagan will turn ten later this year. This means, of course, that I will soon turn forty. Maybe I am an incredibly grounded person, or maybe I am crazy, but I will tell you I am far, far more upset about the prospect of losing the college football season than I am the idea of turning forty. My birthday falls in October, which I've always loved because I love all the -ber months; September through December are the it months, but I have never, ever experienced them without a full-throated, riveting college football season. All I want for my fortieth birthday is a couple of Saturdays puttering around the house in my sweatpants drinking coffee from a fall-themed mug while watching five college football games. 

Sigh. If these past few months have taught us anything it is that even things we never thought we'd see fall away, like the option to get up on Sunday morning and go to church and the certainty of a college football season, can be taken from us. These are sobering thoughts, and they return me to my earlier point: Worry about what you can control rather than spending exorbitant amounts of time fretting over who and what you cannot control (which is a whole lot). 

Read the books you've been meaning to read, lose the weight you've been meaning to lose, start a blog! if it's been on your to-do list. If you're overcome by the desire to exert some control over a seemingly out-of-control situation as many of us are in this moment I highly recommend starting with you. For example, I have embarked on a quest to find the perfect throw pillows for our couch. Will this change the world? Absolutely not, but a tidy and attractive living room can alter my mood considering how much time I spend inside our house. I may not have college football, but on the day I turn forty I plan to wake up to a living room worthy of a magazine. 

I shall return to you soon, friends, the Lord willing, with a throw-pillow update. 

I recently ran across the above quote from Thomas Kempis. He lived many, many years ago and is the author of a devotional book titled The Imitation of Christ. He was born in 1380 and lived a life devoid of the luxuries we enjoy today; his words, "Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be," are a daily challenge to me. Control begins with self-control . . . with self-control and a couch laden with new throw pillows. 


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