This year was a rough one for me–I hit a stumble. I tripped and fell down a bit. I won’t go into a whole list of sob stories, but as a highlight (lowlight?), the two biggest things have been living with a lot of pain because of spinal deterioration from Ankylosing Spondylitis (which really eats away at your morale). Also, I watched my best hairy baby, Adie, get sick and pass away. I was heartbroken.
Christmas was spent surrounded by family and lots of love, but I also felt Adie’s absence. I spread her ashes near the lake where we used to love canoeing together at my parents’ house.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, my heart hurt. And as silly as it sounds, I asked the Adie in my mind to help us find a new puppy to love. Before she died, I didn’t know if I’d want another. After she died, there were so many sad spots in the house where she used to be, I needed to fill them. And I knew she could steer us in the right direction.
And it worked! We hadn’t really intended to buy a puppy just yet, but we started casually looking for fun with family, and of all the little pups we looked at, a family breeder had one nearby in Oklahoma that was so pretty and supposed to be a cuddler, so we made a little stop there on our way back home to Texas. Turns out, she was JUST what my heart needed….sweet, and so VERY cuddly and kissy.
We named her Winnie, after a sweet Boston terrier named Winston in a Pixar short called “Feast.” She’s pretty scared of my husband, though, and still needs to get the hang of potty-training, but she’s wonderful. She plays with our boxer, Scout, and cuddles with Myla. She gives me so many kisses and cuddles that my skin is super dry (I’m not complaining though! I love puppy-kisses).
Adie will never go away in my heart. It’s so sweet to see similarities and differences. Winnie lays next to me while I draw, snorts like a piglet, and has terrible gas, like Adie used to. And she likes to be by my side, following me around the house all day. But she loves sweaters and doesn’t like blankets wrapped around her. I got myself a super cute Boston bag for Christmas with a face that looks just like Adie’s. (Later, I even added a little heart on her snooter). I love it. It makes me smile.
And it made me realize how I’ve been trying to comfort myself lately with cozy things. Fuzzy blankets. Warm cardigans. Soft pajamas. I even drew this portrait that Myla added to, filling it with cozy things, snuggling up like a hibernating squirrel.
I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions–I think you can make resolutions ANY day. But I’ve decided to be a little nicer, a little more patient, a little gentler with myself, and work my way outwards. As I shared on Instagram, I sometimes get so caught up in checking on others’ well-being, I forget to check in with myself. I want to surround myself with good actions, with gratitude, with good thoughts, with good words.
Be kind to yourself, and have fun. Celebrate little things. Even if (ESPECIALLYif) it’s just something silly like a pair of Chewbacca jammies to match your daughter’s…
Recently, a reader shared a poem by Hallie Bateman with me that pretty much summed it up:
And I love it. The bit about becoming love instead of pain? The part about cherishing yourself as your mother did when she held you as a baby? So much YES. A little kindness–especially to yourself–goes a long way.
So here’s to not only a happy new year, but a happy new day, a happy new moment–right now.