I started this blog in June, 2010. Since then, my life has changed utterly. I have gone from stay-at-home mom with too much time on my hands to a single mother of three with too much responsibility on my shoulders.
I’ve gone back to school, I’ve held down a temporary part-time job, and I’ve gained a lot of weight. My internship, which held such hope and promise when I started on May 1, crashed and burned, putting my academic future and career in jeopardy. My kids have gone from loving obedience to teen-age rebellion and angst. I have no idea what my life will be like month to month. I live in a constant state of financial anxiety and stress.
My dog has gone from a source of blog fodder and joy to another responsibility and expense. His last vet bill– just a regular check-up, but he was due for every shot under the sun– was close to $300.00. He’s gained weight too. Every time I have to be out of town overnight I’m stuck with a logistical nightmare of who will stay with the kids, and who will take care of the dog.
I told the vet that Our Best Friend was becoming too much for me. I suffer chronic guilt at his lack of exercise and resulting weight gain. Of course he still suffers from terrible separation anxiety, and any new owner would have to cope to with a very anxious, reactive dog. She was non-judgemental and sympathetic. She even said if I decided to give him up, she’d find a home for him for me, pre-screened from among her patients.
“But if you asked him,” she added, “he’d probably tell you that he wants to stay with his family.” I know, I know. That dog wants nothing more than to be by my side 24/7. Guilt if he goes, guilt if he stays.
This week I was supposed to go camping with the Youngest and the Ex’s sister. Then I realized I hadn’t set up anything for the two other kids. I’ve overtaxed my friends and family with requests for favours. Glory took the dog last week when I went away for two days. But she takes him to work with her so he doesn’t spend the day barking his head off in her apartment. I don’t feel right asking her again. And there’s nobody else.
The Youngest badly wants me along camping. The camp site allows dogs. We could take Our Best Friend. I just have to sort out the other two kids; camping’s not their thing. The Middle Child is going to stay with her same-age cousin at their house, along with the adult of the family, my niece’s mother. Is The Eldest (15½) old enough to stay home alone with her 16-year-old cousin? Both are pretty responsible kids. I’d let the dog stay with them, but I can’t trust them to get up and let him out in the morning. These are the options. I’m just so tired of figuring everything out on my own.
I could never have guessed, in June 2010, that three years later my life would be such a train wreck. That putting up one blog post a month could be so difficult. That every day I would struggle with decisions that shouldn’t even have to be made– like whether or not pets can be part of my life right now. (Never mind the feral cat and her three kittens currently residing in my basement– that’s a post for another day.)
But always, the kids have to come first. The Youngest wants me to come, at least for the first two days. The Middle Child wants me home Tuesday so she can have her annual summer sleepover with her friends (one of them will be away July 10 to the end of August, so it HAS to be this week). So I’ll go for two days, and experiment with camping with a dog. Then I’ll come back and supervise a sleepover. If the camp site wasn’t so far away (three hours!) I’d go back for Wednesday. Maybe we’ll meet in the middle.
Next Monday I meet with the chair of my department to discuss September. When my brain goes to the future, I panic and hyperventilate. Maybe camping will relax me for two days. And if I take the dog camping, I’ll have something to write about in Blog Post 101.