Monday, December 14, 2015

"Where the Red Fern Grows"

This morning as I walked over the snow covered trails of the fields behind our subdivision, I remembered one of my favorite children's books, "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls.  I don't remember the teacher or the grade, but I remember listening to her read this wonderful story about a boy and his two Redbone Coonhounds.  Years later, I read the book to my boys.  We also watched the movie, but the book holds the nostalgia. 

As the stories of young Billie took me through the Ozark Region of Oklahoma, I dreamed of having my own dogs to roam the mountains.  Well, I didn't have the gumption to ask for a Coonhound let alone go to all the trouble of saving money or finding any hound pups.  Instead, I roamed the mountains with my cousins on horseback with the old collie Max and Jim (I can't remember his breed).  In the years since, I roamed the trails by myself or on a mountain bike in the Helena Forest.  In the Kootenai Forest, I took my parents black lab.

In reality, I don't think my dad would have let me have a hound.  My cousin had hounds that drove dad crazy.  In the summer we spent weeks on end at my uncle's cabin with Lincoln baying all night long.  Yes, he annoyed me as well, but I loved the sound.  To this day when I hear a hound bay, I grin.  I always wanted to go on a hunt with my cousin and Lincoln, but in my younger years I wouldn't have been able to keep up.  When I became older, I was too busy being a teenage girl (eye roll) or a bill paying adult (frown).

So, why didn't I ever get a hound in all these years?  Oh, there are quite a few reasons.  I believe to have a hound you need to live a distance from your neighbors to not drive them crazy.  Also, my career took me down the path of a busy soldier and mother who lives very close to town to be able to run kids back and forth.  I have learned to enjoy the convenience of town life and not driving on snowy roads the longer distances.  Besides, my husband trumps dogs and he isn't a fan of the four-legged creatures.

However, this past spring, he relented with the no dog slogan to let my daughter get a potential therapy dog for her panic attacks and social anxiety.  I did a lot of research and I didn't pick a good breed of dog for therapy, but I picked a very friendly, active breed.  I wanted Madelle to get plenty of exercise walking with him and playing.  Alas, she didn't take to that part of the dog, but he does help her when she needs snuggle time.

Instead, the dog helps me a ton.  He has ended up being my companion dog.  I walk him daily and we spend tons of time together.  But on the walk today, I couldn't help but wonder if one of the reasons I picked a Beagle is that they are part of the hound class.  As we walked the trails, I watched him work.  His nose to the ground, he followed the tracks of dogs that passed through the snow before us.  He didn't veer from the trail for the first mile.  I delighted in watching him work and seeing the trail myself.  How I would love to let him just go!  Unfortunately, I fear the cars and I really don't want to piss off the neighbors.  I also don't want to establish bad habits with him thinking he can just leave.

I laugh when people meet our little Leo or hear that we have a Beagle.  Everyone thinks he is adorable, but not everyone likes the Beagle.  In fact, a lot of people don't.  They have tons of energy and are ruled by their noses.  Instead of getting irritated by his little quirks, I embrace them.  We walk and play every day to get rid of his energy.  I never reprimand him when he tears apart his toys because he leaves our stuff alone, well, most of our stuff.  As for his nose, I let him sniff away when we are out for our walks by ourselves.  I laugh at him and enjoy the walk.  I will say that his is quiet for the reputation of a Beagle.  He rarely bays or yips.  When he does, I am humored and encourage him to quiet down.

Now, Leo sleeps all curled up on the chair sitting next to my writing desk.  I honestly doubt I will ever get another dog.  The husband still doesn't like them though he is very patient with Leo.  He is a lot of work.  The hardest part is we like to travel.  I hate boarding him, but that is our only option.  So, Leo will be my only dog.  I plan to enjoy every minute just as Billie enjoyed Old Dan and Little Ann.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Quiet Week

My last two posts have been bleak, so I thought I should give a positive update about Madelle.  The funny thing with a positive update is there really isn't much to say. 

This week Madelle has done really well.  We haven't had any breakdowns.  She worked hard at going to school.  Wednesday she was determined to make it every day.  We were excited when she got on the bus on Wednesday.  The same behavior happened on Thursday.  In the evening, she was excited for her success, but I could tell she had a long day.  When I woke her up on Friday, she came out exhausted.  I let her stay home.  Within minutes, she fell asleep on the chaise lounge.  An hour later, Leo and I went for a walk.  She was still sleeping there when we came home.  Since Leo pounced on her, she returned to her bed and sleep until noon.  Today she has been a little grumpy, but then so have I. 

A quiet week is what we all needed.  We decorated the tree last night and watched "The Christmas Story."  In the days to come, the storms will inevitably come our way.  Now, we are enjoying the smooth sailing weather of the emotions that flow through our home.  Blessings to you.  And I would like to say a special thank you to all of you who are praying for us and for the beautiful comments and to reaching out to me in my dark moments.  I love you all.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Still A Prisoner

Since the last time I wrote, we have fared pretty well.  We struggled a bit going into Thanksgiving, but we managed the holiday.  This week I didn't say a word when Madelle asked to stay home on Wednesday, though hours before she was hopeful to attend school the entire week.  Today, we are losing the battle.

She came home in a panic.  Her headphones were still at school.  I quickly grabbed my keys and we headed into town to see if we could get them.  All the way to the school, she yelled that she didn't want to be angry about the headphones.  She yelled about me not talking.  She didn't like the topics I brought up.  It was constant negativity for three miles.  I told her much more and we were going home.  She apologized and said she wanted to go home.  She cried that she wanted her puppy.  I worked at calming her down and reminding her we just had a little longer to go.  The whole time I am ready to come across the car and throttle her.  I want to yell.  I don't deserve her attitude.  I was just trying to help.

We get to the school and ask at the office if we can check a room or two.  The secretary was so nice and she took us around, but we found no headphones.  As we left the school, the whining and insistence began.  "I can't go a weekend without my headphones."  "We have to go shopping now."  I start for home telling her maybe later tonight if her dad wanted to go or tomorrow when I planned on going shopping.  She realized a mile from home the headphones were in her saxophone case at home.  I laughed.  Really, all of this and they were with her the entire time?

At home we started getting ready to leave for our weekend away.  She asked if she was a bad kid.  I told her I loved her, but she had to work on how she treated me.  I asked her how she would feel if she were treated in such a way.  "I don't know."  She yelled and went to her room.  That was an hour and a half ago.  She still hasn't come out though both her dad and I have tried to get her to come out.  We are prisoners again.  I tried to tell the husband he can go without us.  He said no, "we will go at three in the morning if need be."  Lovely.  Five and a half more years of this.  How do you not feel like a horrible mother?