From the August 2020 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS.
This time last year I was returning from a vacation in Florida, about a month into working this job, scheduling meetings, helping my daughter pack for a weeklong sleepaway camp and making a list of which school supplies I should pick up at what store. There were also a few afternoons I snuck away to our neighborhood pool for a little relaxation.
It’s now the Summer of 2020 and I spent the week anxiously awaiting news of what the beginning of the school year will look for my kids. I was nervous for both myself and for them, as I have a rising freshman and junior. Seeing the sadness on their faces as they’ve missed the end-of-year celebrations, spring sports seasons and their friends since mid-March has been heartbreaking. I haven’t shopped for school supplies and camp was cancelled this year, and the pandemic has prevented so many teens from getting the summer jobs they’d had high hopes for.
This time last year looked a lot different for them. My daughter was anxiously awaiting her road test to obtain her driver’s license and driving around town so she could finish her required hours. She and her brother met three times a week in the early morning with their cross country team to practice. They could walk to our pool whenever they wanted, or meet friends to shoot hoops at the nearby public basketball court.
Thanks to COVID-19, this summer has looked a lot different for our kids. They are no longer groaning about shopping for back to school supplies, knowing they will start the school year off with remote schedule that keeps them home at least until Labor Day. They are hearing news of more and more people receiving positive COVID tests, and worrying if they forget to leave the house without a mask or hand sanitizer. They are sad because so many neighborhood pools have opted to remain closed for the summer, because they aren’t large enough to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. They long for the days when the basketball hoops were still up in the neighborhood park, and they wonder why they ever complained about not wanting to go outside in the heat. They’d give anything now to be outside in the heat with their friends without fear.
This time last year I was living with the everyday normal stressors most adults deal with day by day. I had no idea of what was to come. But as we work through the very first pandemic most of us have ever lived through, I believe we will come out stronger. Our kids will be more resilient. They will appreciate the things they used to take for granted. For some, it could be a defining moment of their lives, if they choose to make it one.
This time next year will look a lot different. I hope.
I don’t like to think about what my life would be like without my pets.
I’ve had a dog for as long as I can remember, and most of them have been pretty small. I guess as a petite person myself I’m hesitant to get a pet that could potentially be taller than me while standing on hind legs. My husband and I started out with a small chihuahua I brought into the marriage, and while I’m sure Daniel was hesitant about Odie at first (we all know the bad rap chis can get) he eventually grew to love that boy. When Odie passed away after a long life in 2010, we swore up and down we would take a break from having a pet. We were too heartbroken and tried to convince ourselves that we would be able to take more last-minute trips, etc. without the responsibility of finding a dog sitter, etc.
Two months later, I went to a local dog rescue for an article I was reporting on. I guess you can tell where this story is going . . . the first “person” to greet me was a wire-haired black terrier mix. There was something in his eyes that drew me to him immediately and I felt bad for him sitting in a crate out in the August heat. Within a few days, we filled out an application and had our home and yard inspected by the rescue. Sonic came home with us and our kids (who were 7 and 4 at the time) were thrilled to have another dog in the house.
That dog has become my faithful companion. We joke that he’s like a sheepdog and herds me from room to room. He will sleep underneath my desk while I’m working, and when he feels like it’s time for me to get up, he will “herd” me to the couch, where he immediately curls up beside me. In the mornings, he herds us to the food bowls. He herds us to the side door when he’s ready to take a walk. We have no idea how old he is now, just that he was pretty young when we got him. It’s hard for me to see him start to walk a little slower and take longer naps, but we are grateful that he came to join our family.
Six years ago, we started talking about getting a puppy to join the family, and because I had secretly always wanted a dachshund, I convinced my daughter to get one for her birthday. We found an adorable long-haired puppy we named Ruby and brought her home in 2014. As you can imagine, Sonic was a bit grumpy with that new arrival, but they eventually worked things out. Now I have two dogs that lie under my desk and have learned just how persistent dachshunds can be when they want food (which is 24/7 by the way). Their two personalities keep us pretty amused, because they both are completely different. She follows my husband around and will sass at him if she doesn’t get her way, something she never does with me. She howls when my daughter plays the piano. She also can be in a dead sleep and hear the refrigerator drawer that holds the cheese open and be in the kitchen in seconds. We keep saying we’re going to enter her in the Downtown Mooresville’s Weiner Dog Race (held each year in October), but I don’t know that we will ever follow through on that promise.
Pets are such a fun and memorable part of our lives. I only wished they could be with us longer.