Monday, August 30, 2010

The downside of pet ownership

I not only have three human children, I have several animal children as well.  We have three dogs, Missy, Dixie, and Dakota, a cat named Andy, a turtle named Jimmy, and a guinea pig named Smores.  Yes, we're nuts! I admit to having a soft heart when it comes to animals.  Our pets are well loved and a part of our family.  That's what makes it so hard when one of them gets very sick.  Sadly, that is the case with our cat Andy. 

Two weeks ago, Andy hopped up onto my bed beside me and I noticed his nose was swollen on one side.  I called the vet and took him in.  He had a tooth abscess that required extraction.  Okay, no problem.  He had the surgery, and was sent home with a round of antibiotics. After a week, the swelling was a little better but still there.  So we did another round of antibiotics.  The swelling remained.  I called and talked to the vet and she gave us a few options.  We could do X-rays that would hopefully give us some idea of the problem.  We could do a cat scan and biopsy.  She told us to think about it over the weekend since Andy was not acting sick and was eating and drinking normally.  In the meantime, he finished his antibiotic and the over the weekend the swelling got worse.  Now his lip was swollen and he didn't want us to touch it.  His eye was watery and he was drooling.  I took him in this morning and sadly the vet was able to make her diagnosis.  He has a cancerous mass in his nasal cavity that is now growing down through where the tooth was extracted.  it likely caused the abscess in the first place.  Not the news I wanted to hear.  Even with very expensive treatment his prognosis is not good. The tumor is just too fast growing.  So he received a steroid shot to help with the swelling and I brought him back home.  When he shows signs of illness such as stopping eating, we will have to make the heart breaking trip back to the vet to have him put down. 

Andy is not the first pet I've had to make this decision for.  I had to make it thirteen years ago for my beloved dog that I had grown up with.  Six years ago I had to make it for the sassy cat hubby and I adopted when we were first married.  And in between, we had another cat simply pass away unexpectedly at home.  It's always heart breaking and the decision never gets easier.  I know in my heart I am making the right choice because to allow a pet to suffer is needlessly cruel.  So no matter how much my heart hurts, I will make the decision for Andy when the time comes.  I owe him for the eight years of happiness and love he has given us.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for my kids.  I truly wish the summer break had been longer, but I won't get going on that topic!  This morning was one of those mornings that really drove home the age difference in my kids.  At 14, 9, and 4, they are all at very different stages in their lives.

J started high school today, which just seems surreal to me.  After ten years of catholic school(pk-8th), he didn't have to wear a uniform today.  It was very weird to see him come out dressed in regular clothes.  he was excited, a little nervous, and anxious to get going this morning.  As I watched him walking into school this morning, I was struck by the realization that my firstborn is no longer a little kid.  He's a full fledged young adult, well on his way to being all grown up. 

N is in 4th grade this year.  He's making that transition from little kid to big kid.  And he's so ready to be a big kid.  He'll celebrate his tenth birthday soon but he'd like to be much older.  I think he sometimes views the four and half years between himself and J as a challenge to grow up as fast as possible.  If older brother does it or has it, N wants his fair shot.  I never worry about N being lost in the middle.  He's a master negotiator, independent, stubborn beyond belief, and his favorite past time is arguing.  My days would be unbearably dull without him!  

And finally, A started pre-k today.  Yes, my baby is off to school.  Only half days this year, but still.  My last baby is growing up and leaving the nest, little by little.  She was so excited to start school today.  She's grown up watching her brothers go to this school and trailing after me as I volunteered.  To her way of thinking, it's about time she got to go school, too.

It's been a big day for us.  Exciting, exhausting, and full of change.  I imagine the year to come will be filled with more of the same.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Only One Week Left

Of summer vacation that is.  Yep, that's right.  The kids start school a week from tomorrow, August 9.  This week will be filled with last minute preparations:  uniform sale, high school registration, eye exams, and pre-k orientation.  Sigh.  I'm tired just thinking about it.

We're trying to pack as much fun as possible into the last few days of summer though.  This weekend J and N went with my dad to see the Yankees play the Tampa Rays.  They went for Saturday's game, stayed overnight and went to another game today.  N even managed to get Mariano Rivera to autograph J's outgrown Derek Jeter jersey.  Yes, I know it would have made more sense to actually have Derek Jeter autograph it, but Rivera was the one out signing today.    I took A to see Ramona and Beezu and then we hit IHOP for a girl's dinner out with my mom.  And tomorrow, cousin B and cousin M arrive to spend the week with us.  We're planning to squeeze some beach time in, maybe a little free bowling, and hopefully some relaxation.

I don't know about everyone else, but I am so not ready to let go of the carefree days of summer. I don't want to think about setting the alarm every night, packing lunches,  cracking the homework whip, or making sure everyone is in bed at the appointed time.   Ideally, I'd be back in Hawaii, relaxing on that gorgeous black sand beach we visited.  I've accepted that it's not going to happen, but I can dream right?  How are you spending the end of your summer?  If it's on a black sand beach in Hawaii, be merciful and don't tell me!