Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Update From the Diamond

As usual, life is speeding along at the speed of light.  J recently finished up both his junior swim season and his fall baseball season.  Try outs for spring baseball will be in mid January, and while J will have a bit of a breather in regards to games, he's still focusing hard on his training to be ready for the next steps in his baseball career.

Yesterday, J and I made a trip to visit Coach C for a progress check.  You may remember me posting back at the start of the summer season that J had suffered some back sliding in his game that was causing him some difficulties, Obstacles to Overcome.  Since none of us wanted a repeat of that scenario, we decided it would be best if Coach C made periodic checks of J's progress.   I am happy to report that Coach C was extremely pleased with how J is looking on the field.  J had made improvement by the end of the summer, working hard to fix the deficiencies in his game.  Yesterday Coach C said he could see even more improvement, which really gave J a confidence boost. And no matter how much hubby and I pump J up, our pep talks and praise never quite have the effect that Coach C's do.   So what's next?  J is continuing his training program.  Coach C will be giving him a new, more intense workout routine next week when he comes home for Thanksgiving.  In addition, J will be swimming a few days a week for extra conditioning, as well as keeping up his hitting and throwing drills.

 His school season will begin in January.  I'm going to briefly touch on something here that needs to be said and then put away.  J's school program is not everything we would like it to be, which is a source of great frustration for all of us.  I especially have a hard time dealing with it and tend to work myself  up into a bit of a frenzy at times.  That stops now.  I don't want to say or do anything that could negatively impact J's mental focus when he's on the field playing for the school team.  So from here on out, no matter how hard it is, no matter how upset I get, I will only say positive things about the program.  I will do my very best to only think positive thoughts.  The focus is J, and on helping him do everything he can to improve his game and achieve his goals.  I promised both J and Coach C I would do my part on this and it's a promise I intend to keep.  I'm a naturally optimistic person, so starting now I'm thinking positive thoughts for J's school team to grow and improve in the upcoming season.  And as always, I have faith that J will give his all to the team and have an outstanding junior season.

After that outstanding junior school season, it will be time for a third summer season with TP, led by Coach C.  We talked about the summer season yesterday and the plans Coach C is starting to make.  There will definitely be more to come on that as we get closer to the summer!

The upcoming season is an extremely important one for J.  As a junior, he only has two school seasons left, along with two more more summer seasons for TP.  He's worked long and hard to get to this point.  He's still determined to realize his dream of playing college baseball and now is the time when things could start to happen for him.  He's filling out intent forms for schools he's interested in playing at.  He's working on registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  Most importantly, he's continuing the hard work that has gotten him this far.  The journey is a little closer to the end, but it's far from over.  J is determined not only to complete the journey, but to end up exactly where he's been dreaming of for so many years.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Pets have always been a treasured part of our household.  I truly can't imagine our family without our four legged friends.  Sadly though, in the past two years we've had to say goodbye to all but two of our pets.  Two years back, we lost our cat Andy and our black lab Dixie within two weeks of each other.  Andy from cancer and Dixie from hip dysplasia.  Barely two months after that, N's guinea pig Smores passed away after a brief illness.  This left us with two dogs.  Missy, a yellow lab, and Dakota, a Catahoula Leopard/ Australian Cattle dog mix.  Sadly, a week ago, we had to say goodbye to our sweet Missy.  She had a skin cancer that caused tumors to form inside her mouth and all over her body.  She was almost 16 years old, and lived a long, happy life.  However, her passing has hit all of us hard.  You see, I adopted Missy and Dixie,  when J was 14 months old.  My own beloved childhood dog had passed away at the age of 16 and I coped with my sadness by bringing home two roly poly, 8 week old puppies who would bring us nearly 16 years of love and friendship.  From the start, the girls, as we liked to call them, were a handful.  They were mischievous and playful, wreaking havoc in our house and yard.  Yet despite the chewing, the digging under the fence, the running away(one time they were missing for three days) and the endless trouble they got into, those puppies grew up to be two of the best dogs a family could have asked for.  They were sweet natured, endlessly patient with J, and later N and A, and gave us all the unconditional love and loyalty that only dogs can.  When they were 7, we adopted Dakota.  It took a few days, but they eventually welcomed him into the family and he quickly became attached to both of them, but especially to Missy.  When we lost Dixie, Missy, who had always been the alpha dog, went through a long grieving process.  Over the next two years she aged more rapidly than she had in her first 13 years.  I honestly believe that if we hadn't had Dakota, she might have grieved herself to death.  When she first began developing the tumors back in late March, we had two options.  Costly surgery to verify what the was causing the tumors, or letting nature take its course.  At her advanced age, we opted to not have the surgery.  We wanted her final months to be as happy and comfortable as possible. And they were.  She didn't really develop further tumors until late August and even then, she was still her happy self.    These past weeks were rough as we struggled with knowing when  the right time to end her suffering would be.  Hubby and I both seemed to struggle with the decision more than we had with past pets.  For some reason, we had a really difficult time letting go of her.  I suppose because with Missy's passing comes the end of an era.  She and Dixie grew up with J, and were faithful companions to all the kids.  And my Missy was always the leader.  She loved and protected all of us, the other pets included.  Her absence is felt greatly.  The house feels empty and even a week later I still find myself expecting to see her lying next to my bed when I get up in the morning, or basking out in the sun in the backyard.  Poor Dakota is lost without her, and I have no idea how to explain to a heartbroken dog that the one he loved most isn't coming back.  We had Missy cremated and her ashes were returned to us on Thursday.  When Dixie died, we had her cremated as well, but never buried her ashes.  The kids felt that she and Missy needed to be together.  So sometime soon, when the kids feel ready, we'll lay our girls to rest together, which is how I think they'd want it, if dogs had feelings on such matters.  They were inseparable until Dixie died and I like to think of my two roly poly puppies being together again.  If dog heaven has a fence, it's a guarantee the two of them will be digging under it to go off an adventure.

 Mimi(Missy's nickname since J couldn't say Missy as a toddler) and Dixie  taken when they were about two years old.