Monday, July 31, 2017

My Henry

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that we celebrated a big milestone this past weekend, Henry’s eighth birthday. I received Henry as part of my 21st birthday gift and in that time, he’s managed to fill my heart full of love and joy while simultaneously emptying my bank account. Though I can’t imagine my life without him, I wasn’t initially keen on Henry.

Almost one year to the day before Henry was born (July 28, 2008) my childhood lab, Bo, passed away during my first summer home from college. Being an only child, Bo was the closest thing to a sibling I had ever known and when we lost him suddenly to the dreaded c-word, my heart was shattered into what felt like millions of pieces. So when my parents called to tell me that they were getting another dog, a yellow lab, I surprised myself when I asked if I could have one too. It was my junior year of college and I had just moved into a house that I purposely selected because they allowed dogs.

Though he was adorable that first year, he drove me insane. I don’t think my heart was 100% healed from losing Bo and I had a difficult time learning to love him. There’s one story that I often tell that I think epitomizes Henry’s puppyhood. In our townhouse at the time, Henry stayed in his crate on the first floor in the opposite corner from the front door. A few feet from his cage, we had a love seat parallel to his crate so that you could see the back of the loveseat when you entered the door. One afternoon, I opened the door to discover that Henry had managed to bounce in his crate across the hardwood floor to the back of the loveseat and chew it so that the backing was completely open and stuffing filled the room. He sat in his crate with his tail proudly waging.

Though he frequently jumped on the counter and ate my dinner and destroyed every sock I owned from the depths of underneath my bed, within that first year, I went through my real first rocky relationship where I heavily leaned on Henry for comfort and support and the rest, is history. Through changes in friendships and failed relationships as we moved to multiple zip codes, Henry was always my one constant for the past eight years. Despite the oscillations, Henry has always been the one to need me and love me unconditionally. I safely guard my heart which has often led me to be perceived as cold over the years but with Henry, he’s the only one who I’ve ever truly been able to melt into.

Which is why, I’m terrified for his surgery tomorrow. With Henry, I’m always the worst case scenario. A small sneeze out of the ordinary can lead me to cancel every plan for the upcoming week so that I can sit at home and safely monitor him. I know an ACL surgery is common, especially with large dogs, but I feel as if I’ll be frozen until I hear from the vet after his surgery to know that everything went ok and they didn’t find anything else and together, we can begin to heal.

Sometimes when I pray, I find myself praying for my wants and always correct myself that God has a plan larger than what I can conceive and I should pray for patience while I wait for His plan to unfold instead of praying for what I want. I desperately want (and need) Henry to be OK so praying right now is tougher than ever. Selfishly, life without Henry is unimaginable. He’s been my sole source of that companionship that I deeply desire and I'm too fearful of being truly alone.

As I wait, I’ll keep listening to the uneven beat of his limpy paws coming down the hallway and be grateful for eight years of unconditional love through those big brown eyes (though praying, for many more.)

Our deepest gratitude for your prayers, thoughts, and support.



PS. A post from the archives of another time Henry sent my anxiety through the roof.

PPS. The first picture I ever posted of me and Hens! (Taken on my BlackBerry.)

Monday, July 24, 2017

NY to TN to FL and the In-between

Last week, my Dad reminded me how well I was doing updating my blog until the move. I can be productive when I have a lot going on but once it gets down to nothing to do, even the simplest tasks can be put off until tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that (hi, laundry.) Anyways, I thought I would share a few updates from the past few weeks and then commit to my regularly scheduled postings.

First, it was harder to leave New York than I anticipated. I felt like so much of me was ready to go for months and the final weeks came and I was filled with doubt. I felt slightly defeated by New York like New York had won and I don't like losing but also, I was constantly questioning my decision to grad school. So much so that I thought I should have applied to get my MBA (wonderful degree though not for me.) It didn't help that the weather was perfect and I was spending so much time with all of my friends from fun lunches and dinners to packing parties with sparking rose at my place. I had the biggest meltdown the Sunday before I left but fortunately, I have some incredible friends who knew just how to pick me up those final few days!

Aside from terrible traffic, the move itself went well. My Dad was able to pull the moving truck onto my side street minutes after the street cleaner came by so we had zero issues parking. All of the movers showed up when they were supposed to so getting my things plus me and Henry from Manhattan to Nashville was simpler than I anticipated. We did decide to leave the Friday of a long, holiday weekend so traffic was insane (like six hours to go 200 miles insane) and no one in our party was particularly thrilled with the traffic which made for a tension filled driving Friday but if thats the only thing that went wrong, I'll take it.

I spent right at a week in Nashville before leaving so I don't necessarily feel qualified to answer the "How is Nashville?" question yet. In that week, I did find the Target and Publix and let me tell you, life is glorious. The first time I went to Publix (to purchase my food for one week) I was so excited, I walked up and down every single aisle just because. My buggy had minimal items but it didn't matter, I wanted to experience it all. Also, I think I went to Target maybe five times. It's so convenient. One night, I was assembling a headboard that had been delivered from Wayfair and realized that I needed a piece I could easily grab at Target. In under 30 minutes, I drove to Target, picked up what I needed, and was back assembling the headboard. Seriously, magical. AND there is a Starbucks walking distance from new apartment that also has a drive through so really, all is well in Nashville.

While there, I did find a promo for Class Pass and joined. I prefer a community where I work out so I knew that I wouldn't be a long time member of Class Pass and found a code where it was $30 for 6 classes. I had been reading blogs about gyms and fitness studios in Nashville and wanted to try a few affordably before deciding which one was for me. Sadly, the spin studio is nothing compared to NYC but I did find a place that I LOVED. I went to a few where all of the other participants instantly sized me up when I walked in and no one talked to each other which made me feel insecure the entire time I was working out. Additionally, a few of the instructors didn't take the time to correct my form (I'm certainly not an expert) and they just yelled orders from across the room. I'm sure I am slightly spoiled from my time with Holly and Geoff but I knew there had to be more. On my last day, I tried a random place that I hadn't read about but picked because of the close proximity to campus. Everyone there was so kind, introduced themselves, and cheered each other AND they had a dog that ran around during the fitness class. I'm sold. Can't wait to try some more classes just to be sure (though I think I already know) when I get back in August.

For the past week, I've been home in Florida literally doing nothing. I feel so lazy and I have no idea why I am so tired all of the time but I also don't really care. For the past few years, I've been non-stop and I can't think of the last time that I didn't have an email to respond to so I am trying to embrace the slowness and overly indulge in a nap or two. I've been able to see some friends and family since being here which is great. Usually, my visits are short and its one dinner to say hello but nothing more so I've enjoyed having time to bounce around and have extended lunches or pools days catching up.

We plan to be here through this week and weekend and all next week before heading back up to Nashville. I have a creative project that I'm itching to start so stay tuned for details. Henry, who will be eight on Saturday) has an appointment on Wednesday with an orthopedic specialist for hips. They've gotten so bad that he can barely walk and though I try, I can't quite carry him. I've been praying nonstop for this appointment and that we are able to discover the source and have a treatment plan to heal him. He's reminding me so much of my childhood dog, Bo, before he passed right now and thats really not something I think I could handle so I'm praying continuously for this appointment on Wednesday. If you pray, please say an extra prayer for Henry and his hips and the vet on Wednesday.

Here are some snaps from our final few weeks.
Seriously, could Central Park BE anymore beautiful? (In my Chandler voice.) 

Saying goodbye to our New York home. 

Unpacking in Nashville. If you can zoom, please find his teddy bear right next to him. 

With my favorite babes in Florida. Their momma was my childhood friend and I love these babies to pieces. 

I'll be back soon.