Monday, May 2, 2016

Walking into 30

The past couple of months have been a swirl of changes. I will turn 30 in July. I haven't felt too bothered by the number, really, but lately I have watched the symbols of my youth fade away much earlier than I expected.

It started with a car. My car. 2003 Volkwagen Golf. I bought my first car in high school. I worked at a Fuddruckers to make my car payment and pay car insurance. One day on my way to work, the Golf sputtered and the engine light started flashing. It actually would cost more to fix than the car was worth. We traded it in and bought a Tacoma. It seemed so odd because the Golf was only about 12 years old. It had low mileage. I thought it would last much longer.

Losing my car wasn't necessarily an emotional event. It was just a car. It stood for a lot more to me, but it was just an object. I just didn't realize that my car had gotten old on me. And that kind of meant that I was getting old too.

And then there was Bendy. Our dog. I got Abed-nego as I was entering my senior year of undergrad. He was my and Chris's first "baby" before we had babies. We took Bendy with us everywhere. We went on hikes, camping, and trips to the beach. Since he was a dachshund, we knew we needed to keep him thin and fit to avoid back injuries. We did not allow him to go down stairs or jump off furniture. Chris and my dad even made a ramp for him to get on our bed. The dog was so feisty and stubborn, but he loved us fiercely. He accepted our babies as our family grew. Then again, out of nowhere, he showed signs of a back injury. We tried everything, but he had nerve damage, affecting his right hind leg. The vet said all we could do was try to manage his pain. We gave him four different medications, but the damage kept spreading. He was constantly crying. We fought to get him to drink and eat. He quickly lost all use of his back leg. He couldn't even stand, let alone walk. He started losing control of his bowels. So, just one month before his tenth birthday, we said good bye. I thought he would have lived much longer.

I didn't know how to not cry all the time, so I started renovating our kitchen. I painted all of our kitchen cabinets, the doors, and the trim. I sat in the garage painting cabinet doors while the boys slept in their beds. I thought of our Abed-nego as a puppy and also in our last days together. I gritted my teeth and wanted to ask him why he had to go and get hurt. Why did he have to end this way so soon, so fast? So early. Ten years is OK, I guess, but I really thought we'd have more time. And then I looked at my hands and wondered how I got here. So much of who I was has gone. My car. My dog. My roles. What is left of me as a "twenty-something"? I am nearly thirty. I am stepping into a new chapter. It isn't a bad thing, but I had hoped to bring some things with me. Like my dog...

This point in life is so full of joy and also so hard. I'll just keep doing my best.

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