Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A boy and his dogs

This April will mark one year since my Charlie died. As a family, we've had a lot of adjustments to make. It hasn't been easy on our other two dogs, either. Charlie was the leader of their pack. Gradually we're all adapting. Since Charlie would scratch on the door when any one of them wanted in or out, the girls are finding their own way to tell us. Charlie would also be the one to noisily notify us if they were getting low on water. The girls haven't figured out a way to tell us this yet, so we're having to make sure their water bowl is full.

Emotionally, Charlie was the empathizer. If one of us were upset or crying, he would come give us a hug. If the baby cried and Charlie got there before one of us, we'd get a dirty look. He'd always check on the baby, too. Though Baby A was too small to snuggle with, Charlie would nap near him while he napped.

Now the girls are starting to fill in for Charlie's emotional duties. Nala comes to comfort me when I'm upset, and Layla checks on Baby A and sleeps near him. When I was sick recently and took a nap with Baby A, Layla joined is and snuggled up to my toddler instead of me. 

And so now baby A is growing with his dogs. He loves them so dearly, and they love him. I wonder how this dynamic would be different if Charlie were still here, but I know he's up in dog heaven watching his family and smiling. Except when A runs; Charlie hated it when people ran!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Disney Morals 101

It's no secret that Disney has taught us a lot over the years. Here's a look back at some of my favorite Disney life lessons. (We're ignoring all of those get married after three days bits because they resolved that quite neatly in Frozen).

Pocahontas, Bambi: Respect nature
In a time when there are public service announcements telling kids to put down the video games and play outside, Pocahontas' message of respecting nature is especially important. Nature is both powerful and fragile, and small actions can have big consequences.


Hercules: Always do what you think is right, following your own instincts and ignoring the negative voices around you that would lead you astray.

Cinderella: Don't lose heart. Be patient, have faith, work hard, and you can rise above your situation. Never let being subjugated crush your spirit. If Cinderella can smile and sing while scrubbing the floor, so can I. So can I.

101 Dalmatians: Never give up if your family is at stake. Always fight for them.

Then, when you've won them back, love them. 

Brave: Trust that your family is going to try to do what's best for you. Communicate. Listen. Trust yourself, as well.

But not witches. Don't trust mysterious strangers who promise to make everything better, simple and easy. Most things in life worth having aren't easy to come by.

Frozen: Don't hide things from those you love. Be open with your heart; you'd be surprised what they can handle. Don't bottle up your feelings.

Meet the Robinsons: Keep moving forward.

The Lion King: Those we love are never truly gone, because they live on in us. In our memories of them, in their habits we've copied, and in our hearts.

Thank you, Disney. You've helped make generations of kids better by encouraging empathy and teaching us how to be our best selves.