Beginnings and Endings

May 17 | Posted by: Andrea Zonn |
Okay. For those of you who don’t already know, sit down.

This past Sunday was my first real Mother’s Day. For humans anyway. Well, almost.

Tuesday, I had my 20-week ultrasound and learned that we’re having a little boy, due in early October. Yes, we are expecting. How about that? Over the last months, I find myself so unbelievably grateful. I’m nearly 38, was married for many years, and have had numerous other ill-fated relationships over the years. Quite frankly, as much as I had wanted children, I didn’t think it was in the cards for me. I had given up, afraid to even wish for such a thing anymore. And then, in early February, everything changed. Late. Pregnant. Elated.

Sometimes, I believe we really can have everything we ever wanted. But there’s a catch. You don’t necessarily get to have it all at the same time. Over and over again, I’m amazed at the juxtaposition of the extraordinarily good and the overwhelmingly sad. Like losing my father just before graduating seminary. Like touring Europe with James Taylor 4 days after my divorce was final. And now, like expecting a baby when my old friend Molly the collie is living what are certainly her last days. I wrote to my friend Ingrid the other day, and her compassion was simple and eloquent; she spoke of the blessing in helping put an animal out of (literally) unspeakable pain. And then of the baby, she simply said,
“New life,
“New love,
“Amen.”

Amen indeed. Life is an ebb and flow. A balance. And it’s completely unpredictable. You can either stress about the unknown and the lack of your own control, or you can succumb and learn to trust in the power greater than ourselves, to relish in the mystery, to embrace the surprises, good and bad, and recognize the gifts that truly do accompany everything. You can trust that God has a more imaginative plan than any puny idea we can come up with. It comes down to faith, and gratefulness.

I’ve had nearly 17 extraordinary years with Molly. She’s lived longer than a dog could be expected to, especially one her size and breed – 65 pounds, half collie, half shepherd. She’s been the longest daily relationship I’ve had outside my immediate family. I’ve cared for her since she was a baby. And in many ways, she’s cared for me too. The adult in me knows that it’s right and loving that her good life end with a good death. The child in me isn’t ready for this. I want her to meet the baby. I want the baby to know her sweetness and companionship. I’m not ready to stop finding the cats sleeping curled up next to the dog, or washing her face, or cleaning her ears. They look after her as they look after one another. It takes my breath away. But it breaks my heart to see Molly unable to stand up on her own, to hear her yelping in the middle of the night because she’s fallen and hasn’t the strength to pull herself up. It’s unfair that she’s healthy in every other way. Damned arthritis. Thank God for Prednisone. Such a wretched drug, but it’s taking enough of the pain away that she can now walk around without wincing at every step. But still, she falls, and still, I pick her up, an ever more difficult task as my belly grows and my strength diminishes. Thank God she still loves her food, that she still loves a stroll in the yard, that she still comes to me and buries her face in my lap, a hug of sorts.

I’ve set up a bed for her at the foot of mine, dressed with a quilt. My mom brought over a pillow for her head. By October, there will be a bassinet in there as well. The sleeping quarters for two sweet babies. Hopefully, they’ll get a few slumber parties in.

And in the meantime, I remain faithful and grateful. Faithful that Molly will let me know when she’s had enough of this life, and is ready to move on. Faithful that I will remain objective enough to recognize that moment when it arrives. And grateful for the son I’ve already come to love. Grateful for friends and family who are so generous with their love, time and help. Grateful for Ruthie and McGee for their comedic interruptions and feline charms. And so immeasurably grateful for the long friendship and unwavering companionship of Molly the collie. Hang in there Sweet Girl. I can still pick you up.

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