A Lesson in Goodbye

Living in beautiful farm country, we are surrounded by acres of gorgeous country side, serene views, peaceful mornings (no sounds of traffic ever!) and some of the most beautiful bike riding trails around.

However, we do have our share of heartache.

I’ve lost count of all the stray cats, most barely surviving on the scraps of food they find and the kindness of busy people who take the time to feed them.

Enter Little Mommy Cat, the feisty, but sweet girl who appeared on our doorstep a year+ ago with her brother, both emaciated. Like all of the other strays, we started feeding them. They would disappear for days then reappear intermittently, always looking thin but determined. Little Mommy got pregnant twice and after many fruitless searches, we were never able to locate her kittens. It broke my heart knowing they were out there without anyone to feed or protect them. And even though she seemed tough, there is only so much a small stray cat can do.

This summer she got pregnant a third time. This time I was determined to find her kittens no matter what. We followed her repeatedly across the road to our neighbors barn but she would never lead us to her hiding spot. Several evenings when our neighbors were not home, my daughters and I would search their barn. My older daughter would shine the flashlight from her iPhone while I searched every crack, crevice and hay stack, while my younger daughter, who is afraid of spiders (ha) would keep watch outside, warning us each time she saw an oncoming car. [And yes I do believe that might be considered breaking and entering but the door was unlocked, so..].

After 2 weeks of ardent searching, we finally found them. She had made a nest in the corner of the barn. Six, 2-week old kittens, hiding in plain sight on the floor of the barn where 75 + cows walked, ate and slept. It amazed me that one had not accidentally stepped on and killed one.

That evening we had 6 beautiful two week old kittens in our house. *heavy sigh*

My daughters were thrilled. KITTENS. However, I felt my usual range of emotions: exhausted, overwhelmed and yes, also KITTENS. I am human of course.

The next few weeks were fun. We layered the floor of our guest bathroom with soft blankets and cat toys. We kept them isolated with their mom so she had a quiet place to feed them and rest. Every evening we would let them explore and play.

If six kittens sounds like a lot, let me reassure you. IT IS A LOT. A lot of fun but also a lot of work.

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That was 4 weeks ago.

Today they are 6 weeks old and running and jumping and playing and so much cuteness. They are the most adorably sweet kittens I have ever seen. And I am not biased at all.

But unfortunately it’s not fair to keep six, ever-growing kittens locked up in a small guest bath all day long. They have outgrown the room and need space to exercise and play. They need forever homes.

I posted photos of them on social media (IG, FB and twitter]. I shared photos and videos with people I work with and I even stopped a man in the cat food aisle at Target to show him how cute they were.  I am not proud to admit that I did this, but he was sweet and actually considered taking one. Still,  I was unable to find homes for any of them. *even heavier sigh*

We always knew we could take them to a shelter but still, I was hopeful I would be able to find them homes myself.

From day one, I decided we would keep the mom because I knew she would be considered un-adoptable. No one ever wants a grown cat, especially when they can have a kitten instead.  So for 4 very long weeks we tried to make it work. Although she was friendly around people, she became very aggressive and defensive around our other pets, repeatedly attacking our older cat and dog. But 2 years of barely surviving had hardened her.

This week, I finally made the extremely difficult decision to give her up. 😦

The plan is to take her to the shelter [along with her kittens] and hope with every ounce of my heart that a kind person will see through her tough exterior and give her the loving home she deserves. Even as I write this, my heart is breaking. Because even though we’ve only had her in our home for a short time, I know her tough exterior is just that: a wall she created to protect herself out of the need to survive. I also know that underneath lies a beautifully sweet animal that is so deserving of kind and loving home.

And as horrible as I feel about giving her up, I know that is just how life is. Each one of us does what we can to make the world a better place. We help each other out. We volunteer our time. We rescue stray dogs and cats.  Even if it’s just one small gesture, we do what we can and hope someone else comes along and picks it up from where we left off.

Life is sort of like passing the baton. You pass the baton to the next person and hope they’ll keep it going. You hope they’ll pay it forward too and help the next person (or animal) who is in need.

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This weekend we are taking Little Mommy and her kittens to a wonderful shelter in Baltimore. Unfortunately, we have gone through this process before. We know the shelter staff are kind and that all of them will be safe. We’ve done all we can do and now it’s time to pass the baton.  All of the kittens are healthy and sweet.  We know that anyone who is lucky enough to adopt one will have a loving and affectionate friend for the rest of their life. And they are still young enough where they have a really good chance of being adopted.

So this weekend we’ll make the hour long drive to the shelter. My daughters and I will cry as we attempt to say goodbye to each one. Our hearts will break when it’s finally time to leave. The drive back home will seem even longer. I’ll stop along the way to get them ice cream in the hopes of cheering them up. But it won’t make a difference.  When we return home, we’ll all cry again because the house feels so empty. Each time we use the guest bathroom, we’ll remember how excited they would get each time we came home and opened the door, and we’ll feel sad all over again.

We hope that some kind person at the SPCA will watch over them until they find homes. And I hope that one kind stranger, an angel perhaps, will see Little Mommy cat and decide that she is the one they want and that she deserves a loving forever home, too.

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If you are reading this and think you would like to adopt either the mom or one of her kittens [or if you have any questions at all] please contact me ASAP. Thank you.

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The Break Up Text

“He broke up with you by text?” That’s usually the first thing your friends say, soon followed by “What a huge jerk” when they discover a guy sent you a Break Up Text.

Not “Oh, are you okay?” or “I’m so sorry.” Somehow, the fact that he broke up via a text message always takes center stage. Oh the horror of it all.

There’s a very funny episode of  Sex and the City where Carrie’s boyfriend, Berger, breaks up with her via a Post-It note. The episode centers around how horrible Berger is for doing it in this way, how insulting it is to Carrie and other equally deplorable methods of breaking up (by telephone, carrier pigeon, etc.).

He simply writes: “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” Then he leaves in the middle of the night and she discovers the break-up Post-it the next morning.

“Don’t hate me”?

First of all, right after a break up, he or she is definitely going to hate you. At least temporarily anyway. Because hating the person is one of the 5 stages of Breaking Up. [Denial, Anger aka: I Hate You, Bargaining, Sadness, and finally Acceptance.]

But the good news is that your ex will almost always un-hate you as soon as they get over you. Which is probably pretty quickly since, if you broke up via a text (or a Post-it note) that probably means you only dated for 5 minutes anyway. And how could you possibly hate someone that you barely knew?


Not too long ago, I dated a guy for 9 weeks (I hate that I know exactly how many weeks we were together, because UGH). Anyway, we never discussed our feelings. Seriously? Who discusses feelings anymore? The New Thing is to pretend you don’t have any. Everyone knows that. (Although he may have said “I like you” once, but we were drinking and the room was very dark, so I could be wrong.)

And we never defined the relationship. Instead, I decided to be the cool and casual Just Go With The Flow Girl.

And I was. I decided not to worry where it was going and to just enjoy it and to focus on the having fun part. So that’s exactly what I did.

And even though I never once brought up the whole “Are we in a relationship?” thing, my friends would occasionally ask me and I admit those thoughts were floating around in my head those last few weeks.

So it’s not surprising that late one night, when I may or may not have had too much to drink, that I may or may not have brought up the word ‘intimacy’ in conversation. UGH, again.

I don’t exactly recall the entire (short) conversation, but I do know it was absolutely nothing like those scenes you see in movies where he professes his love to her and they make love in front of a perfectly lit fire and it all romantically ends with mutual I love you’s. It was exactly the opposite of that.

The next morning things felt a bit awkward, so I came right out and asked him “Are we okay? Are we going to continue seeing each other?” [I should add that it’s not easy for me to be that blunt, but I’ve learned that being honest and straight forward is always best.]

He assured me that we were fine. He nervously laughed, got dressed and then he left. And that was the end of that.

That was Sunday morning.

Three days later, on a beautiful and sunny afternoon, I discovered that things were not “fine” at all when I received The Break Up Text.

Looking back, I knew things weren’t fine on the morning I asked him. And yes, he probably should have just ended it then on that Sunday before he left. But I’m not mad or upset that he waited three days. Or that he ended it via text message.

And here’s why:

1. We were only together for 9 weeks. And even if we did spend 2 – 3 nights together each week, that still isn’t a very long time to really know someone. The truth is, there were probably a dozen signs that things weren’t going to work out. And in 9 weeks, I successfully managed to ignore them all. So it’s partially my fault for deciding not to see them.

2. We never discussed exclusivity and we never defined the relationship. So as far as I know, he was still actively dating other women on tinder, etc. So unless you’ve discussed those things, do you really have a right to be angry if it suddenly all ends?

3. I once had a guy break up with me at 2am on a Saturday after we’d been drinking vodka all night. After a deep discussion (because it’s always best to have a discussion after you’ve been drinking vodka), he abruptly got up and left. Yes, at 2am, and yes, when we were both pretty hammered. As drunk as I was, I distinctly remember freaking the fuck out, because DRUNK. That may be the absolute worst time to break up with someone, ever. So in comparison, receiving a text at 3pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon while sitting at your desk, completely clear headed (and sober) is 100% better than having a guy leave you at 2am on a Saturday night when you’re so toasted it’s impossible to think straight. So, thank you, I think?

4. I used to think – like so many people still do- that breaking up over text is the cowardly thing to do. Why not just tell someone it’s over to their face? Well, as noble as that may sound, I’m not so sure I want a guy breaking up with me in person. Because if I really like him, which I probably do (otherwise, why would I be dating you  for 9+ weeks?) there’s a very good chance I might start to cry. And no matter how hot or cute you think you are, no one looks pretty when they’re crying. NO ONE. And even if I don’t cry, I’m still going to be pretty upset/ sad/ annoyed and feeling a myriad of other emotions, and I’d much rather deal with all of them in private. Guys honestly have no idea what to do when a girl gets upset and/or starts to cry, and it becomes very frustrating for both parties. So it’s actually a good thing to break up over text. It gives both people time and space to deal with an unpleasant situation in private. It’s best that we both walk away feeling good (or as good as possible) about the situation as we can. People tend to get upset after a break up, which just adds unwanted drama to the situation and who needs that? Certainly not me.

5. I suspect that in those 3 days that he waited, that he gave his decision to end things a lot of thought. And I admit that I had been thinking everything over, too. I always try to think things  thoroughly through before making any major decisions, so I respect the fact that he took a few days to think it over before he made a thoughtful decision to tell me.

6. I needed time alone to think. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having doubts, too. I don’t think bringing up intimacy after 9 weeks is rushing things. It’s not like we had just met yesterday. So if a guy freaks out over that, then he definitely isn’t the one for me. And if the relationship – and more importantly, if I- meant that little to him, then really? What more needs to be said?

Nothing. So let’s just end it and move on.



When it comes to casual relationships, I don’t see why the Break Up Text is really all that bad. It’s not like you were married. You’re not ending a long term, committed relationship where there are children and a mortgage and 20 years of memories involved.

You were casually dating. There wasn’t any commitment.  So you know what? Breaking up via text or even a Post-it note may not be the best way to end things, but it’s certainly not the worst way either.

In fact, maybe it’s the most painless and kindest way to go. ♦


Here is the infamous scene from SATC, The Post It Break Up. [Click the link twice to view it on youtube.] Enjoy. Xx

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Unhinged

 

A strange thing happens when I cry
My eyes turn a dark blue green
And it’s impossible to hide the fact that I’ve been crying

 

What is it about the feeling of love that makes us feel invincible

When suddenly everything in the world just glows
Including you
And when we lose that feeling of love – real or not- it seems like the entire universe crumbles and falls apart around you
And for a short time it seems nothing can make you smile
Because all you feel is the loss of something missing

The ache of emptiness that temporarily consumes you

When you cry so much that your heart and your head just ache


There are some moments of sadness when it feels like you’ll never recover
But deep down inside you know you will

Because you always do

But in that moment you feel like you want to disappear
And you replay it all over and over again in your head
Wondering what you did wrong and wishing you had done something differently
Worrying about the most pointless things
Like maybe you weren’t good enough
And how you spent hours preparing and trying to make everything perfect
When the reality is none of those things matter
Not one little bit
It doesn’t matter how beautiful he thinks you are or how perfect your body is or is not or if you or how much you care or how hard you tried
The truth is you probably didn’t do anything wrong and sometimes you can do everything right and it still doesn’t matter
Because it has nothing to do with you and absolutely everything to do with the other person
You have no control over what the other person says or thinks or does
No control over what they do or if they decide to leave

And I understand why men think women are crazy sometimes
Because love makes us crazy
It makes you say and do unthinkable things because you can’t possibly think clearly when you are in that state
When someone you cared about walks out of your life forever
When something that was meaningful and important is suddenly
Gone
You become unhinged
It’s like stopping your car in the middle of the road or reading a book only halfway through
You can’t abruptly slam on the brakes and stop somewhere in the middle
You can’t make sense of something when a huge part of it is missing
You have to go all the way through and complete the entire journey
Love and relationships need to run their natural course

In the end you have to accept that there are certain things that you’ll never understand
Some people do things and you have no control over their actions or why they did it or the outcome
All you can do is control how you think and how you react

And it’s not that much different than being in an accident when you’ve been thrown from your car and you’re in a situation that’s suddenly unrecognizable and foreign and confusing

It’s impossible to brace for the impact

And it takes time to recover and to make sense of something you don’t recognize or fully understand
All you can do is to allow yourself time to grieve and heal


And you know you’ll recover because you’ve felt this way before and you’ll feel this way again

But that doesn’t make it easier

Because you only meet amazing people a very few rare times throughout your life

People who have the ability to touch you in some invisible way, who change you forever

And no matter how many times you’ve imagined it happening, it’s always devastating and it always hurts like hell

Because you can’t walk into someone’s life and share a part of it, then just walk out without feeling some kind of loss

People are not cars that you take out for a test drive

A persons life isn’t a revolving door where you can swing in and out without affecting them in some way

And your presence – and eventual absence- in someone’s life does matter

It changes us in some small or significant way

And the people we cared about and maybe even loved – even for a short time –  in some small way, stay with us forever

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

Louis de Bernieres

Unhinged: Random Thoughts on Love, Loss and Pain – Just some random personal thoughts strewn together.