Sunday, December 19, 2004

A State of Bliss

Today was my wedding anniversary. I got past that 1st year, aka a transitional year, but smooth transitioning for my husband and I; I got past that 7th year, aka seven-year-itch --no, there was no need to scratch; I got past that 10th year -- wow, a whole decade together. And I'm well on my way to "and beyond."

I thank G-d for my bashert, a wonderful, genuine, warm, menschlich guy, who also happens to be a great husband and father... and a definite Jack of all trades. Perhaps I was single a little longer than the average Modern Orthodox female, but I defined that "in limbo" status as "good things come to those who wait" or "G-d saved the best for last."

My children are truly a blessing -- they help keep me grounded as a person as I look at them in awe. I've learned to realize just how much of a miracle children really are. Fragile, a gift, a blessing (sometimes in more disguises than others!) be thankful for, not to be taken for granted.

If I could grant each of you a wish, it would be for you to be able to hold your spouse's hand in yours, your child's hand/children's hands in yours, and to let them linger there just a little bit longer than help you achieve a state of bliss...

Tyson Pugsley

Our dog, a pug, is named Tyson Pugsley. Yes, it's a nice name, but not one I gave to him. We adopted him almost two years ago from a family who, for several reasons, had to give him up.

Never thought we'd get a dog-- I didn't grow up with one, I have three young children who keep me busy enough, I work full-time and I have a household to maintain.

But three years ago, my two youngest children were in a situation that involved a friend's dog scaring them so, that they were literally shivering with fright. Up until then, they'd always extended their hand to pet strange dogs.

I said to my husband that the only way they'd overcome the fear is if we get a dog of our own -- and so I started an online hunt to adopt one...

Well, a shidduch was made between Tyson and ourselves, and quite a nice one. Here came a dog with all the accoutrements, even with a pirate's costume -- for the owners it was a Halloween costume, for us it was a Purim costume. (that first year, my oldest child wore his Purim pirate's costume while delivering mishloach manot, and Tyson wore his. What a great sight to see!) He brought his own pillows and blankets, two beds, dog food, shampoos and brushes, toothbrush and toothpaste, toys...and lessons well learned. Instead of shaking his paw hello, we had him shaking "Good Shabbos" or "Good Yom Tov"; he also came very potty-trained and on good behavior. A definite "mechiyah" when owning a new pet.

Forgot to mention that Tyson Pugsley has such yicchus, and that's why we didn't change his name. He was almost five and came with a purebred pedigree and a large family tree that offered bizarre, yet interesting, names for his barking ancestry. I can't even trace my maternal or paternal side beyond great-grandparents, and here's my pug with a framable family tree. The Mormon Church in Utah didn't even have to do the work!

Thank G-d my children have definitely overcome their fear of dogs as they've learned to look after their pet. Tyson is a gentle, passive kind dog who wouldn't hurt anyone or anything, and therefore is a welcome member of our family.

Because he is not "little" by any means, he gets attention wherever he goes. We say that he's so ugly, he's cute. He is definitely much cuter than two other pugs who live in our neighborhood: Pugley and Brisket.

Unfortunately, with Tyson's short legs and his breathing difficulties (he snores loudly when he sleeps!), due to the breed that he is, he can't walk for long periods of time, and especially not when it's hot outside. But my little prince among canines has met with a solution: my youngest child gives up his ride in a stroller so that Tyson can sit in the carriage. Heads turn at this funny sight, and Tyson definitely gets to ride in style.

I've spoken to many frum people about the rights and wrongs of owning a dog. But we feel that it's right for us...and right for Tyson.

And as for all you other frum dog owners out there... I'm glad we're part of the same breed.

Shlemazel Mazel

Shlemazel Mazel (originally written December 12, 2004)

It was not even two days ago
That I sat down and wrote you a note
Opening with the lines: "Chag Sameach...Hope this note finds you and your family well."

I guess things were not so well, after all.
Today the famous shul automaton recorded voice could be heard on my telephone: "We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. E-'s mother. Funeral will be held on Sunday, 2 p.m., Steeles-College Chapel. Shiva to follow at..."

What actually went on two days ago, when I sent out my message?

Today I feel cold, horribly callous for having sent out a business note at such a sensitive hour.

Of course, it was not my fault--"You could not have known." "It's an honest mistake." "I'm sure he'll understand..." is what I'm continually hearing when I tell of my untimely fault. Someone tries to cite some Rabbinic tractate to help ease my conscience.

But I still cannot help but feel that I have just been a victim of "shlemazel mazel!"