When we found out over a year ago that our dog Zoey had a brain tumor, one of my friends referred to her illness and the time we were given to care for her as a unique blessing. I did not really get the connection at the time, but it stuck with me and I now feel that we truly embraced our unique blessing this past year.
Zoey’s illness was challenging for all of us, but it forced us to take stock of what was important and just how far we could go with her care. When the opportunity to move back to Chicago came along last summer, it turned out that we could live on Terry’s income for awhile which freed me up to take care of Zoey and stay home to take care of our family. It gave me time to set up our new place and be a housewife for the first time in both my life and our marriage.
This time also allowed me to take time for me. The past decade has been intense and looking back it seems like a whirlwind. Teaching in super challenging environments, Terry having some medical issues, buying a condo, earning a masters degree (while working full time), blowing out my ACL and having it reconstructed, Terry going through plenty of employment drama (and periods of unemployment where I was the primary breadwinner), relocating to New Orleans, teaching in charter schools (working lawyer hours on janitors pay), being diagnosed with breast cancer, and relocating back to Chicago all made for one very challenging, yet rewarding life. But I was worn out. Only taking a week off after my mastectomy. Only taking a week off for my ACL surgery. Juggling a tough job and grad school. I needed time to be and I finally got it.
I also needed the time to set up my new health team and so having the excuse of staying home to take care of Zoey meant that I could make all of the doctors appointments that ended up being scheduled. I didn’t have to risk losing a new job because of the amount of time I was spending with my doctors. So many of us try to minimize the amount of time we have to spend with our medical team, but it can be extensive.
Would I prefer that Zoey had not gotten sick? Of course!! However, that was the hand we were dealt.
Now this time is wrapping up. Nothing specific yet, but frankly I’m getting tired of doing all of the housework and the majority of the meal prep! 🙂 That is my sign that I’m feeling ready to move on to the next chapter. I’m feeling grateful and that this time has been that unique blessing.