Category Archives: Jada

Picking the Right Fruit

I have reached that part of parenting where the waters have become murky.  The low hanging fruit has been successfully plucked and what is left requires strategy to reach.  My girls can sleep through the night, use the potty, recite their address and phone number, and don’t bite (for the most part).  Considering they are now in middle school, these accomplishments may seem minor.  But trust me, at the time they were considered herculean tasks of extreme parenting.  Little did I know that even more daunting hurdles lay before us.  Now that I have successfully molded their external behaviors, I am left with the frightening task of working on their internal ones.

I have to teach them to be a good person.

Oh Lordy.  This fruit sits so high on the tree.  How do I even begin to reach it?  I thought I was doing well until Jada died.  Reflecting on her life got me thinking that maybe I’ve been aiming for the wrong fruit all along.

The joke in our house is that anything less than an “A” is a fail.  There is no such thing as optional  “extra credit”.  And if a McLaughlin commits to something, there is no quitting half way through when things get tough.  Work hard.  Strive for more than average.  Follow through.  What delicious fruit, right?  Good grade.  Good education.  Good job.  Isn’t that the dream all parents have for their children?  Be someone.  Get out of your small pond and take over the next size up.

And yet.  Is that really true?  Is greatness the answer?  Or is it maybe something much smaller and less flashy? Jada’s pond was tiny.  Our house, the mean streets of Sherwood, and whoever came to visit.  She didn’t really own much.  Two dog beds, a food bowl and a stream of chew toys that never lasted too long.  By conventional standards she was nothing.  Didn’t win a dog show, not certified by the AKC, never had a role on TV where she rescued someone from a well or rampaging cougar.  And yet, she made us whole. You want to lie on the sofa and binge watch Bosch?  Sounds great, I’m in.  Oh hello!  Feeling a bit peckish are we?  Well, let me accompany you to the kitchen and see what we can find.  Are you heading for the door?  Can I come?  Can I?  Can I?

Her accomplishments were much more subtle but, I would argue, just as amazing.  A companion, a happy presence, a partner in crime.  Would her life have been better if she had been “successful”?  If I had entered her in dog shows, driven her to events, groomed her to look perfect?  I doubt it.  Actually, I have no doubt.  I know.  Being a loving presence in our lives was the most powerful thing she could have done.  It was her shining accomplishment.  And if I can raise my girls to be as adventurous, companionable and joyful as she was, then I think I will have done well.  Lets aim for those fruits, shall we?



New Week; New Book

Yet another memoir type book.  Am I on a role or what?  This book, Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory, falls into one of my favorite categories.  The sketch journal.  I love these little peeks into someone’s daily epiphanies and adventures.  These are books to pick up and admire a bit at a time.  Filled with odd thoughts and simple sketches, these books inspire me to keep a simple, scribbled journal of my own full of awful sketches and favorite quotes.   Mr. Gregory’s journal is set in New York and is full of city sketches of utilitarian objects around him.  Not a trained artist but a determined sketcher, this is a sweet little book to pick up and thumb through to inspire your own creative thoughts.

And, to celebrate the start of Spring Break here in Sherwood, I give you a picture of J-Dog in all her glory.  Please note the shaved spot on her leg where she received her IV drip after deciding to eat a rope.  Yup.  A rope.  Don’t worry, after a nice long day at the vet, she emerged right as rain.  For a “free” dog, she sure is good at racking up a vet bill.

Jada The Rope Eater

Worn Out

Man am I tired.

It’s not getting back into the routine after vacation.  It’s not the laundry or cleaning the house.  It’s not that I’m sick or under the weather.  No, the reason I am so worn out is this dog!  Last night I fell asleep at 9pm.  I’m going through multiple cups of coffee each day and still I find myself nodding off to sleep in the afternoon.

The sorry truth is that this dog is kicking my butt.

I walk her in the morning.   I walk her in the early afternoon.  I walk her in the late afternoon.  I walk her at night.  And still she is bouncing all over the place!  How?  How is that possible?  Ok, actually, it isn’t quite that bad.   As I type this she is snuggled up at my feet looking very sweet.  But the only reason she is doing that is because she has gone for THREE walks today at it is still before noon.  I do not think it is possible to tire her out.  She is indestructible.  I, however, am pooped after waddling about for 10 minutes.  These 45 minute power walks are going to be the death of me I know it.   Forget the gym.  If you want to get in shape, come to my house and I will lend you my dog while I lie on the sofa and cat nap.

I guess getting a dog is kind of like kids.  You forget all the tiring early days.  Now that I think about it, I remember having to do this same thing with Artie back when he was an energetic 3 year old.  When Leina was tiny, I would walk him 4 times a day and Kevin took him twice on top of that.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to re-adjust my attitude.  Artie, at age 13, was happy to lie around the house all day and go for one nice leisurely evening stroll.  Jada, at 3, requires a much higher level of care.  Gone are the days of lying about tossing popcorn to my dog.  Ah well, I suppose I could do with getting back into shape but man, it sure is a painful process!

Our Very Own Dog

Christmas was fabulous and our house abounds in Pillow Pets.  Our biggest present came, however, the day after Christmas when Jada was given to us by a friend of Josh.  She’s a 3 year old chocolate lab who was in need of a new family.  We were a family in need of a dog.  Voila!  She is beautiful and the girls adore her.  She is also very very fast so getting a good picture of her has proven difficult.   I have had better luck with video however so here she is.  The newest McLaughlin. Jada.