Sunday, August 20, 2017

Coming Back Home

I don't remember the last time I came home and spent a full weekend with just my mom and myself. The chance doesn't come up often; with my roommate and boyfriend both wanting to do things, usually I stick around my apartment and be social as most mid 20-somethings do. This past weekend however, my roommate was out of town with his girlfriend and my boyfriend was back home in New York with his family. So, I decided to say fuck it, I'm going home. My real home.

Going back to my childhood house is a different experience now compared to even it was during college. Going home felt like a chore to me for a long time. I was too busy having fun with friends, drinking out in the city, or just enjoying something new than to be bothered with trekking back into the familiar and boring suburbs. This time it was different. This time I cleared my schedule and just enjoyed being in the company of family, familiar surroundings, and not having to worry about "what's next?" or "What do you want to do tonight?"

Work the past few weeks has been killing me. I had 10+ hour days most of this last week and the same the week before. Every weekend has been so busy entertaining people in town or throwing parties for friends that I haven't been able to just relax, read, or even sleep soundly. Coming home was my escape, and for the first time in weeks, I actually feel relaxed. I woke up Saturday and made coffee and watched the news. I helped my mom on her Costco run. We cleaned together and enjoyed dinner and catching up. This afternoon I went to my favorite cafe and just read a book for over an hour. It was so nice I felt like I was committing a sin. This whole weekend reminded me of how things used to be, before I had to balance work, maintaining a relationship, and a social life that requires constant travel to and from the city. 

It may sound like I'm long for the past, and to an extent, that is true. I think everyone to some extent wishes they could reclaim a time when adult responsibility and earning a paycheck didn't dictate many of your actions. That being said, this weekend made me remember that I always will have somewhere I can turn and escape if I ever need to. I will never be turned down or away from coming back and just spending some time with my family. Heck, I'm sure my mom would love for me to spend even more weekends with her. This weekend also reminds me it's not just okay to get away, but also something that I should do rather than feel awkward about doing. 

I'm writing this post on the same couch and probably the same spot when I first conceived of this blog over 8 years ago. This morning I woke up in the same bed, in the same room, which bears the same decorations just as I left it when I went to college almost 7 years ago now. It's unnerving to think how much I and the world has changed these past years, yet so comforting that some things will remain so steady.

All the best,


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Goodbye Old Friend

I lost one of my best friends this weekend. He and I knew each other for nearly 13 years. He saw me through some of the happiest and tragic moments in my life. His name was Max and he was my dog.

We adopted Max when he was 3 years old from a local shelter here in the DC area. His previous owner had to move and could not bring him so we was put up for adoption. At that time, I had been wanting to get a dog for months. My parents and I had visited multiple shelters, saw many dogs, but had not adopted one yet. I still remember seeing him for the first time. He was in his own run and followed me wherever I was in front of his space. He had an adorable split face - half brown, half white with some light brown and black spots on his hind legs and a black tip on the white side of his face. A man who I assumed worked at the kennel said "He's a bad dog" for reasons unknown but at the point, I know which dog I wanted to give a forever home. We ended up taking Max home the next day, and for the record, that man was wrong.

A funny story was that the moment we got Max home, he bolted out of the car and immediately started running away. I think he thought it was a game, or maybe it was a test to see if we truly were ready to take him into our family. We chased him around the neighborhood for 15 minutes until a man in a truck distracted him long enough for us to catch him. A great start to out relationship, eh?

Over the following years, Max became a part of my family. He was the only dog in the entire family and everyone came to love Max and Max came to love everyone else.

 Max became my best friend from the moment we brought him home. He was mischievous, clever, and had an energy in him that stuck around well until his late adulthood. He always found a way to sneak food off a table, jump on to his favorite perch on the couch, or run upstairs and hide under beds. He knew he wasn't supposed to, but he never turned down a challenge. His energy also translated to his love of games. He was always down for fetch, tug-o-war, or his favorite - playing with his basketball. He would run around pushing it with his body and flip it around on the lawn, staining himself bright green in the process. His energy seemed limitless at times.

He saw me through countless key moment in my life. He was there always willing to listen to me talk when I was too afraid to tell something even to my closest friends. He looked at me with the cute brown eyes and never judged me over the silliest or serious of topics. He was there to help see me through when I came out, 3 graduations, meeting my first boyfriend, and the passings of some of my closest family members. Whenever I needed someone to talk things through with, he was ready to listen to my worries, my excitement, and my stories.

Max lived a good life and saw more of the world than many people do. He traveled all around the DC area and to Florida where he ran around on the beaches and plodded through the Atlantic surf. He went to lakes and parks and loved meeting other dogs wherever we went. He always loved car rides and would perch himself on the center arm rest so he could look out the windshield.

As he got older, he naturally slowed down. His brown spots on his hind legs faded away as he started to go white and he was more and more content with napping in the warm sunlight and cuddling on the couch than the constant running of his more youthful days, but he was still the same loving him. We would chat and he would listen as attentively as always. His brown eyes would always watch whatever I'd do with the clarity and sparkle present since the first day we brought him home. Eventually he went deaf and over time, his voracious appetite also started to decline. Dementia also started creeping in around the time he hit his mid-teens. Things progressed as he approached 16 and his health was declining quicker and quicker. He soon couldn't comfortably walk and he started having stomach issues and sensitivity.

After a series of events and incidents, my mom and I had a talk about Max's future. Max was part of our family and his happiness and comfort was our #1 concern. We knew he wasn't comfortable and he longer loved the things he loved his entire life. It was one of the hardest decisions I had ever had to make and I cried longer and harder than I had for years prior. I was going to be saying goodbye to my best friend and I didn't want to do that. We had to do what was best for him, even if that meant putting us through pain. Max was put to sleep yesterday, Saturday a little before 3pm.

I'm going to miss you, Max. I love you and I hope you're in a better place where you can play, eat, and have the time of your life forever. You're a good boy.