It’s been a month since my last post, and I apologize once again to those I haven’t replied to. I truly thought that I would have the weekend after that last post to get my running done, and then would make the time, but as my luck would have it, time ran out. Lil Girl decided during my dinner, Sunday, August 19th, that it was a good time to have some puppies; it’s been go, go, go around here since. Who knew that a litter of puppies could be so much work!
Birthing went easier than I anticipated for our first-time mom, but there were a couple of obstacles we had to face that we didn’t expect. She showed little signs of being in labor before she dumped the first one on our floor and ran away. I had to cut the little darling out of its sack, and rush it and the ‘contents’ into her kennel with her. We also found out quickly that our large kennel was not going to accommodate her as we thought it would, when the litter kept getting bigger and bigger over the next several hours. There was also a couple of pups that weren’t breathing when they were born—one right after the other—that the Old Man and I had to work frantically with to keep alive at first. And then there was the unexpected gush of tears I experienced when I realized we had thirteen Labrador pups, and I had no idea how I was going to care for that many. Like most surprises in life though, you just learn to adapt.
I didn’t sleep for a week. Just a slight exaggeration there, mind you. The Old Man had to go back out of town to work the morning after they were born, so it was left to me to mind them. It wouldn’t have been such a problem, but the two little ones that we almost lost when they were born weren’t eating, so panicked by the thought of losing them I had to feed them myself. The mother had literally left one by itself to die, and I found it cold and barely breathing. Thus began the ritual of making a homemade formula and feeding puppies with a syringe every two hours. I referred to these as my two pee-wee’s. I named them Huff and Puff, cause they made me incredibly tired that first week.
Huff and Puff survived, as they all have. It has been round the clock for me cooking special food for mom so that she will lactate more, washing old sheets and blankets every day so that my babies are always lying on clean bedding, and tending to their every cry. Yes, I know I shouldn’t…BAD GRANDMA!…BAD GRANDMA!…but I spoil them horribly. We had to move them from the kennel into something bigger—as mom was having difficulty maneuvering once they started to crawl around—so Kristy found us a hard, plastic toddler pool. I had them tucked away in my large kitchen, but couldn’t stand it cause I couldn’t look at them, so the pool ended up in the living room with us. Yes, it was a big eyesore, but eh…who cares. And don’t laugh…these truly are MY babies.
As you can imagine, the pool ‘idea’ was only a temporary fix, and the little monsters started crawling out of it as soon as they got their footing and began walking. This became a nightmare, because the only time they were good was when they were sleepy after being fed, and I knew the moment they woke up I would have critters all over my living room. I got to the point that I was waking up all hours of the night, because my inner-ear was tuned to every little sound they made. This past weekend we were fortunate to find a weaning box online that someone had made, and the Old Man rushed out to purchase it. The little heathens are now back in the kitchen in it, and thus begins ‘stage two’ of my puppy saga: Weaning. Ugh! Use your imagination if you can, and just consider what kind of a mess thirteen puppies can make wallowing in a pan of liquefied puppy food. And this whole concept of ‘the bitch cleans them up after’ is a crock of shit. The only bitch that is cleaning up after them is ME! To say that Lil Girl is sick of her responsibilities at this point is an understatement. Unfortunately, the first couple of ‘feedings’ didn’t go as well as I’d hoped—though I did everything right according to what I read—and ended up with thirteen little darlings puking and having diarrhea. Now we’re just going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At this rate they’ll be weaned and ready for their forever homes at the age of six months!
Tired as I am, I did get a chance to venture out a bit in the last month, and went out with Kristy for a while weekend before last. I don’t think I was very good company though. I can’t hold my liquor the way I used to, tire easily over the least bit of excitement, and have to admit way before the night ended I was imagining myself on the sofa in flannel pajamas, eating popcorn, while watching cable. Yeah, I know…wild and crazy woman living on the edge, huh?
I did get some really good news last week though; I finally got the call saying that we could pick Jud up, because there was a bed available at the halfway house. The Old Man took time off from work and we went to fetch him Tuesday morning. You can’t begin to imagine my joy, as I stood outside waiting for them to finish the paperwork and release him. Camera in hand I made ready for him to walk through the doors–ignoring the Old Man’s remarks that he doubted this was something that Jud would want documented, and asked what I planned to do…put it in his baby book? Yes, I got a few photos of the happy event, and never has it felt so wonderful to hold my son, as it did after having to deal with supervised visits with him for so long. And I guess I didn’t realize the magnitude of emotion that accompanies being locked up for two years and finally being released and free to ride away with family, till I looked at his face as we were pulling out of the institution parking lot. My son is a man’s man who doesn’t tear up easily, but the redness around his eyes let me know they weren’t far from flowing.
I wish I could say that we were able to whisk him away and home, but alas, that wasn’t the case. We were given but two hours to get him to the halfway house in the city, which didn’t allow us much time to visit other than the car ride. I did make sure, however, that we stopped at my youngest son’s apartment that he shares with his friends, so Jud could give his brother a hug before we finished the last leg of the trip. We caught Markie off guard—as he was still in bed—but it was a happy reunion, nonetheless. Sadly, we didn’t have time to venture to my daughter’s house, but hopefully are planning a bit of a reunion as soon as Jud is able to furlough home for a weekend.
I sit here today feeling nothing but overwhelming gratitude. I’m trying hard to focus on the things I have, and less on the things that I don’t. Six months ago my son was in prison and we weren’t sure if he would be getting paroled or not, I felt backed in a corner financially and was unsure how I would be able to pay the fines to get my license back, and today I have my license and can drive and my boy is transitioning towards his freedom in a halfway house. Baby steps in my life maybe, but still progress; for this I’m more than thankful.