Today marks the first day of my freedom….for approximately 30 days to come. Yesterday morning I submitted my final paper for MNGT 681 – Strategic and International Management, class number eight of 10 and the capstone of my MBA program. The past seven weeks have been challenging to say the least. 30+ hours of course work, 40+ hours of “work” work, and of course, family. I have been tired, stressed, stretched to my limit (and my very supportive, amazing, sweet husband has too). But life keeps on going, even when you take on too much. Life moves on, ready or not…as mine certainly did.
In the past seven weeks, we lost Jace’s most beloved pet hamster, Butterscotch. On a rare night alone, my husband and I decided to go out for a little wine and dinner. On our way home my husband mentioned he forgot that he had let our pet cat, Molly, inside the house. You see, Molly was once an inside cat, but after my daughter’s cat allergies arose, and exasperated by Molly’s awful temperament and propensity to pee on our bed when she wasn’t pleased with us, Molly become an outside cat. So, Phil had let Molly in for old time’s sake and forgot to put her out when we left for dinner. Arriving home, I bolted for the restroom, which tends to happen after a few glasses of wine. From upon the porcelain throne, I hear my husband mutter, “OH MY GODDDD.” From the restroom I shouted, “What???!!” To which he returned, “It’s the worst possible thing you could imagine.” There, left lovingly by my husband’s bedside as a sweet little gift, was Butterscotch, dead. Molly was prancing around the house as though she was really something fantastic. I’m not sure if it was the wine or the thought of telling Jace that Butterscotch was no more, but that night I sat in the kitchen and cried for a while. Jace took it well, and much to my own amazement, in place of Butterscotch, we now have two hamsters, because little sister needed a hamster too. Our family continues to grow, fuzzy as it may be, Phil, Melissa, Jace, Jera, Rusty (dog), Molly (cat), Oreo (hamster) and Angel (hamster) keep on moving forward.
In other news, my oldest son, Jace, turned nine years old this week. As absolutely crazy as it seems that I can have a nine-year old (yes, that is half way to 18), in the same breath it seems so right. When I look at my son today, I see a boy, not the baby and toddler that I used to see. I see someone with his own thoughts and opinions, someone who is considerate and kind, someone who is quirky in the best way. I see someone who is gaining an understanding of this world, both its beauty and its cruelty. He isn’t the same tiny boy he used to be, which in moments makes me sad, but also so proud. I couldn’t be prouder of the young man he is growing into. Time keeps moving forward.
Now Christmas in the Hafele house has begun. The tree is up, the presents are bought (mostly), the month is filled with Christmas-fun plans. The elves are back….and they’ve multiplied. We first began with Zart, the original Elf on the Shelf. Then in year three, Zart went missing. We then brought in Millie and Willie, one for Jace and one for Jera, of course. Then in year four, Zart turned back up and we had Zart, Willie and Millie. Ater my grandma passed away recently, the kids wanted Great-Grandma’s elves to remember her by, so three more elves came to live with us. Today we have six, you read that right, SIX elves to stash around the house. Thankfully, I let Jace in on the little secret this year, and he has had a blast helping us to hide the elves for Jera. As much as I thought it would be sad to tell him the truth about the Elves on Shelf, he has genuinely enjoyed being the giver of joy this year. Another sign of what a special boy he is. And every once in a while, Zart hides somewhere special for Jace to find….just for old time’s sake.
My next class begins January 8th, and I plan to enjoy each and every second until then. And then, when I’m back to the 70+ hour work weeks, I will try to enjoy every moment then too. I look back at the last seven weeks, look back over the past year and a half in the MBA Program, back at the last 10+ years of working full-time, at the past 15 years of my relationship with my husband…I think back to the time of my childhood, of my parents and all of the love we shared, to my siblings and cousins and all of the laughs…I look back and I’m in awe. I’m in awe to be where I am today with so many blessings. I’m in awe that so much time has passed and at times it feels like it’s only been an instant. I’m brought back to my Pastor’s sermon from last week where she recited the poem “The Dash”….if you haven’t read it, the poem talks about how a headstone marks the date of birth and the date of death, but those dates really aren’t important at all. What is important, what really matters is the ‘dash’. What are we going to do with our dash? How will we spend it? I hope to make the most of my dash. That is what I strive for every day. I hope you do too.
Happy holidays and a merry Christmas to all of my readers. I pray that you are filled with the sacred spirit of this season and that your dash is everything that you were created to be.