Tag: Change

Learning To Let Go

“A BIG mess!” – Nikki, age 2

Before starting my new job I had the normal butterflies in my stomach as anyone would at the start of something new. My biggest worry wasn’t about how I was going to transition but how my daughter would be without me by her side during the day.

The Attachment and Fear

When you spend day in and day out with your little one it is natural to be attached to each other. There were days were I yearned for some “me time” and on the rare moments that I would get this time, I would feel incomplete without my toddler attached to my hip (she literally never leaves my side and when she does she is screaming, “Mommy”).  Now many of my immediate family members can attest to this as they have tried to take care of her but as soon as she notices that I have left the room, she starts to cry “Momma.” So you can say that I was really worried on how she was going to adjust without me.

Even though it was my mom who was going to care for her, it didn’t mean that the adjustment would be easy since Nikki hasn’t stayed with her for long periods of time. Now many people have asked me why I haven’t left Nikki with her grandmother and my answer is always the same to everyone who keeps asking. Before my mom retired, she worked full time and I know how hard her job was physically on her. She would get home after 5pm from work and I didn’t have the heart to leave my energetic toddler with my mom who was so exhausted from work. Then on the weekends is when we would designate family time as that was the only time we had with my husband so timing was difficult to find.

But I had to put all fear aside and just jump right in!

The Preparation

Even before getting confirmation of a job offer, I started the preparation. I did this by having conversations with Nikki on what was going to happen once grandma retired. Every day I would tell Nikki that soon Mommy had to go to work to make money for our family. I further explained that while I was at work, she would be with grandma who would be taking really good care of her. Then I would ask her, “Where is mommy going soon?” She would respond with, “Work Momma.” So I knew the message was getting across and thought that this could possibly help with the adjustment to grandma’s house.

The Big Day

The night before the big day, I prepared Nikki’s bag with everything that she may need on her first day. By doing this prep ahead of time made the morning a lot easier to navigate. My morning started at 6:30 AM and of course Nikki was fast asleep. As she enjoyed her beauty sleep, I got her dressed and ready for grandma’s house. She slowly started to wake up as I strapped her into her car seat and I whispered, “Today is the BIG day! Momma is going to work and you are going to have so much fun at grandma’s house.” She smiled and said ok.

I arrived at my mom’s house and a sleepy Nikki came to my lap and hugged me tight. We went inside and as I hugged her good-bye I said that I would be seeing her really soon. As I was about to leave, she grabbed onto me and said, “Love you Momma.” Heart melted at this point. Off I went!

After about eight hours I returned to pick up my little Nikki and as soon as I opened the door she screamed with excitement, “MOMMY!” After that she was stuck on me like glue and made sure I didn’t leave her side (hehe). My mom told me that she did great and had a lot of fun which was such a relief for me to hear. When I asked Nikki what she did at grandma’s house she said, “A BIG mess!” Got to give her points for her honesty!

The First  and Second Week

The first and second week had some bumps along the way where Nikki would cry as she wanted mommy but my mom was so great at distracting her with fun activities that it helped Nikki forget all about me. Nikki survived but my heart didn’t hearing her cry as I left for work. So you can say that Momma Braga had some emotional bumps along the road too. We are slowly learning to adjust and adapt to our new routine. It has been good in the sense that Nikki is adjusting well with grandma and the bumps have been trying to get a routine down that will work for our family.

The changes have disrupted Nikki’s sleep patterns (more than usual as she has always been a horrible sleeper since Day 1) dramatically as her naps have been really late which in turn has made bedtime much later than this working mom wants it to be. But it is what it is and we have to see what plan/routine will work for us. We just have to keep going and adjust as we go along the way.

Overall, I can’t complain as I am very fortunate to have my mom watch over my daughter while I help my family financially.

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The Love’s

I have loved the way my daughter gets excited to see me and the extra tight hugs that I get. I love how my daughter wants to talk on the phone with me. I love the daily reports that I get from my daughter on what she has done that day. I love the “I Love You” that she tells me every day. I love being able to work outside the home and contribute financially to my family.

So all these love’s outweigh the sleepless nights and I remind myself of that when the zombie feeling creeps in. The lesson here is that I learned to let go a little. I was my own obstacle in my fears as clearly my daughter was much more ready then I was. The adjusting is going to take some time and that is perfectly ok. We will continue taking it one day a time and enjoy this new adventure together.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga
2017 Blogger of the Year by The Baby Spot

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A Tearful Good-Bye

Our pets are more than just pets as they become a member of the family. The love and care we feel for them is so very special. They are the ones who are always loyal and by our side when we need them the most. This is how we felt about our cat Lily.

We adopted Lily in 2009 when she was six years of age and she was the sweetest cat you could ever meet. There is a saying that our animals are the ones who pick us and this rings true for us as she is the one who picked us. So when we were faced with her good-bye, it left us heart broken.

Here is our story of how we lost our beloved furbaby, Lily.

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*Warning – specific details have been expressed in this piece that can be emotionally hard to read.

The Beginning

In 2009, we went to visit a facility of adoptions to see if we can find a cat to adopt. When we got there we went into a room with all the available cats that were up for adoption. We went around to see each one of them to see who would be a fit in our family of two (at the time). When my husband arrived at Lily, Lily gave him four kisses. As soon as she did that, my husband turned to me and said, “Ok, she is ours. We are taking her today.” And that is exactly what we did that day. We adopted our new family member, Lily.

Lily came with a past of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The transition to get her comfortable with us took some time and we helped her along the way to trust us. After nine months, she was so comfortable that she slept on my husband’s lap for the very first time and she just got more loving from there.

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When we had our daughter, Nikki, in 2014, Lily became even more loving and friendly. It was amazing to see the bond that Lily created with Nikki and as time passed, the bond grow stronger between them. Nikki ended up having a tag along friend as everywhere she went Lily was close behind.

The Dramatic Change & Diagnosis

Our whole world then shifted with the sudden health changes to Lily. One day we noticed that she was struggling to do her business in the litter box and every time she tried, nothing would come out. Then when she would eat, she would throw up. We knew something was really wrong.

That same day (January 2, 2016), my husband took Lily to the animal emergency hospital to see what was wrong with her. After a five hour wait, it was discovered that Lily had a 3cm cancerous tumor in her intestines and this was causing a backup of her stool. This is why every time she ate she would throw up. Receiving this news was devastating to us as we never expected this to show up so quickly. Lily never showed signs of discomfort until now.

The vet provided us with two options. Option 1 was to do surgery which had high risks attached to it, such as not surviving the surgery and the tumor would return and spread. Option 2 was to put her down.

This was a lot for us to digest in one day so my husband brought her home for us to discuss it further. In the meantime, Lily was given two vaccines that would help with her pain and would prevent her from throwing up. After a lengthy discussion we decided to make an appointment for Lily to see her vet and get a second opinion. This was such a big decision to make that I wanted to make sure we did everything to ensure that putting her down was the right decision. We were fortunate to book an appointment right away which fell on a Monday (January 4, 2016). By this time, we could really see that Lily was getting worse. Her eyes were filled with pain, she lost another 10 ounces since Saturday and threw up even though she had a vaccine to prevent this from happening.

The Final Decision

My husband went in with Lily to see her amazing and kind vet. Once the vet reviewed the x-rays from the hospital and did a full check up on Lily. She turned to my husband and said with tears in her eyes, “There is no saving her.” Lily was getting frail, her bones were weak and she was starving herself to death. The vet further stated that if we decided not to put her down she would only survive another 3 weeks and she could just drop any day in our home. We just couldn’t do that to her. Our vet has known us since we got Lily and she told my husband that she knows that we gave her the very best life full of love and that is all Lily wanted. She further stated that cats are very good at hiding their feelings of pain so there was no way to tell until now. What was happening to Lily was in the inside and it wasn’t on the surface for us to see. With great pain, we decided the best thing for her was to put her down.

Tearful Goodbye

Since Lily was a rescued and abused cat, who had been abandoned a couple of times in her life. I told my husband it would be comforting for him to stay with her to the end. I told him that I would hate for Lily to think that we abandoned her. I wanted her to know that we never left her and loved her so much until the very end. My husband found the strength to stay with her as I knew I just couldn’t (just writing this has me in complete tears).

The vet prepared the needle that would put Lily to rest. She gave Lily the needle and to everyone’s astonishment, Lily got up and walked towards my husband. The vet has only seen this happen one other time in her 26 years as a vet. So she turned to my husband and said, “You have to tell her that it is time to go. She doesn’t want to leave you so you have to tell her that it’s ok.” As painful as it was for my loving husband, he turned to Lily and said, “Sweet Lily, it’s time for you to go. We don’t want you to suffer and it’s ok to go.” The vet said that Lily looked at peace now and she gave her the second needle while in my husband’s arms. Lily looked up at him and gave him those same four kisses that she gave him when we first adopted her. After the last lick, she peacefully went. And that was the end of her suffering and the start of her legacy.

The Grieving

It has been a difficult process and we went through the grieving cycle such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What has helped us the most, has been the amazing love and support from our family and friends. Just talking (writing) and crying about our loss has been very therapeutic to us as well.

Luckily, our daughter is really young to comprehend or feel the loss. But we did talk to her about it in the simplest terms. The day we said good-bye to Lily, we told our daughter that Lily was going bye-bye to heaven and our daughter went to Lily and said “bye-bye” and gave her kisses. As I watch her do this, all I could do was weep but I knew it was important for our daughter to say good-bye.

In honour of Lily’s memory we had the very first blanket our daughter was wrapped in from the hospital (which became Lily’s favourite blanket) and a cat sleeper transformed into a keepsake teddy bear by Plush Memories. This was a beautiful way to celebrate her life and have something to hug when we missed her. It has been a great tool in helping us grieve.

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Lily’s Legacy

Another way we coped with the grief was by creating a fundraising campaign that we called, Lily’s Legacy. Money raised by our campaign was going to help other animals like Lily who need that second chance at a forever home. We picked a local organization and I am proud to say that we raised $835 in memory of Lily. The money raised has already made a difference in the lives of our furry friends.

We didn’t want to remember the abrupt ending but we wanted this campaign to continue the memory of Lily’s life and sweetness by helping others, the way she did for us.

The Paw Print Left

The loss of a beloved furry family member is hard on everyone and Lily’s loss will be felt for a long time. But she has left a forever lasting paw print on our hearts. To this day our daughter screams with excitement when she sees a picture of Lily. When we say that Lily has gone to heaven, she still responds with “bye-bye” and blows a kiss into the air. Because of Lily, our daughter will always have a special place for animals in her heart.

Lily was such a friendly and sweet cat who always greeted our guests and I know they have all felt her loss as well. Lily has definitely left her mark with many here in this world and we are so lucky to have had her.

Thank You Lily

As I write this piece, my heart is filled with array of emotions and now as I come to the end, it is filled with so much thankfulness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to have had Lily in our lives. Thankful for the unconditional love that she provided and taught us. Thankful for her loyal nature to our family. Thankful for the pure joy that she gave us. Thankful for the love, patience and kindness she always showcased to our daughter. Thankful for trusting us to hold her paw until the very end.

We could not have asked for a better and sweet family member. To that we say, thank you Lily! Rest in peace our sweet girl and know that we will always love you.

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– Momma Braga

 

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