These past two years have been some of the toughest of my life so far - filled with long struggles and hard falls as well as, if I allow myself a bit of dramatic exposition, gut-wrenching heartbreaks and some personal tragedies too. Through it all, so many times, these two sweet souls have been the bright light in my life, the reason to keep going and sometimes even smile at the end of a tough, long day, week, or month. The amount of love that I can feel now has grown into proportions I never knew existed.
I could spend this entire post in clichés, and I actually might because now I understand how true they are. Even though I don't have any kids of my own just yet, I feel like this whole experience of adding Toby and Mikka into my life has been so much like what I've heard, read, or witnessed new mothers experience with their babies.
I knew I was in trouble the first week we brought each of them home. Since I was still job-hunting back then, I was the one spending the entire day with them, mostly by myself. They knew from the very beginning - don't all kids?! - how to drive me crazy with unlimited amounts of energy and a sense of curiosity that knows no boundaries, only to make me forget about it in a second when they fell asleep and cuddled next to me in the most adorable ways. I will never forget how crazy good it felt when Toby would fall asleep with his head on my feet after a marathon session of being a little menace, or that time Mikka laid next to me, in my bed, with her head resting on my arm and we took the most glorious 2-hour morning nap together before really waking up for the day. I don't have pictures of any of these instances, but they are so well-imprinted in my memory that it almost makes them even more special.
Now that I am working, I also feel like I am starting to grasp what the "mom guilt" is all about when I have to leave them for the entire day, especially knowing how long it will be before I come back home again. It breaks my heart a little every morning when Toby tries to grab my hand as I walk down the stairs to the front door, or when Mikka gives a long look to our car backing out of the driveway, perched on top of the living room or bedroom window. And it doesn't help when at night, once I am finally home again, I don't have enough energy left to play with them or give them the attention they need and so deserve after being the best pets and doing nothing but napping all day.
And the worst thing about it all, the one that I hear all mothers lament about?! It's without a doubt the feeling that, in what feels like the blink of an eye, they've turned from two tiny little furballs that I could cuddle with all day, into the full-sized and much more independent cat and dog they are now. I get a little sad just looking at the few pictures I managed to get when they were little and I wish I could still squeeze those tiny, wide-eyed bodies now. But then I squeeze their much larger bodies, and play with them and laugh at all their antics. And then it's all ok because I know that even in their old age, many years from now, to me they'll still be the same two little furballs who've changed my life for the better - the so-much-better, to be precise.
This is all just to say how grateful I am for my darling Toby and Mikka, and how happy I am with the choice my family and I made back in March 2013 to bring them both into our lives.