Joshua loved his first day of kindergarten.

For Josh's first day, he woke up before the alarm, got fully dressed and wanted to go before it was even 7am. We explained that it was too early and he needed to wait. After I took Elliot to dayschool as usual, Rusty and I walked with Josh to school. The closer we got, the faster he walked until he sprinted ahead. When the doors opened, he was the very first kid to walk down the kindergarten hallway near the entrance. I was doing great until he gave me a good-bye hug and a kiss. Then I got teary and had to walk out quickly. We eventually found other parents gathered in the library chatting, eating doughnut holes, and drinking OJ and coffee. Most of the parents were neighbors. After all that, Rusty & I walked home together.

Joshua was so excited at the end of the day, he wore his backpack at home until we convinced him to take it off for dinner.

In other news, we decided that we're not ready to give up on Samson yet. Instead we're going to wait a couple of weeks to give him more time to either naturally recover, or further degrade before we put him down. He's showing signs of betterment although he's not healthy. Below is Samson enjoying some canned chicken.

Supplies- check!
Backpack- check!
Haircut- check!
New shoes- check!
Eagerness to start- double check!!

Yes, Joshua has been looking forward to starting kindergarten since May. We met his teacher and checked out the room on Friday. His best-friend Dylan will also be in his room and they will share a locker together. Luckily, thy won't be at the same table otherwise they would no-doubt be constantly distracted. His teacher is young but not fresh-out-of-college so I'm assured he'll get a good start.

So here's the morning drill: get up and dressed asap, take Elliot to dayschool as normal, rush back then walk with Josh (and Rusty) to school. Get him in the class, say our good-byes then head to the school cafeteria for coffee, donuts and commiseration with other parents. Walk home with Rusty and enjoy the rest of the day to its fullest. When school lets out we'll meet him at the playground and walk home together. Rusty intends to walk with Josh for the first couple of weeks, at least in the mornings.

I remember walking to school for kindergarten. I believe this is where my love of walking started. I remember passing the around-the-corner neighbor's house with labeled plants, the old lady's house that had a garden of flowers and cotton, the house with a ton of trees in the front yard, the shops at the intersection one block from school, and the huge trees that lined the school yard. I remember playing in front of the house before the school opened, running down a hill after school (and getting in trouble for doing it), for following a group of kids trying to friend them despite their disinterest in hooking up with a pee-wee of a kindergartner. I remember fresh cool air, racing to see if I was faster than the other day, and daring to turn one street early and cutting over on another street. I don't know what adventures Joshua will have on his walks. But I'm glad he'll have the same walking-to-school types of memories as I had. Hopefully these will shape him in some positive way.

Taken last week during a brief rain.

I was doing great today until I returned a call from the vet's office.

Three weeks ago near end of July I realized Samson was missing. He normally sleeps with us at night and follows me to the bathroom in the morning. But on July 29th I realized he had been missing. For at least a day. I didn't think too much of it. "He's probably been outside all night." I told Rusty to keep an eye out as I left for work. Later, Rusty called to say he found Samson in the house. In Rusty style, he bathed our cats (He had planned to do it anyway) and realized something was really wrong. Samson was lethargic, complacent and lanky. His kitty eyes were sunken in. He was bone thin. He was so weak he couldn't walk more than a few steps. He had found a quiet corner in the house to lie quietly and die.

Well, until Rusty found him and bathed him in the kitchen sink.

The next day we (eh, Rusty) took him to the vet. Samson's organs were shutting down. His kidney was shrunk, his pancreas smaller, body temp was cold, he was anemic, and dehydrated. He hadn't eaten or drank in probably days. He was put on pain kilers, antibiotics, electrolytes, an IV and monitored for two days. He seemed to be doing ok. We cared for him at home giving him medicine daily.

Until the second blood work reported that all the treatments- medication, electrolytes, IV- weren't showing any real improvement. His kidneys aren't responding, he's still anemic, his red blood cell count is low, and he's still not gaining weight. He's basically one illness away from death. He can't get up onto a chair, he has to be picked up. He can go up and down the stairs but not quickly.

After this prognosis, the vet and I agreed he was never going to fully recover. We don't know exactly what has caused all this. Poisoned plant? Cancer? Rather than subject him to unpleasant medication for the rest of his life and constant vet bills, rather than spending his days under daily care and close supervision, rather than have him in pain and limited in his abilities, it's better to just say good-bye.

So on Tuesday morning, we'll take him to the vet one last time.

What to do with the remains is undecided. Part of me wants to let the kids bury him as a rite of passage in facing death. But then again, maybe that will be more complicated than I'm prepared to take on.

Slices of Life

Josh: I can jump-rope. Watch this. -he tries a few times getting his rope caught on his feet-
Girl (about 8 years old): Can I try it? -girl jump-ropes fast, then on one foot, then cross arm, then skipping, then dancing, then backwards, then 2 rotations with one jump-
Josh: Wow. I can run really fast. Watch this. -runs off to playground-

Elliot: Mom! Mom! Mom! I can turn off the bathroom light!
Me: Really?? Show me how you do this. (I'm genuinely baffled)
Elliot: Ok! -stands on toilet seat then reaches over to switch off the light- See?
Me: You are so smart to figure that out!
Elliot: Yeah!

Elliot: -ignores brother-
Elliot: -ignores brother-
Josh: Mom! Elliot won't do what I tell him to do!
Me: Work it out. Better yet, do something without your brother.
Elliot: I want to be with Josh.

Me: Are you my big boy?
grumpy Elliot: No. Yes I am!



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