From the series: Life on Dog Hill

Cutest little Shi-Tzu ever!

Cutest little Shi-Tzu ever!

Life on Dog Hill is never slow or quiet but the past seven days evidenced the culmination of lots of things at the same time — funny how that works.

In the last week, my youngest son graduated from elementary school; my twin sons graduated from high school; I entertained family who came into town for the special occasions; I fostered and placed the cutest little five pound Shi-Tzu ever; I provided emergency care to one of our hens that was attacked in the middle of the night by a raccoon or opossum; and I attended a two-day parent orientation at Appalachian State University at the same time one of my sons attended the student orientation to learn about his new home for the next four years.

Needless to say, the last week has been a little emotional for me and I didn’t even mention PMS… oops, just did.

IMG_1680Tears welled my eyes when I watched Ryan proudly march into his elementary school graduation. Wasn’t it just yesterday that he started kindergarten down the hall?

Tears streamed as I listened one of Ryan’s classmates describe how a brain aneurism changed his life and taught him the importance of community. Yes, elementary graduations have class speakers and these kids are impressive beyond belief. Mature, self-composed, articulate — all the things that took me well into my adult years to experience with any level of confidence.

I hid in the garage and choked back tears after my lovable Sadie rode away with her new momma, proudly standing in her lap and looking out the window, tongue hanging out beneath her smushed little pug face. It was the first time I had ever successfully fostered a dog (all the others ended up as family). My son Serg brought her into our life and though we resisted, how could I not be proud of the fact that he demonstrated care and concern for a displaced animal? After all, Serg was following in my animal rescue footsteps!

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Serg (left) and Alex with their proud Grandma, Joyce Bishop

Lately tears frequently find their way into my eyes whenever I think about my twin sons, Serg and Alex. After all, I adopted them when they were six years old from the other side of the world. Most mommas have 18 years with their children before the time to send them out into the world. I’ve only had 12 so I feel a little unprepared. But they are ready, the young men that they are. They are excited for the future ahead of them and so am I. Just as they worked hard to set and achieve academic and athletic goals in middle school and high school, they’ll do the same for college. The future is bright, a beacon of light for whatever they dare to dream. I hope their dreams are big. I hope their dreams are audacious. I hope their dreams represent the best of who they are and who they intend to become as they experience life.

Yes, the last week on Dog Hill has been a little crazy, but that’s typical for the Hill. The twins misplacing one of their graduation caps and tassels and then fighting over the one they could find when they were already running late for the ceremony. Typical. Jumping out of bed at one o’clock in the morning and calling for the dogs to rush the chicken house to chase off whatever caused the scream of the hens (if you’ve ever heard a hen scream, you know what I’m talking about). Not the first time, probably not the last either. Throwing things into bags at four o’clock in the morning as I’m heading out on a trip because I didn’t have time to pack until the moment of departure. Sigh…

Although these moments are stressful, I try to relish them. After all, it won’t be long until Dog Hill is slow and quiet. When the last of our seven children moves on and Tom and I are left with a big house on the Hill, a dog or two, and one hen (if we’re lucky) to lay our breakfast. All that we’ll hear is the breeze through the trees, water rushing from the stream, the frogs croaking, birds singing, crickets chirping. Actually, that doesn’t sound bad… so, why are there tears in my eyes?

Sheila Callaham is an author, motivational speaker and success coach. She lives and writes in Chapel Hill, NC.

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