There are 4 things I hate in this world:

  • Animal abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Burning the roof of my mouth
  • Saying goodbye

Our dream is getting closer each day, but the reality of being away from our loved ones has reached a heightened awareness. At the ages of 31 & 33 we’ve never been more than few city blocks (in some cases, literally 1 block) from our immediate family. When your family is so tight knitted in personality as well as geographically you become more than just family, you also become friends.

I lack the eloquence and vocabulary to properly describe the feelings of missing our loved ones so I’m not even going to try. Let’s just say that it will be a lot… and stuff. With supporting themes and beautifully placed adjectives that talk about that stuff with things.

Beyond this, there is still one thing that I can’t seem to come to terms with no matter how hard I try, so excuse me while I think out loud and attempt to work through this…

The thing I’m struggling with the most are my loves that I feel are the most vulnerable. Namely, my pup Ninja and my nephew Eliott. Small and precious as they are, the part that hurts the most is that they can’t comprehend why their pack leaders or “Aunteeee n’ Uncle Nonah” just aren’t there anymore. This fact has tugged on my heart strings more than anything ever has so far. I knew following this dream would be hard, I knew that finally saying yes to my nomadic spirit would come with sacrifices but I’ll admit that as the days count-down and the grey on Ninja’s nose grow more noticeable and the baby curls in Eliott’s hair fall out this has been trickier than I thought. I knew this part was coming up logically, but I was not prepared for the emotional weight it really carried… and damn it’s heavy.

 Nickname #138: Raspoopin. (Ninja, 2006)

But, I have to believe that in order to grow and be a better aunt, daughter, sister, wife and Lynn that changes need to happen. I do believe. I also need to remind  myself that in the case of Ninja that I might be projecting my human emotions onto him and  that’s not fair to him or me.

But I worry: “Will they be sad?, Will they forget me? Will they be OK?!?!!”

I have to stop myself before I spiral into infinite sadness and curl up crying on the floor. That’s not a good look on anyone and besides, there are answers to my questions and very good ones at that. I have to get real, so here are the facts:

Dogs and little kids are renowned the world over for their resilience to accept change so out of any group to worry about, I choose the ones that need my pity the least. They’ll be just fine because it’s not like they’re out there foraging in the woods for their own supper. They’re healthy, happy, loved and fed and more importantly, they’re with people I trust.

Ninja & Boomer: Waiting for their kids at the bus-stop.

In the case of Ninja, we officially gave our baby beagle over to a wonderful family on September 12th. An incredibly sweet woman named Barbara contacted me via Facebook after seeing the video we posted that showcased Ninja’s hilarious personality (seen here). After seeing her profile picture Noah said, “she has the face of an angel!” Prior to this, we’ve never met her so we scheduled a meet and greet later that week with Barbara, husband Chris, their adorable children Aiden, Nicholas and Lucy along with their other beagle Boomer and cat Whiskers. They were everything we prayed for and so much more! After about an hour of watching the kids run around with the beagles Barbara said smiling, “Well, I think Ninja would be a great addition to our home!” and as I saw Ninja zip across the lawn with Boomer at his side…it hit me. Noah and I have finally reached the threshold. This was the final exam we’ve studied for and here was the last question on the test: If we truly were serious about answering this call, could we really let our baby go? The scene in front of me moved in slow motion and I started to sweat.

I thought of the day we brought Ninja home, the moment Noah scooped up his little body and Ninja licked his face and wagged his tiny tail (we call it his paintbrush).

My boys.

I thought about his first howl after hearing a siren on TV and how adorable we thought it was since he put his whole body into it.

I thought about the times he sat on the floor at the edge our bed and gave a little whimper when he wanted to get up and sleep IN the covers with us.

I thought about the warmth of his body and the sounds of his snores when he cuddles with me…

I thought about our special “Camp Family Trail” we’ve all walked together for 7 years and how happy I felt being with my boys.

I thought about our summer evening ritual where we would sit on the stoop in the backyard and he’d just lean against me and close his eyes as we watched the sun go down.

I thought about the day Noah got a new job in the Computer Science field and had the same work schedule as me for the first time. I thought about how we had to start leaving Ninja home alone for 10 hours a day now.

I thought about how Ninja would howl and run for the door whenever he heard Noah pull the parking brake on his car.

I thought about the look Ninja gave us as we changed out of our work clothes only to walk out the door again and run errands or go grocery shopping.

I thought about how at 7, Ninja is still so playful and would bring us his ball to play but we were just so mentally drained from work that we’d just take him on a guilt walk around the neighborhood instead.

I fell back down to earth and looked around at this incredible family and my happy beagle. In an instant, Ninja would be gaining an entire family of 7 and would have 24-7 attention. With them, he’d have new smells and new adventures and his days of being home alone would be a thing of the past. I knew what we were doing was the right thing for Ninja and we love him enough to know that even if we never had this calling, Ninja’s life with us would not be as full as it is with them. He deserved better… And so we let him go.

I’d be lying if I said this transition has been easy. Far from it in fact. Now that the squeaky toys in the yard are silent and the echo in our house becomes louder I realize now that it was Ninja that made our house a home. I’m ready now more than ever to leave our place because everything I do is just a reminder of him. I miss him terribly. But, I realize I don’t have the luxury to be too upset, because I did this. I made this happen and I have to suck it up and remember that love, true love is letting my happiness for him trump my own ego and hurt. We will survive, but Ninja will thrive. This is truly the end of an era, but a new beginning for us all. 

To Ninja’s new family: From the very bottom our our hearts we thank you. Thank you for opening up your home and hearts to Ninja. You have made our dream possible because we’d never leave without finding him a suitable home first. Thank you for giving Ninja a chance and giving us that peace of mind to move forward. You are literally our dream-makers and for that we’re eternally grateful.

Ninja: We’ll love you forever and always. Thank you for enriching our world. Good boy.

In the case of my nephew Eliott, what more can I say other than he’s with my super-woman sister and incredible parents. They’re so amazing with Eliott and he’s the most confident little boy I’ve ever known. His heart is so full and loving and it beams out from his gorgeous blue eyes. I will physically miss a few of his birthday’s but I give him my solemn electronic oath that when Eliott turns 16, me and Uncle Nonah will take him anywhere in the world he wants to go. When he’s old enough to read this he can start researching and dreaming.  I could just open him up a CD account or contribute to a college fund, but I’ve decided that I’m not that kind of Aunt and that’s not going to be my style.

I choose you!

Besides, in my attempt to be more Eliott-like I have to ask “W.W.E.D?” and he’d choose adventure over comfort every time. At 2 ½ he’s pure of spirit and heart and it’s my quest to capture, then bottle some of that again. I know Eliott would be proud of me someday so for him I have to keep moving forward…

We’ll take you anywhere you want to go! Pinky Promise.

*breathe* I can do this. My loves are protected and safe and I have to let go for now… The world doesn’t revolve around me and Noah and time won’t stop while we’re gone. Ninja will cuddle up with his new little human Lulu (Lucy) and Eliott will continue to build lego castles with his grandma. 

Eliott and Ninja on the move… no, too much move!

Through the loss we know there will be gain. Saying goodbye to Ninja has lit a serious fire under our asses and emphasizes even more how much we have to use the time we’re given on this journey to do something truly great. To attempt to give back what was given to us and not squander this incredible opportunity.

I’m not good at this sort of thing and my vision is officially blurry but I will end it with saying that we’re grateful. Grateful to all our friends (old and new) and family for all your love and continued support. We couldn’t do this without you.

Thank you… and stuff. xoxo