Maggie Mae has been with us for 5 and a half years now. It's hard to believe how quickly time has flown by with her in our lives (and it's hard to believe all of the milestones she has been through with us). And while she has taught me a thousand lessons along the way, none seem quite as poignant as the ones she is teaching me now as we care for her in her senior years. (Maggie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in August and is now mostly blind in both eyes along with some other difficulties in her health). Here are a few of the lessons she is teaching me:
1. Unconditional Love.
She's taught me this all along but mostly it's come from her to me. And now I feel like the tables are turning a bit. She is teaching me what it means to care so much for something you feel like they are a part of you--like your heart might explode with love. She is teaching me that when you love that much, you learn to overlook accidents in the house, you learn to spoon feed when she won't eat, you learn to stay up with her at night to calm her down, you learn to hold her when she can't catch her breath, you learn to carry her so that she won't tire out. It's a two way street this unconditional love.
2. Make Time.
More now than ever, I am learning how important it is to make time every. single. day. to love on Maggie and enjoy her extra snuggles. We don't know how much longer we'll have with her us and so it makes each moment I have all the more precious. But really this is a principle that should apply to all of the people and things that I love.
3. Enjoy Life.
There are many times when you would come over and never know that Maggie is sick. She still loves to play with her toys, loves to howl, love to meet new people, and upon occasion loves the chance to play with Lennon. She is teaching me the value of enjoying ALL of life--no matter how you may feel.
4. The Importance and Value of Family.
Maggie doesn't know it but she has taught Matt and I so much about what it means to be a family--and for that I will be forever grateful. She has helped us learn how to care for one another, how to be away from each other and reunite, how to play, how to rest, how to be silly, and most importantly how to be loyal and loving in all circumstances. Even more now that she is older, she is teaching us what it means to be a family of our own.
5. How to Grieve Well
Last but not least, caring for Maggie in her older years is teaching us how to grieve and how to let go. She has been such a big part of our lives together, it's been hard to think about her not being with us. But at the same time, we are watching her change and we don't want her to be in pain. We are learning that it's ok to grieve but that we should also celebrate! What a gift she has been to us and what a gift we have been to her!
Maggie girl....thanks for continuing to be my teacher!