The Magic of Holidays

This holiday season was the first time in four years that I was able to spend it with all of my family members, and it truly was spectacular. When I was younger I would always correlate joy, happiness, love, and peace to the holiday season, and that was mostly because that meant that I was going to be able to spend quality time with my family. The number of laughs that we all share, the conversations about past stories that kept me completely enthralled, and just spending time with my loved ones always felt so special. The magic of Christmas was never about the gifts for me, it always stemmed from the love that I felt when I had my loved ones around me.

When Stephen and I made the decision that we were going to move down to Dallas we didn’t even think about what the holidays were going to be like. We had a dream to move and we were willing to sacrifice everything to make that happen, but little did we know that the cost of the dream of moving was exorbitant. We knew that leaving home and everyone else behind was going to be sad, but nothing prepared us for how truly soul-crushing and lonely that whole experience was.   

Being away from family was always difficult, but nothing made you realize how alone you truly were until the holidays would come around. I went from having an immense amount of excitement starting at the beginning of October to being filled with sorrow and dread. I am already a severely depressed person, so the thought of being alone during the time of the year that I used to crave just made me even more devastated. I had Stephen and my furchildren, with whom I cherish more than my own life, but sitting alone watching movies while everyone else was enjoying one another always made me sink into another low. Perhaps being alone made me realize as much as I always loved spending the holidays with my family maybe I also took it for granted. I missed the magic, I missed my family, and I missed that wholesome feeling that I felt whenever it was the holiday season. 

When Stephen and I made the decision to move back home to Chicago in March one of the first thoughts I had was “I can’t wait for the holidays!” The thought of being with all of my loved ones and feeling all of that love fueled me with eagerness and excitement. When the beginning of October came around, I started to feel that magic that I always used to feel growing up. When Thanksgiving finally arrived, it felt superb to actually get in the car and drive forty-five minutes to my grandparent’s house. Seeing my dad making mashed potatoes and having my Mema squeeze me the moment she saw me filled my heart with so much happiness. This is what I have been missing. This is what I have been wanting. This is what I have been desperate for. Then it was Christmas time. I have been filled to the brim with that magical feeling for a few months now, and this was the moment I have been waiting for. Christmas Eve and Christmas day was the happiest I have been for a very long time. I was with my parents, my grandparents, my husband, my in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Hell, people who I didn’t really know. But it was incredible being surrounded by all of these people just celebrating one another. When I was with everyone I found myself laughing again, telling stories about the past that kept me completely captivated and spending quality time with the people who I love so incredibly much. This year, the holidays felt exactly like I remember them feeling before we moved away, and for that, I will always be grateful and appreciate this time of year. 

The magic of the holidays doesn’t stem from the gifts you receive. No. It stems from the love that you feel when you are with the people you adore and cherish.

Furchildren

Animals are the gift that we are given so that we can experience pure love and happiness. I have three animals, Luna, Gimli, and Arya, and every moment that is spent with them is more valuable than platinum to me. The bond that I have with my furchildren is unlike any other bond that I have ever had with another living soul. That may sound odd to some people out there, but truthfully I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Every human being has flaws, and I am definitely not excluded from that, but the way that my animals look at me makes feel me as though they can only see the good that I offer. Perhaps they are aware of my faults and they love me unconditionally anyway, and for that, I will always be grateful. 

Luna, my golden retriever mix, is the sunshine that has been missing from my life. She brings me warmth when I am feeling down. She soothes my fears and my worries when I feel absolutely consumed by them. She makes me laugh and smile even when I am in my darkest moments. It truly feels as if she knows me better than most people out there, and I know I can count on her to be there for me whenever I need her. Luna, or Luna Belle, has a personality that everyone can fall in love with almost immediately. She is so loveable and accepting, and I thank the universe every day for allowing me to be her mom.

Luna1

Gimli, one of two cats, is a sweet little daddy’s boy that has us both wrapped around his little paw. Gimli is one of the most easy-going cats I have ever known, and yet he is almost always ready to play. When it comes to playtime he really only goes crazy for a few things. Nail files, rubber bands, and lasers put him into a frenzy, and we can’t help but laugh hysterically while watching him play. (No need to worry, we watch and monitor him in a controlled area when he is playing with these items.) Gimli is the biggest snuggle bug that has ever existed and is the only cat that I know of that loves to have his belly rubbed while he is taking a snooze. He loves to give kisses, and when he wants a kiss he will put his nose on your lips. He is the most handsome little man that I have ever seen, and I love him so much. 

Gimli1

Arya, my second cat, is my crazy furbaby. One of my favorite qualities of Arya is her ability to entertain herself. One of her favorite past times is playing with wool balls. She loves to dig her nails into them and then toss them so she can run after them, and then she will put the ball in her mouth, run back to where she initially was, and do it all over again. Aside from her wool balls, she tends to get the zoomies. She loves to run around and basically parkour off of furniture, and she is so fast that I often end up asking myself “Was that Arya?” When she is not in play mode she usually is looking for affection. Arya only really likes to be touched when it is on her terms, so it always feels like an honor when she comes up to you. She loves when her head and butt are scratched, and her purr is so loud that you can feel the vibrations coming from her. She can be feisty at times, but her loving and spunky personality makes up for it.

Arya1

My animals are my world. I frequently question how I became deserving enough to have them in my life. I look at all of their little faces and I just melt every single time. The love that I have for them is so indescribable, and sometimes I just sob because I am so grateful that they are mine. Animals are amongst the greatest of gifts, and I will love mine until the end of my days.

Furbabies

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because I am a furmommy to three beautiful furbabies. When Stephen and I first moved into our apartment, Stephen was working third shift. So he would work from eleven at night until about eight in the morning, then he would come home and sleep until five or six. For a solid few months he had to work mandatory overtime, so he would work every single day. I was appreciative of how hard he was working, but I was lonely. I don’t really have any friends in Texas, so I spent most of my waking hours by myself. Stephen and I always talked about how we wanted to adopt a dog as soon as possible after we moved into our own place, but the fact that I felt so alone made us decide that we wanted to adopt even quicker than we had originally planned.

We spent a good month going to different shelters and adoption events looking for a dog that we had a connection with, and even though we thought that all of the dogs that we saw were adorable, we didn’t feel that instant draw. One day we saw a puppy at a shelter down the road that was as cute as could be. She was a pit-bull mix, and she still had her puppy personality. She was so happy and playful, and showered us with affection and kisses. We spent about a hour playing with her, and although I felt that connection, Stephen did not. The dog that we were going to adopt was going to be primarily for me, but it was important for both of us to feel that draw. I was crushed. In that hour that we spent with her I already felt close to her, but I knew that we had to move on. That night I was looking into more shelters near us when I came across a no kill shelter. I was looked at their list of adoptable dogs and begged Stephen for us to go the following morning. We had a couple of dogs that we had picked out from when we were looking online, and we were so excited to meet them all. When we got there, they pulled up the application that I had filled out the night before, and set us up with someone who would help us see a dog if we found one that we were interested in. She then explained to us where all of the dogs were, and then we were off. The first room that we looked at was the medium dog room. All of the dogs looked surprisingly happy and content, and we wanted to adopt them all. We found most of the dogs that we had wanted to see, but then we came across a dog that wasn’t online. Her name was Angel, and she was a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix. She was one year and two months old, and she was gorgeous. She was shy, but she was still intrigued by Stephen and I. She kept smelling us and attempted to get closer to us, and I think instantly we both knew that she was going to be the one.

We decided that we were going to look at the small dog room as well as the big dog room, and although all of the dogs were adorable, we still had Angel on our minds. After we were done looking at all of the dogs, we told the lady that was helping us that we wanted to spend quality time with Angel. So they took her out of her kennel and put her on a leash, and off we went. We went to the back of the shelter where they had a beautiful trail as well as blocked off sections for play time. First we took her for a walk, then we went to a play section. When we were in the play section was when I officially knew that she was going to come home with us. She had a playful yet calm temperament, she was already being affectionate, and she was a really good listener. So we told the lady that we wanted to adopt her, and that was when we found out that Angel had actually just arrived at the shelter from Houston the night before. Apparently everyone who worked there all said that Angel was going to be adopted quick, and they were all sad to see her go. I guess this is one of those instances where “everything happens for a reason” becomes a true cliche. The day before when I felt that connection with the puppy and Stephen didn’t it actually worked out because Angel was on her way to us at the very same second. We knew the whole time that Angel was not going to stay her name, so while we filled out the adoption paperwork Angel became Luna. The day of Lunas adoption is still one of my favorite days in the world, and every day my love for her grows.

We adopted Luna in March of 2016, and by November 2016 we knew we wanted another furbaby. This time though it wasn’t going to be a dog, it was going to be a cat. So we knew that we wanted to adopt a kitten, but the issue was that in December we were going to go back up to Chicago to have our wedding reception with our friends and family. So we didn’t want to have a newly adopted kitten that we would have to board in Dallas while we went back home for a week. So we called the no kill shelter where we adopted Luna, and asked for information for adopting kittens. The person that Stephen ended up talking to was fostering a long haired kitten, and she was trying to find a family that would adopt him. His name was Odin, and he was about two months old. After sending us a bunch of pictures and videos of him, we knew that we just had to meet him. So a couple of days before we left for Chicago, we set up a meeting at the shelter to meet Odin. He was the cutest kitten that I have ever seen. He was so teeny tiny, had long stripped hair, and those huge kitten eyes. The moment he was in my arms, I fell in love. He was so calm, and just sat there. Eventually he fell asleep, and Stephen basically had to rip him from my arms. After spending a good amount of time with him, we told his foster mom that we wanted to adopt him. She was so ecstatic for us, and had zero issue with keeping him for an additional week. It worked out anyways because he had an appointment to be neutered three days before we officially adopted him. The following day that we got home from Chicago, we ran to Target (not literally) and purchased most of the kitten stuff that we needed. Then we went straight to the shelter and officially adopted Odin. Just like Luna, Odin did not stay Odin. Odin became Lupin. Lupin is such an incredible cat. He is still down to earth, but when he wants to play, he plays hard. He likes to be touched, but only when he wants to be. He likes to follow you around and wrap his paws around your legs, and sometimes if you’re  not paying attention he likes to jump from the counter tops onto your back. That kind of hurts because we decided against declawing our cats, but that’s okay because he is just trying to get some attention. He is beautiful and wonderful and we love him so much.

With that being said, Lupin needed another cat to play with. So in July of 2017, we adopted another kitten. I had always wanted a black cat, so I had been looking at the shelters around our area for a black kitten. I finally found a two month old black kitten at a different animal shelter from where we adopted Luna and Lupin, and the following day Stephen and I went to meet him. We weren’t able to physically touch him yet because he was a new in-take and they were giving him medicine, but they told us that if we came back in a week that we would be able to play with him. That was such a long week, but then the day arrived where we were able to go and see him. We got there right when they opened, and there he was. He had just gotten neutered a couple of day prior to then, and he looked like he was kind of out of it, so I felt really bad. We saw another cat that wasn’t there last time, so we also took sometime to play with him. This cat was super sweet, but there was something about that little black cat that we were once again just drawn to. While I was filling out the paperwork to adopt him, I was actually able to name him because he didn’t have a name. So the little black cat became Gimli. Gimli was super shy and would hiss at us when we got too close to him, so we were really worried. But as I was filling out the information, the lady that was helping me told me that Gimli had had a rough start. Apparently a little over a week before Stephen and I adopted him, he was actually adopted by another couple from a different shelter. When the couple adopted him, they put him in a box that was cut in half, and while he was in the car he escaped from the box and they weren’t able to find him. So the next day, they went to the shelter where we had adopted him to adopt a different cat, and when they were leaving with their new cat they heard some meows. That was when they found him under the hood near the engine. They decided that they no longer wanted Gimli and wanted to keep the new cat that they had just adopted, but that’s okay because their loss is our gain. After about a week, Gimli was comfortable with Stephen, Luna, Lupin and I. When I tell you that he is the sweetest cat in the world, I mean it. Gimli gives us non-stop kisses, loves to cuddle, and loves constant affection. I will make a kissy face to him and he literally bops his little mouth on to mine to give me a kiss. He is such an amazing little guy, and we are so lucky to have him.

I think every pet owner thinks this about their animals, but I am pretty convinced that Stephen and I have the three best furbabies that have ever existed. They are all so loving and happy, and every time I look at them my heart explodes with love and happiness. I am absolutely in love with our little family of five.