Little Piggies and Parenting

There is a photo somewhere in which I am about six and wearing a teal fake fur winter coat. We are gorgeous, that coat and me.  I am holding a pinkish white baby pig close to my chest, cradling and squishing it like a beloved baby doll.  

Have you ever seen a baby pig? They are so cute it makes you want to hoard baby pigs.

Sadly, sweet little piggies grow to become enormous and stubborn and smelly and cannot be re-directed were you to, say, hit them over the snout with a 2 x 4 as my dad once discovered.  It's not unlike raising a teen I am told though I don't know much about that yet.  It took a few years but soon enough after that innocent moment was captured on film,  pigs began to lose their charm. They became a big and disgusting deal in my life because they became work.  I used to have to help my dad vaccinate pigs. What this meant to my preteen self was that I would fetch the meds out of a second-hand refrigerator located in the mud room. Often sitting next to all sorts of animal pharmaceuticals, you could also find various Coke bottles and Rubbermaid cups filled with either plain Coke or whiskey and Coke (you know, should anyone need an instant afternoon nip to carry you through the day). I once took a swig out of the wrong cup on a mad dash for animal meds and that was the end of my afternoon Coke nips.  But no matter what I drank, I always ended up traipsing out to the farrowing house, a place designated for sows (large and very pregnant pigs) and later their litters.  New babes were treated to some shots.

How to evaluate progress in your life.

Isn't this how we all feel sometimes? Progress can seem so slow. It can be so hard to take a step back and say, "Wait a minute! Inching is good as long as it's forward. And look how far you have come!"

I am taking stock now, looking at my blog, my writing, my personal life, my self. I am thinking of all that was hard this year, what has been a gift, what I have learned, and what I still feel compelled to examine.

I used to believe, or more accurately, wanted to believe that everything in life could be easily categorized.  And now, ten days out from my 45th birthday, I can see that categorizing life and all that it offers, unlike items in your home or work space, is just plain hard. You can claim a loss but easily find the gift inside that loss if you dare to look. You can admit a mistake and take the time to learn from it in a way you may not have had the mistake never been made. You can say you just didn't do something because you couldn't when really its time has not come. One of my biggest quandaries is trying to determine when I am avoiding something versus simply not being ready for it.

Many of us (me included) like to use the word 'time' as an excuse, but I firmly believe time will