Training like a warrior (oops, I meant worrier)

The dishes are done. The laundry is folded and put away. I just put on my pajamas and am sitting on the recliner with my feet up. Lazy? No way, I took a half a day off of work to run 20 miles. I did it and it went better than I expected. The last couple of miles were dreadful, but I did it. I admit I was a little worried. This has been the most miles that I ran since the marathon last summer. My endurance hasn’t been what I wanted it to be lately. I almost feel out of shape. Treadmill running is tough, but I am satisfied with how I did today. I was wondering if I don’t have what it takes anymore. I am not getting any younger.

I thought that after I was done running that I would feel better, but I don’t. I feel edgy, worried. I feel like the pattern is off. Some detail is out of place, but I can’t figure out what is wrong. I feel like something bad is going to happen. Call me crazy, you wouldn’t be the first. Maybe it is the rain. It hasn’t stopped raining in days. 

Or maybe I feel a little self-conscious about opening up to you. Things are getting a little too personal and I want to step back. I want to pull away. You are starting to find out who I am. Maybe you won’t like the real me. Sure, I can tell you a lot of good things about me. I could tell you stories of how I like to save birds or give people their lost wallets back. But what about the bad? I feel vulnerable and afraid. I am not leaving, but sometimes I want to.

Or maybe I feel edgy because this morning I got a text from another mom warning me of a new potential threat. We just severed Alex’s ties to his druggie friend last week just to have another come walking through the door. If my son wants to do drugs, there is nothing that I can do to stop him. I wish I had full control. I like to play God instead of trusting Him. 

I need to relax…Grrrr.. Tomorrow I made lunch plans with my mom. Then we are going to get a massage. I thought that it would be great to get my long run in today so the massage tomorrow will feel even better. I am not in a lot of physical pain, just the normal aches and pains of a long run. No knee pain which is great. Then tomorrow night I will be watching Angel perform in her last high school play. I am so proud of her, I always have been. She got straight A’s this quarter. Paul and I always told the kids that if they got straight A’s we would take them out to a restaurant of their choice. It has been close, but this is the first time it happened. Finally some good news!!

P.S. I decided to make some split pea soup with the leftover Easter ham. I put yellow split peas, carrots, and potatoes in the slow cooker all day along with the rest of the ham on the bone. It was the first time I made it in the slow cooker. It was the best batch that I have ever made. It was more soupy than thick. Yum. I didn’t eat much all day with running so I had two bowls. I hope I don’t regret that tomorrow. 

Finders keepers, losers weepers?

A couple of years back, I found a wallet alongside the road while I was running. I had a couple of choices of what I could do. I could keep running. I could take the money and run. Or I could take the wallet home and try to find its owner.

I have never been the kind of person who does nothing, so that option was out.

As for option number 2, I am not the type of person that steals things. Although there was that one time in 2nd grade. There was a boy that sat in front of me in class. He had this miniature soda can that would look really good in my doll house. He would sit at his desk and pretend to slurp out of this little can like it contained the best sugary substance in the world. A can that I thought would look great in Barbie’s hand while she entertained Ken in her kitchen.

One day while the boy was leaving his desk, he bumped the little can off his desk. It rolled underneath my desk. Finders keepers, losers weepers! I took that little soda can home to Barbie. For years, I felt guilty every time I played with that little toy. Five years later, I decided to return the toy that I “found” in his locker. I wonder what he thought when he saw it. Maybe he forgot all about it, but I certainly didn’t.

I don’t think that I could live with myself if I chose the finders keepers, losers weepers option. There was around $200 in the wallet.

So I chose to take the wallet home and do a little detective work to find the owner. First, I had to pick up all of the credit cards that were strewn into the ditch. The first thing that I saw was a driver’s license. Great, I had a name and an address. I rummaged through the wallet for a phone number. How many people do you know that carry their own phone number in their wallet?

I snooped through every inch of that wallet without turning up any more clues. The whole time taking guilty pleasure in searching through someone’s personal belongings.

When Paul got home, he took a look at the wallet. He said that he knew the guy that the wallet belonged to. He was able to find the man’s number and return his wallet to him. Coincidentally, we ended up running into that same man later on in the week at a local restaurant. He came up to me and thanked me for returning his wallet. He also gave me $40 that I didn’t want to take. He refused to leave unless I took the money. He said that if I hadn’t returned the wallet to him that he would be out $200. Plus he would have had to get a duplicate driver’s license and cancel all of his credit cards. What a hassle that would’ve been!

One thing I can say about this crazy running hobby of mine is that it often takes me on some interesting adventures. 

Act your age! Wait, how old are you anyway?

It has come to my attention lately that strangers think my children are all the same age.

We recently got dental insurance for the first time. As you can imagine, it is very expensive to pay out of pocket for the dental needs of a family of 5. Especially last year with a crown and wisdom teeth extraction. The change required us to go to a different dentist.

When it came time for us to go in for our first appointment, my daughter Angel who is 17 was taken to the pediatric section in error. They told her to look at the silly animal characters on the wall if she was feeling frightened. They spoke to her in a high pitch sing song voice that you would use with small children. My 12 year old daughter was taken into the adult section.

I understand your confusion, I really do. Even Angel’s boyfriend calls her the 12 year old granny. Since she got her hair cut with bangs, she looks like she is 12. Plus, she doesn’t look like the stereotypical theater person. She never dyed her hair, wears normal (if not boring) clothes, and hardly ever wears makeup. Her boyfriend calls her granny because she is always knitting or crocheting. She is almost an adult but looks like a child. She looks almost exactly like I did as a child and has my body shape. She also has a similar personality to mine.

My son Alex is 15. He looks his age. For the longest time, he was a small and thin boy until finally he grew. Now he towers over me, muscular and lean. His personality is also similar to mine. He looks like his dad and has my body shape.

Arabella is 12, but she looks like an adult. Her personality is very different from mine. She looks like her dad and has his body type. This past Christmas, Arabella became the topic of conversation with my aunt through marriage. She loudly said, “I see that Arabella has joined the club.” “What club??” “Oh, that is right, you wouldn’t know. Did you ever consider breast reduction surgery?” She is 12. “She is going to have back issues.” She is 12!! She looks so much older that other people (myself included) expect her to act like she is an adult. It doesn’t seem right or fair. 

And so it is. Two weeks ago we were all back at the dentist’s office. After I had my fillings worked on, I came out to the waiting area to find Alex and Arabella arguing. I told them that if I heard one more word from them that I would take away their electronics. Alex quit the fight, but Arabella argued on. I told her to hand over her electronics. She come over to me and said, “Yeah, try to make me.” She has over 30 lbs on me. She towered over me while I cowered underneath her. This has made parenting challenging for me. Then Alex stood behind me and demanded she hand over her electronics. This started sibling battle number 2. Even though Alex tried to back me up, I told him that this was between Arabella and I.

I have been parenting for a long time now. I have noticed three stages of struggle with all of my children. The first stage everyone has heard of, the terrible two’s. This is their first struggle for independence. The second stage happened around 5 years, right around the time that they went to school full-time. This is another time of asserting independence. The third stage is during preadolescence, the middle school age.

The middle school years have been fraught with the biggest struggle for independence that I have seen so far, plus add in new hormonal changes. All of my kids were moody, argumentative, easily irritated, knew everything, and would often talk back. At this age, the kids treated us like we were totally stupid. Paul and I would walk around the house with our hands in the air saying “what do I know?” Anything that we would say they would argue against. I think that this is very normal although we were shocked by it with our first child. They are starting to find their identity and make their way in life without us.

The teenage years are wonderful. I am not kidding, there is hope. For the first time, you will be able to reason with your child like an adult. For example, a few months back Angel wanted to go on a weekend skiing trip with her boyfriend. A group of college students were going to rent a lodge for the weekend without parents around. But my daughter was 17. I told her that she wasn’t going to be allowed to go. She was disappointed and sad. Later, after the initial anger wore off, my daughter came up to me and told me that she understood my decision and the reasoning behind it. I was floored. It was so hard to not let her go when she agreed with me. If she would have thrown a big fit and screamed how much she hated me, I sure would have had an easier time saying no.

I think that by the time my youngest child leaves, I’ll finally have this parenting thing figured out. Until then, don’t give my 17 year old daughter a kids menu. And don’t even think about offering my 12 year old a drink from the bar.

After the snow melts

After the snow melted, I thought I saw a little blue baby boy sock out in my yard. I wondered where it came from. I don’t even remember the last time I had a baby at my house. My baby boy is almost fully grown.

It made me long for the days when my son was a baby. Alex was my easiest baby. He was always content. He was happy to sit and study his surroundings quietly for hours. He slept through the night. He kept a very structured eating and sleeping schedule that I could set my clock by. He was easy to potty train. He was the cutest little guy. He had thick curly brown ringlets, whereas his sisters got the straight hair. He was such a mama’s boy. We would sit together and read books often.

Now I wish I could tell you that things haven’t changed much after Alex entered his teen years, but I can’t. Things haven’t been that easy as of late. My husband said that with him it is always two steps forward and one step back. This will be the last weekend that he is grounded from his friends. There is one friend that has been a horrible influence on him and other neighborhood kids. Alex is not allowed to hang out with him anymore. Last week two police cars were at this boy’s house. Trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. I am hoping that since this friendship has been severed, things will get better.

Alex has been struggling with his grades, with making new friends, and has been angry about his grandma’s cancer diagnosis. Paul and I had a long talk with the principal who suggested signing him up for a spring sport. Alex opted to join track. At his very first track meet on his very first event, he injured his leg. It was so frustrating. Alex was upset as well. He was angry that some of his friends weren’t watching his event. He said that if he never came back to school, no one would miss him. I didn’t like to hear him talk like that, but at least he was talking to me. I told him that no matter what his friends do, I would be there for him.

That night after the meet, I went to look at the baby sock in my yard. But it wasn’t a sock. It was a blue piece of paper flapping in the wind.

So it is day after day, sometimes my son and I get along great. We talk about his future. We joke and laugh. He can always sense when I am feeling down even when I try to hide it. He told me not to worry about the past because my life is happy now when I feel sad after writing about difficult things. He encourages others when they are feeling down. He is gentle, caring, and kind.

Then the next minute, he is moody and disrespectful. He says mean things. He wants to have nothing to do with me. He talks about moving out. I suppose that is what raising teenagers is all about. Right now my son is 65% adult and 35% child. Sometimes he is so much like a man that I feel shocked at his maturity and logic. Then the next minute the child comes out and I am shocked by his immaturity. I think that we are heading in the right direction with Alex. He just takes a little more work then our first born.

The next time I glanced out the window, I tried to see if the blue paper still looked like a baby sock. I thought that my perception would change after I realized it was just a piece of paper. But the next time I looked, it was gone.

Easter, turning 40, and candy in the light fixture

Now I officially feel old. This last week my younger brother turned 40. 

I don’t remember feeling old when I turned 40. Maybe it was because I spent the first few waking hours of my 40th birthday in the ER. Having a sick child really took the little joy left out of turning 40. Everyone took turns staying with Arabella so I could have my special day. I felt a little selfish about that. 

I bought a 1970’s vintage outfit that I was going to wear out for my birthday. I had to go all the way to Chicago to find something exciting to do on a Monday night. There is certainly no nightlife around here on a Monday. But with a sick kid and other children that refused to go anywhere with me dressed like that, I wore normal boring clothes. I am such an embarrassment. Seriously, it wasn’t as if I was going to go out wearing my birthday suit.

My friends did take me out a couple of weeks before my birthday. I didn’t feel old. They convinced some people that they were taking me out for my 21st birthday. It was kind of funny when people came up to me and asked me how it felt to finally be old enough to drink. Really? What are you talking about?? Believe me that looking like I was 10 when I was 16 really did pay off later. LOL. 

But now I feel old. I ran 15 miles the day after Matt turned 40. It was really difficult for me to do. My inner voice kept telling me how old I was and doubted I could do anything. Sometimes I want to tell my inner voice to shut up and summon my inner child instead. 

How does Matt feel about turning 40? He feels great! Being autistic, he really has little concept of aging. He is starting to get the tire around his waist like all the older men in my family seem to get. Still he has no worries about his weight. There was a time in his life when we worried. At 5’7″, there was a point where he barely weighed 90 lbs. He was very sick to the point where we thought he would die. So a little gut is not that big of a deal.

 Yesterday the whole family went bowling for Matt’s birthday. Matt loves to bowl so we go every year for his birthday. I really don’t like bowling. I find it boring and I suck at it. Matt loves it though and he even beat my score. We bought him a huge balloon bouquet that was a lot harder to fit into a car than you might think. We almost got it tangled in the ceiling fan when we got to the bowling alley.  

After bowling, we all went out to eat. My dad went somewhere else. I am not sure if that had to do with senility or miscommunication. After supper, everyone wanted to come over to my house for games. My dad started driving home until my mom reminded him he was coming to my house. Then he turned the car around after swearing a bit and came to my house. He dropped off everyone in his vehicle and sat out in the car. 

Today my whole family met up at church for Easter with the exception of my dad. My mom is a devout Christian and my dad is an atheist. No, it doesn’t work well. I was surprised to see my brother Mark in church and dressed up to boot. I thought that the only time that I would see him go to church was on his wedding day. Boy was I wrong. His new wife said that she wasn’t going to church by herself. Now Mark is a church goer. Maybe he thought a little about all the times that my mom went to church alone. I was happy that he went. He always sided with my dad. I was wondering if he would choose to go to church with his wife or stay home with my dad. I was surprised my dad didn’t give him a hard time.

The church was having some issues with its organ. Apparently they asked my dad to come fix it. My dad said that the last time he went to church it was working okay. I said it was true that the organ was working just fine in the 1980’s. I told my dad that it would have been nice if he came to church today with his family to at least view the condition of the organ. Oh well! At least he was wearing clothes today. He wore red plaid pajama bottoms with a Packer shirt. He didn’t match or even shower lately, but at least he wore clothes. Baby steps!

After eating ham at my mom’s, everyone started their journey back home. Mark and Luke live several hours away while I live nearby.  

I had the kids do some work while I hid their Easter candy. Alex is good at finding things. He found his sisters candy before they did. So this year I hid his candy in a very difficult spot. I unscrewed the light fixture, then hid his candy there. Brilliant spot, he did find it though before Arabella found hers.

I hope everyone had a great Easter! 

Snow spring

Wow, it’s been a rough week. I tackled a lot of big topics this week from my failures, fears, and feelings about my mother-in-law’s cancer diagnosis. So I decided to lighten things up today. Nice and light and fluffy like the newly fallen spring snow.

Happy spring! The full spring sunlight today was brightly reflecting off of our new snow. We didn’t end up getting the ferocious blizzard that we were expecting. We ended up getting about 6 inches of snow over a layer of ice. Not the light and fluffy snow either, but the heavy wet snow that is hard to shovel.

After the snowstorm ended yesterday, my daughter wanted to go see her boyfriend as they had lunch plans with another couple. She needed to put gas in the car, so I told her that would be a good time to check out the road conditions. Ideally, it would be great if she never had to drive on questionable roads. But we live in WI, so that is not our reality.

My daughter didn’t even leave our driveway before she got stuck in a snow bank that she couldn’t get herself out of. She called Paul and I at work to come help her. It was almost noon, so we were about ready to come home for lunch anyway. Paul got into her car and pushed the front seat back. Hiding under her front seat was her spare set of car keys. Paul couldn’t get her out of the snow bank from inside of the car. When he got out of the car, he accidentally hit the lock button. He locked both sets of keys in the car while it was running and stuck in the snow bank.

It was fun to call for assistance. “Yes, I am in a safe place. Yes, my driveway. That’s right. No, I am not in the ditch. Well, yes, my car is running in my driveway with the keys locked in it. Oh, by the way, the car is almost out of gas as well.” Most of the tow trucks were busy making lots of money getting cars out of the ditch. But because the car was running, we were able to get someone to come out. A huge tow truck arrived at our house to unlock the car doors. How funny was that?? It gives the neighbors more stuff to talk about. 

My daughter learned the valuable lesson of respecting WI winter (spring) weather. Plus making sure her extra set of keys are not in the car. After the last couple of days, I learned that it is risky going home for lunch.

Last(ing) things

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night crying from a nightmare. In my dream, Paul and I were in some sort of clinic. Someone we knew was close by and received good news. They were expecting a child after years of trying. But we received bad news. I dreamed that Paul had cancer too. We were going to watch his mother die, then he was going to die of the same thing. It was all very horrifying. I woke up upset and crying. I reached over and held onto Paul tightly.

Back in October, Paul’s mother Martha came out to Alex’s confirmation. She had been sick for over a year at that time. She had a cough that would not go away which her doctor said was caused by medicine that she was taking. She was always sick with sinus infections or bronchitis. When we saw her in October, she was wheezing, short of breath, and gasping for air. She looked horrible. We told her to go back to the doctor.

In November, the doctor found a tumor in her stomach and lung. They thought that the tumors were the same kind, that they  would be easily treated with a pill. She was going to be okay. Martha already survived breast cancer 15 years ago. 

Then in January, the doctor found out that the tumors were two different unrelated kinds. In February, Martha was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer. The cancer filled one lung and was moving into the other. Then last week, she found out that the cancer had moved into her brain.

Martha is now taking a combination of chemo and radiation. Last week Martha lost her long shiny hair. I haven’t seen her yet without hair. That is going to hit us all hard. I am glad that Paul was given some forewarning to take the time to say good bye. I have to forgive her for all of the past hurts. 

Our relationship with Martha has always been volatile, especially in the earlier years. When Paul and I bought our first house, Martha wanted to help me make curtains. We went together and I spent more than I expected to on material. We started the project, but before we could finish Martha got into a big fight with her son and left me with unfinished curtains. My grandma helped me finish the project.

There were countless times that Paul and Martha would fight. Martha screamed at Paul and kicked him out of her house anytime that we had to discipline the kids. She would show up late for holidays. It has been years since we celebrated any holiday with Martha. Sometimes she would cancel out at last minute or not show up at all.

One time Martha and I were going to take the kids to a water park. She was running late to the point where we weren’t going to be able to make the trip worthwhile. This was the only time that I confronted her. She didn’t talk to me for a year.

Martha often called and spoke of gambling trips that she took with friends then complained that she didn’t have money for gas to come see the kids and their events. Our relationship was marked with a lot of anger, hurt, and resentment. She is a difficult person that likes to argue and say hurtful things, and now she is dying.

This week she called Paul and asked him what we were doing for Easter. We have plans with my family. Today is Matt’s 40th birthday. My whole family will be getting together to celebrate Matt’s birthday on Saturday and then Easter on Sunday. We are able to see each other as a group a couple of times a year. I told Paul that we could cancel the Easter plans with my family to see his mother. It most likely will be her last Easter. Paul decided to keep our plans as is. 

I forgive you, Martha! I will try to remember the good times. When you weren’t crabby, you were always so much fun. Your fun loving, upbeat, optimistic attitude is hard to beat. You provide a lot of excitement. There was never a dull moment with you. You are always happy with the littlest things. You are content with what you have. You try to make the most out of situations. You always had good intentions. 

By far the best gift that Martha gave me was her son. She made the right decision when she decided to keep her unwanted pregnancy. For that, I will be forever grateful.  


Letting go of a broken wing

Yesterday as I was heading back to work after my lunch break, I noticed a peculiar sight. There was a robin hanging from a tree branch in my front yard. At first, I thought she was dead. Then I saw a flap of a wing, a bit of a struggle.

I noticed a nest starting a few branches higher. But something went terribly wrong. There was a black line, like fishing line, wrapped around the tree and around the wing of the bird. Every time the bird tried to break free, she wrapped her wing around the small branch again and again.

I approached the bird in a panic wondering what to do. I was afraid of the bird. The bird was afraid of me too. I spoke quietly panicked F words to the bird. I went back inside the house and grabbed a scissors. I started to cut away the line entrapping the bird. As I cut closer, the bird shrieked loudly. Panic took over my body. The tunnel vision started, my stomach acid built, and I started shaking. I was terrified to cut closer to the bird’s body, but I couldn’t leave it there to die.

So I did the next best thing after wimping out. I found someone to help me free the bird. He cut the line that was wrapped tightly around the wing. The bird fell to the ground and quickly ran away too injured to fly.

Then I started ruminating about horrible things. I thought about the nature shows I’ve watched where sea animals are caught in fishing nets. Or of all the animals that I hit with my car. Maybe some were pets. The dog that looked like mine that I saw dead along the highway years back. The pets that I lost. The fish that swallowed the hooks.

By far the worst thing that happened was a few years ago. I almost hit a deer at dusk. I slammed on my brakes just missing the deer. He ran quickly past me to the woods that was surrounded by a fence. The deer hit the fence at full force and did a flip. It was kind of comical at the time so I laughed. It felt good to relieve my nerves from the stress of almost hitting the deer. The deer was stunned from hitting the fence, but seemed to be  fine. So I left.

A few weeks later I was driving down the same road when I looked over at the area where I almost hit the deer. I noticed a dead deer that was tangled up in the fence. I knew it had to be the deer that I almost hit, that he didn’t end up being alright after all. I felt so horrible. Maybe I should have stayed longer to make sure the deer was okay. I felt guilty for my laughter. Things didn’t turn out okay like I thought they did at the time. It had to be the same animal, right? I NEVER would have left that animal there if I knew it was hurt or in any pain. It really bothered me.

Today when I came home for lunch, I saw the injured bird. Paul armed himself with a fishing net and I carried the cat carrier. We trudged around the neighborhood in attempts to capture the injured bird. I want to tell you that we caught it and brought it to the wildlife refuge like I planned, but we couldn’t catch it. The bird escaped into a muddy field. Now it probably would’ve been amusing watching us chase a bird in knee deep mud, but we had to give up. We couldn’t even catch it while on solid ground.

I can sense the storm approaching. The temperature dropped and the winds are ferociously howling. The ominous threat of a blizzard lingers. By tomorrow we are supposed to have a foot of snow whipping around in 40 mph winds.

I can’t control everything. I can’t protect everyone. I did the best I could. I am just going to have to let this go…


Acting like everything is alright 

I am sorry things did not go according to your plan. When you asked me why God did this to you, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to fix things for you. I wanted to make you happy again. Instead I just listened. I asked when you would rather know, now or later. Maybe God has a better plan that we just can’t see right now.

You said that you were a great actress. You went to play practice with a smile on your face. Then you came home and cried. The odds weren’t in your favor this time. Out of the hundreds of talented kids that auditioned, you weren’t in the handful of those selected for the musical theater program at the college you will be attending. You cried even more when your brother told you that they didn’t know what they were missing. 

The truth is that your musical theater talents are lopsided. You are a phenomenal singer, great actress, and below average dancer. Even though you have the shape of a dancer, your body fails you. I am so sorry that you seem to have my lack of gracefulness. 

I was the little girl that they laughed at during the dance recital because I danced to a different beat then everyone else. I was the scrawny little kid that was always picked last on the team. I was the little girl that had to do extra credit to pass gym class. I had to write about sports because I couldn’t do them. While other kids could do flips and splits, I remained rigid, tight, and inflexible. Why do you think I am a runner? It requires grit, the only thing I have.

There is one gift that I am happy to have passed on to you, your voice. When you sing, people feel the emotions you are singing about. A happy song puts everyone in a good mood. A sad song can change the audiences laughter to tears in a few sweeping moments. When you auditioned for the vocal performance program, they complimented you on your voice and told you that they wanted you. I know that you will find a home there. 

I know it is hard right now. You have been eating, drinking, and sleeping musicals for so long. I am impressed with your optimism despite a few minor road blocks. 

It does not mean that you can never audition for musicals in the big cities. This is your journey now and I am excited to see where it takes you.

Hard to tame

Once, a very long time ago, I lived in wild and rugged terrain. I had an important job. I kept vigilance. I watched all day and sometimes at night too. Every little sound would wake me and cause me to take guard. I noticed every little detail in my environment for any change that could signify a problem. I noticed patterns.

I was a protector. My vigilance never stopped bad things from happening, but it may have forewarned others of danger or prevented them from being hurt. I wasn’t allowed the distraction of feelings, sensitivity, caring, or warmth to distract me from my post. A lot of other people had that job, but not me.

Then for a short period of time, I was removed from my post. I found myself alone. I thought that maybe I could finally be like everyone else. I wanted to be trusting like everyone else. But I couldn’t.

Then I found myself in an entirely different terrain. I was like a wild prairie dog trapped within the safe confinement of a zoo. I resumed my old post although I was no longer needed. No hawks circled. Few dangers threatened nearby day or night. But I found myself vigilant at my post. I was told that I wasn’t needed anymore, that I should take it easy or relax.

But any attempt to relax my guard caused me more anxiety. So I ran marathons around the inside edges of the wall. I paced back and forth so often that my path was beaten down. Even though I was no longer standing guard, I still felt like I was watching.

Then something else happened. I no longer wanted to be like everyone else. I found that being vigilant had purpose and meaning. My distrust protected me and those I care about.

Even in times of peace, a few people are needed to keep guard. Someone still needs to have a discerning eye to protect others from danger. I am that person.

Some animals are hard to tame.