We had a dog once named Jack. I was in love with this creature and The Husband hated him. Actually, he didn’t really hate him, he was just rather ambiguous. He humoured his animal-loving new bride and went along with the entire adoption, but inside he was suspect.
Jack was a rescue, a gorgeous German Shepherd with anxiety issues and a weak stomach. We cleaned up more poop with that dog than we have with three children combined. You can understand my husband, who’d never owned a pet save a rather shady bunny in his childhood, being a bit cold toward our new family member.
Then one day The Husband was walking Jack before work, when the dog was attacked by a yellow lab (yes, a yellow lab) in the park near our house. As The Husband tells it, he walked (we lived in the city then) covered in blood Mel Gibson-in-Braveheart-style, with the dog to the vet and waited and watched as they repaired his half-eaten ear.
Later, when washing the canine blood from his face, The Husband realized he and this dog were now bonded for life. No amount of diarrhea could sway his new feelings of deep love and commitment to our dog. Watching Jack in crisis, and being part of his recovery had changed their relationship forever. They were blood brothers.
New Jersey is my Jack.
Last night as I watched and wept through (and not just because of how old those dudes were) the 121212 Concert, I realized I am bonded to this place like I’ve never been before.
I’ve dropped anchor, as someone pointed out to me, and this feeling, of being in the right place, is a new one.
I’m a bit of a rolling stone (not the old singing ones) never quite feeling like I’ve found my place. This is evidenced by our various moves throughout Maryland and even here in the Garden State. I knew there was something different about this place when I arrived. I had a peace in my heart I’ve never known. I’ve been anything but quiet about my love for this place, but it wasn’t until Sandy hit that I realized I may never leave.
This is my home. These are my people. Watching through tragedy and helping through recovery has changed my relationship with Jersey. I can’t say we’ll never leave, because if life has taught me anything it’s that I’m not always in charge of those decisions. But I can say I never want to leave. Ever.
We are bonded in blood, Jersey and I. Hopefully not Braveheart style.
I’m off later today to help Project Rebuild Recover load trucks of stuff to send to Union Beach, Manalapan and other towns still devastated by Sandy. The recovery here and in NY is still very much in full swing and very important. If you want to give a bit to the effort, the collective blog I write for Project Underblog, is raising money for the Primary School in my town that was flooded by the Hurricane. Just click here for the donation website. Then look to your right for the widget that will help you give what you can-every little bit helps our recovery.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.