This time last year, I was seeing the cherry blossoms bloom for the first time.
I can’t believe that Joe and I have been in our new house with Dioji for nearly a year now. I still remember the feeling of terror that came over me as I sat on the hard wood floor in our living room staring at the dog’s expectant face…
“Now what?” he seemed to ask.
With a slight frown I sighed, “I don’t know…puppy.” (We hadn’t decided what to call him.)
It was a bright, sunny afternoon after what had been a fairly gloomy and grey morning. Sore and achy from moving in the day before, I was hunched over on the floor surrounded by mountains of boxes waiting to be unpacked. Joe and his mom were off collecting toys, food, and bedding for the new addition while I thought about what to do. I couldn’t believe that in the space of two days I’d acquired a new house and a new dog. While I considered that extremely fortunate, I was very nervous about all of the new responsibility on top of a job I’d only been at for a month. Oh, and did I mention I was applying to graduate schools too?
Tap. Tap, tap, tap. The dog was slowly pacing around what would become our living room.
“I bet you’re scared too.” He looked scared. What had I gotten myself into? Adjusting to a new city, new job, new school, and a new dog was perhaps too much to take on at once. Nevertheless, that was the situation.
The dog laid down in front of me, his eyes warily scanning the strange room.
“Why don’t we sit somewhere better?” I asked him. Even glued down (he was being prepared for the show ring before we adopted him), I could see his ears perk slightly. Slowly, so as not to startle him, I moved to the couch and patted next to me. He hesitated, but then eased himself next to me and let me pet his head.
“We’re going to be okay, puppy.”
I hoped that I was right. Joe and I are a very strong couple. Anyone who was close to us in Boston knows of the great “Riccardo saga.” Basically, we lived in a nightmarish, constantly flooded apartment for a year while fighting a crazy landlord the whole time. Afterward, I moved away for two months to study abroad in England and Joe went through shoulder surgery and physical therapy. Needless to say, we know how to get through tough times together. Still, even with the best teammate in the world, I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of everything before me.
But the bulletin board beside my desk is proof that things are different now. There are ticket stubs from the inaugural game at Nationals Park, a Wizards playoff game, and a Redskins v. Steelers game. Hanging among those are newspaper clippings from several local papers following the Steelers Super Bowl victory. Next to those is a list of Michael Phelps’ races (and a few pictures of him…mmm) during last summer’s Olympics. Each one has a red checkmark next to it, which I added after he won each gold medal. Scattered throughout the newspaper clippings are cards from Joe and Dioji, and pictures of my family. All just reminders of what a whirlwind, wonderful first year in DC we’ve had. There have certainly been some growing pains and trials along the way, but we’ve come out stronger and happier. (Really, can you ask for more than that?) These days, Dioji needs little more than to hear my keys jingling before he (clumsily) rushes down off of the couch to greet me.
And the future? I’m learning to live in the present, but my bulletin board certainly shows hints of the joys yet to come. Above the ticket stub from the Nationals game is my “save the date” card for Michael and Jess’ wedding. Also lingering among the newspaper clippings is one announcing that Billy Joel and Elton John will be playing the inaugural concert at Nationals stadium…on my birthday. Yes, I have tickets (courtesy of an awesome boyfriend who thinks I deserve such a rad birthday gift)! Commence girlish screaming.
I can’t describe how incredibly different I feel now than I did this time last year. For the first time in what seems like forever, the things that I hope and dream about don’t feel clouded by anxiety. For someone with a tendency to over think things, it is a great relief to think and consequently feel more positively. One day at a time, right?
They cherry blossoms are blooming again. The branches are full of white and pink buds that were never even a dream this time last year. They are brand new, and a welcome sight to eyes tired of winter’s barren appearance. I appreciate these flowers in a way that I’ve never felt before. The trees endured the long winter months to be in bloom for maybe two weeks. Maybe.
The flowers are a moment. Outside my window right now exists a moment that will never be again. That tree will never bloom in the same way. Right now is the moment for those cherry blossoms.
That’s what I mean by trying to live for today. I want to live for what is happening around me right now. It could rain hard or get terribly windy tonight and those flowers would be gone tomorrow.
So I’m going to go get a better look while I can!