Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

The Human Pedigree: Going Home, Moving On

by | Oct 16, 2014 | Musings | 5 comments

FamilyOctGathering2014

Everyone in my family is an accomplished photographer–but we still couldn’t figure out the “timer” to get us all in the frame!

I wrote this post in October 2014. Today, my parents are on the verge of celebrating their 94th birthdays. After more than a year away from them, due to the pandemic, I feel nostalgic for the last time my siblings and I gathered with them. Stay tuned for an update when I finally get to visit with them again!

******

Last week, I drove to the airport 90 minutes away, waited during a 40-minute plane delay, sat on the plane for 2+ hours, boarded a bus for another 3 hour ride and discovered I’d left my laptop behind during the routine airport security check at DFW. I hate travel. But I’d do it all over again, and gladly.

It was my parent’s 60th Anniversary celebration. My two brothers and their wives and I rented a house in Michigan, and we gathered together for a rare but blissful reunion with great food, fine beverages, late night laugh-fests, shared memories, and bitter-sweet farewells.

We grew up in Northern Indiana where my parents still live. My twin brother (and nope, we’re NOT identical, LOL!) and his family live in Ohio where he’s a brilliant speech writer and PR pro, while our younger brother, a professional photographer, lives in far northern Michigan. My SILs are accomplished professional women, too, and my niece and nephews make us all proud. But how did my “little brother” become a grandpa, twice over? Where did the time go?

I live the farthest away in Texas, and traveling that far plus coordinating all of our busy schedules proves the greatest challenge. In fact, my husband wasn’t able to come due to a number of scheduling conflicts with work–and caring for the fur-kids. Sometimes I feel guilty that we moved so far away…

PEDIGREES & GENEALOGY

When together, I’m reminded of what a friend calls our “charmed childhood.” Our home was full of books, art and music–even today Mom and Dad’s house looks like a cross between an art gallery and a library, with musical instruments thrown in. Memories of being read to–story time was important when we were kids–and then arguing which one got to practice on the newer upstairs piano rather than the old-timey one in the basement. And later, when cello, violin, trumpet, voice lessons, track and wrestling, sewing lessons and play practice were added. How did my folks find the time, with their teaching schedules, to give us such wonderful gifts of creativity to explore?

Pets, too, of course–Shelties now gone for years that taught me about dog training and patience, and still prompt tears when stories are fondly shared. My Dad, a long retired elementary music teacher, has become a recognized pastel artist, and one of Mom’s most cherished pictures is the portrait of all the Shelties together: Pickles, Mac, Chad and Skye.

Living on the river, I could sneak away in the canoe to perch in my “reading tree” out of sight for lazy summertime hours. Baby bunnies rescued, turtles and snakes caught and released, river snails the size of your fist–and college fees times three. I am in awe, and a bit weepy thinking back.

We spent time this past weekend looking through a family genealogy, marveling at our ancestors, and how far they’d traveled to meet their future spouses and raise families. And I learned that my Mom, born and raised in Kentucky, had also taken a chance and left her family for a teaching job in Indiana more than 60 years ago–and there she met Dad.

GOOD GENES & LUCK

With cats and dogs, we have the luxury of reviewing pedigrees and choosing ideal pet parent matches–but even then, anything can happen. Humans are more in line with the “lovable mutts” that just happen to get together. What results can be good, bad, or hopefully a happy accident.

I am me because of my parents, and my brothers. How lucky that my ancestors took a chance on coming to a new country, and that my Mom left her family during an era when most young women stayed home and married a neighbor. They still love life, my parents, and it shows in all they do–and I pray they’ll continue to stay healthy for another decade and beyond. Neither looks or acts their age and if I’m sometimes silly or act quirky well–it’s THEIR gene pool! And I’m proud and lucky to be a part of it.

Friends sometimes share with me their sorrow, anger, or indifference that they’ve lost touch or are not close with their families. That makes me sad–and also makes me feel even more lucky to have the parents and brothers that I have.

I see myself in them, in how I was raised, and the decisions I made to arrive at this place in my life. I, too, left home. But I took home with me. It’s who I am. All the things I love most in life–pets, music, art, puns and laughter, theater and bling, books and stories, love and honesty–all comes from them. With a pedigree like that, I am indeed blessed.

Oh, I did get my laptop back. Just lucky, I guess!

When was the last time you had a family reunion? Do tell!

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

5 Comments

    • Amy Shojai

      I know it was hard for my Mom living several hours’ drive away from family in Kentucky and for many years, our “Southern Side” family held reunions. I was only able to attend a couple, but it was wonderful. Yes, it’s lots of work but now with just the two of us, we don’t always do the traditions that celebrate those memories. Kind of hard to have a turkey for two…and then eat on it for a week or more, LOL! That’s why each family creates its own traditions, to add on/augment what’s already there.

  1. Patricia

    Amy what you have shared about growing up, your life and family is absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever read. I must say I’ve had a complete ugly cry gully washer. When I was born me and my parents lived upstairs and I had a set of grandparents, great grandparents and 2 uncles who lived downstairs. I was close to my dad and great grandparents growing up. My last great grandparent died when I was 16. My mother never wanted to be close. She verbally abused me and abandoned me for 3 years and missed my graduation. She finally started getting close a couple of years before she died and then comes that fateful call at 6:00 A.M. 2 days before Christmas that she had died unexpectedly in her sleep. I was 29 and less than 2 years later my dad dies. I never held anything against my mom – I loved her but I needed her. You had such a wonderful childhood with great parents. Being an only child it was not easy after my parents died. Thank God my best friend and her mother helped me a lot. I was closer to my dad but it hurt me worse to lose my mother. My nearest relative is an aunt and cousins. I keep in contact with my aunt who lives here. We used to get together on the holidays but she along with me can’t do all that cooking anymore and her 2 daughters won’t. I wish people could realize that life is short. I’m on my downhill side of my journey now and I don’t want any regrets at the end. I’m so glad your family has so much love and compassion for one another. Amy, Thank you for being so sharing of your life with us. You truly did have the best childhood anyone could have and you’re right – YOU ARE BLESSED! I’m looking forward to my first family reunion after this life when I get to Heaven. I’m sorry I got so wordy.

    • Amy Shojai

      Oh Patricia, my heart aches for you! So many families have similar experiences, growing apart or not the best suited for parenthood. (Honestly, that’s why all my “kids” have fur!).

      But what’s glorious is that families are not only genetic–they also are chosen. And you can choose those who celebrate and support who you are like your best friend, your aunt, and others. {{{{hugs}}}}

  2. Patricia

    Amy you’re so right about families also being chosen. God has been so good to me over the years. He has never put more on me than I’ve been able to bear but sometimes I’ve wondered. Sometimes I wish I had married and had children but I’ve always felt that for whatever reason, that was not in God’s plan for me. I’m sure he knew what he was doing by not giving me any kids. I’ve always called my cats my kids and they have brought me so much happiness and love and we’re not tooting our own horns but you and I are awesome pet parents!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Remembering When: Mom and Dad, I Love You ForeverAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] I am a product of my parents. The writing, the music, performing, stained glass and wood carving, love of…

Categories:

Recent Posts

4 Kinds of Cat Aggression, and How To Keep the Peace

Cat aggression? Yikes! When a snuggle-puss turns into a snarling ball of claws, owners are at a loss to understand or deal with cat aggression. You wonder, why does my cat bite me? Besides hurt feelings, cat aggression can cause injuries or cause the cat to lose a loving home.

Health issues including pain or hyperthyroidism can cause aggression. Any sudden personality change demands a veterinary exam. But cats don’t aggress because they’re mean—they always have a good reason, whether or not it makes sense to humans. Recognize these 4 common types of cat aggression and learn how to keep the peace.

Chiropractic Care & Back Problems: Home Treatment Tips

Chiropractic care…do you use it? In the past I’ve had back issues and got relief after visiting my chiropractor. Chiropractic care works as well in pets as in people, too. In fact, many people with performance dogs regularly schedule chiropractic treatments for their canine athletes..

Cat chiropractic care may not happen as often. After all, felines practice their own form of yoga to stay limber. They’re also much lighter weight than many dogs, and perhaps that puts less strain on their bodies. Read on for some home care techniques that can help your pets.

Love Thrillers? Reminder about Emily Kimelman & Sydney Rye Series

👀 I spy a steal…I’m head-down in the plotting/writing of my next SEPTEMBER & SHADOW THRILLER #7! Lots of “schtuff” keeps sidetracking me from finishing DARE OR DIE, but hope to get the next story into your hands this spring. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder I’ve lined up some more great books for your reading pleasure. If you love crime and thriller stories with dogs (hey, you’re reading mine, right?) check out Emily Kimelman’s gritty Sydney Rye Mysteries, too. Oh my doG, tail-waging grrrreat fun.

The tagline of the series gets me every time: Sydney Rye and her dog exact justice with a vengeance. The dog doesn’t die, but the bad guys do.

I get that question a lot about my September & Shadow thriller series, too. So I borrowed (stole?!) the line from Emily and include it whenever folks ask. I also loved what she says about the dog “aging out” in the book…that it’s FICTION so the dog can live forever! (Heck, I just may steal that, too…don’t hate me, Emily!). Read on for a great deal on her books!

How to Leash Train Cats

Why would you want to leash train cats and confine kitties from stalking and pouncing? Isn’t that mean? Actually, it’s not cruel, but without proper introduction, it can be a wee bit scary. In my Complete Kitten Care book, I call this LIBERATION TRAINING. Teaching your new cat to walk on a leash is a safety issue, but also means they get to venture beyond the confines of your house and into the yard and beyond.

This week during a cat consult, a pet parent asked about training her cat to walk on a leash. It’s always a good time to revisit the notion. An adult cat won’t automatically understand the concept, though, so this blog not only explains the benefits of leash training to YOU, it also helps you purr-suade your cats to get a new leash on life. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Dog Choking & Cat Choking: First Aid & Pet Heimlich Help

Have your pets ever choked on something they chew? Shadow-Pup loves to chew up inedible objects, no matter how much we supervise. Learn how to administer the pet Heimlich to save a life!

When Karma-Kat came to live with us, that put lots of cat toys within Magical-Dawg’s reach. Seren had never been too keen on such things and she was already nine years old when Magic came as a puppy. He loved to swipe Seren’s “sparkle-balls” and ended up with sparkly poop. Once Karma’s toys added to the kitty quotient, the big ol’ dog had a field day seeing how many cat toys he could stuff into his jaws.

Bravo played with rocks. And the new puppy Shadow loves to chew sticks. He’s already got one caught in the roof of his mouth. That’s the perfect opportunity for choking, and a need for the pet Heimlich. I hope that we’ll never need it, though. In case you do, read on!

Do Readers Care Why I Write

Do readers care why writers write? One time at a writer conference, that question was asked and an overwhelming response was, “I write because I HAVE to write, it’s  compulsion, I must write…” And an agent on the panel responded, “They have medication for that now.”

Ba-da-boom. *rimshot*

My audience doesn’t read. Well, unless you count dogs and cats chewing up or (ahem) “being creative” on paper. And of course, cats “read” by sitting on top of the words and absorbing the text through their furry nether regions.

Yvonne DiVita tagged me years ago in the “Why I Write” blog hop. I know Yvonne through the terrific BlogPaws.com organization she co-founded, but today you’ll find Yvonne at NurturingBigIdeas. As I updated several out-of-date blog posts, I found this one as true today as when first written more than a decade ago. I talk more about my writer’s journey at my website, but here’s the crib notes. *s*

Why Dogs Bark & How to Stop A Dog from Barking

Do you know how to stop dog barking? “Will you please, for the love of doG, stop barking!” When Shadow-Pup joined our family, he and Bravo-Dawg egged each other on. Now that he’s the only dog, he and the cat tease each other and prompt bark-fest and meow-athons.

We love our dogs, but when noisy dogs get revved up, dog barking can drive us nuts. Shadow has a “demand attention” barking problem that shatters glass. He also loves barking at squirrels and tells on Karma-Kat when the cat gets on a counter, and at us when we can’t read his mind.

So what’s the answer–how to stop a dog from barking? The key to stop barking includes understanding why dogs bark.

Scaredy Cat? Teaching Shrinking Violet Shy Cats

Do you have a scaredy cat? Working with fearful and scared cats can be a challenge. Does Sheba hiss at strangers? Does Tom dive under the bed when the doorbell rings? Do your kitties attack other pets (or humans)? What can you do to stop bad behavior if even a mild correction sends the cat into fearful meltdown? Alexa posted her Ask Amy question to my Facebook page, and the answer is in today’s video.

Helping Shy & Scaredy Cats

We often feel that our fur-kids must have been abused and feel bad to make THEM feel bad. But they still need to know limits. One of my favorite ways to train is using positive rewards. Instead of waiting for kitty to scratch the wrong object and then interrupting the behavior–why not REWARD her when she scratches the RIGHT object?

Using kitty clicker training can also build confidence in shy cats by teaching them what happens is in their paws. Here are more tips for dealing with scared cats.

Cat Neatness Freaks: How & Why Cats Groom

Does your cat groom nonstop? We cherish the cat’s fastidious nature but did you ever wonder why cats groom? Neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. Did you know in this hot weather, cats also groom to stay cool and prevent heatstroke? 

How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional, and social health. My Karma-Kat even tries to groom his best friend, Bravo-Dawg. The instinct starts during kittenhood and lasts a lifetime. Of course, some cats get dingy when cats don’t groom, and there are reasons for that as well.

Grooming is a barometer of kitty health. Cats that feel bad often stop grooming, or lick and pull fur out due to stress or pain. Consider an unthrifty appearance or “barbering” themselves bald a kitty cry for vet care. Cats often need help in the grooming department—especially longhair beauties. Here are 5 common reasons why cats groom.

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships