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Chapter 30


Normally in April, I write about Easter and the themes surrounding it: New Life, emerging from the cold of Winter to enjoy the freshness and growth of Spring. But 2024 is one of those rare years where Easter fell on the final day of March, so what am I going to write about?

A quick Google search revealed a variety of topics including National Gardening Month. Yes, Gabe still digs up flowers at nearly 2.5 years old. He probably always will. National Stress Awareness Week also occurs in April. Gabe is an interesting phenomenon when it comes to stress because he both causes and reduces stress simultaneously.

The one event that is happening in April that I most closely relate to is National Humor Month. That’s because I love to laugh. One of my favorite Bible verses says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  A good motto to live by is that if you can laugh about it someday, go ahead and laugh about it now. It makes life a lot easier.

I have often thought if I weren’t a writer, I would love to be a Stand Up…err I mean Sit Down comedian. I could write my own jokes. I would get to travel and I could make people laugh all while helping them realize that disability is not a dirty word. We have hopes and dreams and make meaningful contributions to society just like everyone else. That niche has already been filled, however, as Josh Blue is a wonderful comedian with Cerebral Palsy. He likes to push the envelope a bit, but as someone with Cerebral Palsy, I find him hilarious and very relatable.

Gabe and I make time to laugh together every day. I know Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can’t physically laugh, but he constantly seems to have a wagging tail and an open-mouthed grin on his face. That makes me wonder. Whenever he does something like steal the hamburger buns out of the car after a trip to the grocery store or chew on the Easter Bunny we were planning to use for decorations, I am tempted to get mad. Then I realize that is Gabe just being Gabe and Mom and I have a good laugh about it. I’m pretty sure Gabe does too, in his own way. Life with a Chessie is never boring.

I am in no way implying that life is always fun and games and full of laughter. It’s not. In fact, sometimes life can be very serious and difficult to navigate. I agree with what former NC State Men’s Basketball coach Jim Valvano said.
“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.”

You have to find that balance. I don’t laugh all the time. Sometimes I cry and that’s a good thing. When I do, Gabe is right there to give me a hug, lick away my tears and then give me a bath with his tongue. It’s hard to be sad for long with Gabe around.

Given the choice, I would rather laugh than cry. Laughter has gotten me through some tough times in the past and I’m sure it will again in the future. Now I have Gabe by my side to laugh along with me. That’s something I am thankful for during National Humor Month and all year long.

Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats has plenty of reasons to celebrate! They have won second place in the SEED20 Event and as a result, received a 7,000 dollar grant. I’m proud to be part of such a wonderful organization. Yes, they provide healthy, wholesome and delicious treats for your dog, but Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats is so much more. It is appropriate that SEED20 took place in the early Spring because I  can’t wait to see how this grant will be used to help Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats blossom and grow, reaching even more people with the message and mission of inclusion for those of us in the disabled community.

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