Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tally and Moose

We've been in the middle of this move now for what seems like forever. It started last fall when the phone call came in that David was requested to work in Jakarta. Quickly followed a trip to Indonesia to gather information. We had many discussions about how this would effect our lives (specifically the distance from our family), and the big one that we didn't want to mention: what to do with Moose and Tally. Now if you are NOT a dog lover . . . just stop reading now. In our family we love our dogs a lot. They are treated well, cared for with great concern, and only left when absolutely necessary. Since I don't work outside the home I have plenty of time to make their lives full of walks, ball toss sessions, and loving pats. They are my constant companions. If they look a little bit bored I take them in the car with me on errands. Moose faces forwards; Tally faces backwards. I know all their habits. In Calgary where they had to wear boots to protect their feet from the sub zero temperatures Moose was happy to get his boots on; Tally acted like I was punishing her. When we got though outside she was skipping and hopping like a kid with new tennis shoes. They made her run faster and jump higher! It really was hilarious. But sadly those days are no more. It isn't right to put dogs who are 10 and 12 years old through all it would involve to move them to a hot country with no parks, or even side walks. They would be scared and in shock making the 30+ hour trip to get there. They would be hot, bored, without good veterinary care, and would live out their lives in a very limited environment. So the decision had to be made concerning what to do with them. Finally, Moose went to live with Paul and Tucker; Tally to Atlanta with K, D, and G. They seem to be doing Okay. Wish I could say the same for myself.

All my life I have loved my dogs. When I was in first grade my brother and I got off the school bus one day and found a bag of puppies tied up in a feed sack! We, or course, took them across the road to our farm house. It was like winning the lottery for a first graders. I had a sack full of puppies, a treasure that someone else tired to throw away in a cruel fashion. I got to keep one which I named Sally. That's right, after the "Dick, Jane, and Sally" readers of the early 1960's. I loved that dog with all my heart. She let me do anything to her including putting bonnets on her. When she was happy and excited she would twist her mouth into what could only be perceived as a doggie smile. What a dog.

Now I am without my Tally girl. It has been a couple of months since she went to Atlanta. I still sense her around the corner when I move through the house. I find myself waking up on the couch at midnight with the TV on because she isn't there to nudge me. At 9:45 on the dot she would always tell me to wake up. That wet nose indicating it was time to go upstairs to bed. I miss the relaxation I always felt of listening to her full out snoring on the floor. I miss seeing how much real estate that dog could manage to take up in the middle of a room when she crashed for a nap. I miss it all. I feel like I have betrayed her trust; betrayed her good hearted, full out, no-holes-barred Labrador love.

Please God, let her live a long healthy life so that I can bring her back home again when this is over; let Moose enjoy the two and half acres in Washington where he can sniff the breeze. Let them not think too much that we left them; and help me to stop crying everyday over my four legged best friends. Seriously.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This one is for Monday's Child

Thirty years ago tomorrow I had a morning doctor's appointment. I was nearing the birth of our second child. It was coming down to the once a week appointment when you feel like you ought to have gone into labor yesterday. We didn't know the sex of the baby since it was before such things became the norm. We already had an adorable little blond-headed boy who was 20- months-old. He could say, "the baby is coming out of mommy's tummy" in his little precocious toddler voice. We already had all the necessary baby items from his recent birth. I hadn't purchased anything new, but I had handled everything pink that JC Penny's carried in the baby department. It's a wonder they didn't ask me to leave the pink sleepers alone since I was going almost daily to pick them up and put them down again. We didn't have the budget to buy just anything we had a whim to buy. We did have the budget to buy groceries, gas, pay our bills, and go out to eat once each paycheck, but no money for pink sleepers that might have to be returned. We'd never been happier. Budget, smuget. Our toddler gave us joy on a daily basis; Our lives of building this little family stretched ahead of us as a world of possibilities. But I couldn't get "pink" off my mind. I was afraid to hope, afraid to think of myself bundling up big brother and little sister to go out in the Colorado snow to play. Now DON'T get me wrong. I would have loved another little boy with all my heart (and I do love my second boy with all my heart), but I had "pink" fever. Bad. I grew up with all boys, three brothers. I WANTED A GIRL. I WANTED TINY PINK SLEEPERS! I could only think in a whisper about the dresses I would sew . . . little white collars . . . little smocked jumper . . . all worn with little Mary Jane shoes.

I went to that appointment while a friend watched big brother in waiting. I thought I would be back in an hour or so. However when the doctor did his examination he said I wasn't going anywhere except to the hospital. Those contractions I had been having weren't Braxton Hicks after all. I had driven myself to the appointment but no one was letting me drive away. David had taken the bus to work that day as usual. I had to call him to come to the doctor's office and escort me to the hospital pronto. He managed to find a ride with a friend (who was single at the time and wasn't accustomed to such emergencies:). Long story short, we finally got to the hospital and got on with the business of birth. After about 12 hours of labor it was time for the great push. (With all three of my babies I was a good pusher. I guess I can be proud of that since I was a terrible laborer). So, push I did. Out she came. Out SHE came. SHE. As in, SHE will be wearing PINK. My obstetrician was a real kidder so when he said, "it's a girl," I didn't believe him. I asked about ten times if he was sure "it" was a girl. Finally David said "Sherri, it's a girl" and I believed him. My dreams of bundling up big brother and little sister had come true. We had a beautiful little girl to be little sister to our beautiful little boy. I was so excited that I didn't sleep that night. I looked at her a million times. Ok, I must confess. I didn't look at my first born a million times because after 30+ hours of labor having him I was dead to the world. With baby #3 (Thursday's child) I knew from experience to get all the sleep I could get while in the hospital. Apologies to my boys.

Anyway, here we are 30 years later. Monday's child now has a child of her own. She did wear a zillion dresses that I made for her. She always thought they were wonderful, beautiful, and never wanted dresses from the store rather than the ones I made for her. She had at least 15 pairs of Mary Jane shoes over the years, though her favorite shoes were always her red Keds with the bumper toes. By the age of three she could strike a pose worthy of a magazine while I draped a bolt of fabric around her to see if it "was her color." She was also able to hold her own with any of the boys. She could jump off the diving board at age three. She broke her arm rounding third base. She was a heck of a soccer player. She hung in there to get an engineering degree, and then a master's to boot.

So, here is to Monday's child . . . May you enter your thirties with grace and wisdom, and wearing pink (or at least some girlie color that looks good on you:).

Love you.