Monday, September 30, 2013

It doesn't fit

It doesn't fit.

It's a pair of pants that digs in when I try to sit down, but I can't take them off.

I vacuum, and the canister barely collects any dust.

When I roll out of bed, I automatically watch my feet to make sure I don't step on any paws.

When I walk into a room, my ears strain to hear the thump-thump-thump of a tail wagging against the carpet.

When I cut the crust off of Topher's sandwich, I gather up the pieces in my hand and inhale, readying myself to call out her name.

But she isn't there and it doesn't fit.

I never realized the enormous silence she was always fighting off.  I never realized how sterile our home would feel without her.  I never really knew that she could leave.

It's silly, isn't it?  This is the inevitable ending of the story when you have a pet.  There is no magic spell to grant them youth eternal.  But I forgot to read ahead in the book.  I didn't want to.  And so I nearly forgot about the ending.  It surprised me, even though everyone knows the story by heart.  

And now that we are at the end of the book, it doesn't fit.  I've missed a step, and I keep stumbling.

I hope she is happy.  I hope that my Nana is feeding her table scraps and that my uncle is running with her on a beach somewhere.  I hope she knows that our family is not the same, that it will never feel quite right without her.

It doesn't fit, but we need to adjust to the new feeling, uncomfortable though it may be.  Or at least resign ourselves to it.

We love her, but she is not here to love, and it will never fit.

I miss my Sassy-pants.

 She was a perfect fit.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Best Nine Years

Hand resting on a barrel-chest, buried in fur, feeling the labored pounding of a large heart.  Leaning in closer to smell the top of her head one more time, the perfect combination of puppies and hay.  Listening painfully to the rapid panting, wishing it could stop.  Terrified for it to stop.

Leaning in closer to whisper our love, but it was never a secret.  

You're a good girl.  You've never done anything wrong.  We were so lucky to be your family.  You're going to feel better soon.  Mommy is right here.  We love you, Sassy.  We love you so much.

Placing our son's hand over Sassy's paw.  Stroking those velvety ears again and again.

Feeling her body relax, and then the silence.  The silence that would spread from the building into our car and into our home and come to rest beside my bed, along the kitchen floor, down the steps of the deck.

A whole lifetime of memories crowding in to squeeze my heart too hard.  Watching her run on the beach, the purest joy I have ever witnessed.  Turning out the lights to watch a movie, and hearing her grab a squeaky toy and start chorusing for attention.  Carrying her like a baby through downtown Seattle.  Watching her delicately sniffing each flower along our walk.  Introducing her to snow, and watching the exhilaration of discovering what you were built for.  Nights crowded into bed with her.  Days spent in constant conversation to her.  Every meal attended with eager eyes.  Every cry attended by a warm face pressed to mine.  Every door opening overseen by a happy greeter.  Every interaction so ingrained into daily life that we feel thrown at every turn.  Her name jumping to my lips, my stomach clenching to stop myself.  Where is the body that leans against my legs?  Where is the face that I wake up to, leaning over my side of the bed, sniffing good morning?  Where is the happiness that roamed from room to room, from nap to nap?

Sassymuffin, for nine years we have been enamored with you.  You were our panda bear, our clown, our sweet little girl.  The most noble breed.  We watched you watching a grasshopper, then curiously put your enormous paw on it.  When you lifted your paw, he continued jumping away without a scratch.  You were born gentle, you lived gentle, and you will wait gently for us now.  Of that we are certain.

There has never been a better dog.  We thank our Lord for creating you, for sending you to us, and even for the pain we are feeling now.  It means you were real, and it means you changed our lives.  It means that we will clearly remember every detail of you until you lean into us again, and we won't have to remember anymore.


Monday, September 16, 2013

The First Game

Topher began his soccer career on Saturday.  

We were so excited.  We LOVED how he looked in his shin guards and soccer socks.

We got there at 10 am, right on time, only to find out that our coach told us the wrong time.  So we had to kill 3 hours (shopping and lunch), and by the time we got back to soccer at 1 pm, I could tell Topher was very tired.

But despite being rather timid with his kicks, he seemed fine during the warmup:

He was even fine into the game for awhile:

Was I worried about the ambient noise?  Yes.  But really, he was fine.

Until the crowd's first big cheer.  And then the first loud whistle.  Combined with the tiredness.

Meltdown.  Run out to the car and dig some ear plugs out of the glovebox.  They are adult size, so I tried my best to roll them up tiny and shove them into his ears.

It worked for a little bit.  Maybe too well, as he seemed to be in his own little world.  He couldn't hear the coach and he appeared to be dancing when all the other boys were fighting over the ball.  (This is when mommy slaps a hand to her forehead and shakes her head back and forth.)

But when finally, the ear plugs began to fall out and would not stay in, we had to give up.  He was inconsolable.  And then screaming when we carried him out.  I haven't seen him so upset and tired in a LONG time.  It was very sad. 

So we went home.  We rested in bed for 30 minutes until we were calm again.  We made a plan to make next week better.  We will do three things this week:

1.  Practice kicking the soccer ball out on a field with daddy
2.  Find child-size earplugs that reduce noise without creating total isolation
3.  Pray before the next game (this was Topher's idea and I love him for it)

So to recap our first foray into sports: show up excited, deflate when your game isn't for 3 more hours, get really tired waiting for it, play okay for awhile, meltdown at the loud noises, try to recover, meltdown again, leave the game early.

Topher, I'm sorry that was your first experience.  Sometimes a first try at anything can be a little rough, even for adults.  We will do better (all of us) next week.  I'm still--always--so proud of you.

Love, Mommy