Our house just hasn't been the same since Delmar passed away. Immediately after he died, I swore I'd never get another dog. It just felt too painful to think of losing another dog one day. Then I started to realize that having a dog was part of what kept me sane on this insane roller coaster that is life. Delmar was my therapy dog. He loved me unconditionally. Unlike my darling children, he didn't complain if his dinner was late. He didn't poop in the bathtub or create crayon artwork on the walls. He was always in a good mood. Always.
A few weeks ago I started looking around at some of the local rescue groups. The rescue group where we adopted Delmar didn't really have any dogs that fit our criteria. Lots of puppies but let's just say puppies were a big NO for me. I wasn't asking for much, just a housetrained, young adult dog that is great with kids and loves to ride in the car. Ha!
We waited and then I saw a local rescue group was fostering an 18-month old black lab named Buddy. They'd found him in a dumpster in rural Georgia. They said he was gentle, calm, and great with kids. We said we had to meet him. When he came to our house, tail wagging, and didn't bark, run, jump, or chase any of the herd of small children, we knew he was "the one." Actually, we had several neighbor children at our house when he came to meet us for the first time and he was not phased by it at all.
Christmas in a house with many young children is pretty much chaos. We opted to wait and bring Buddy to our home after Christmas. On Friday he came to stay and we made him Number Nine. The kids wanted to name him Odie but we ended up combining Buddy and Odie and getting Bodie.
Poor guy has no idea how his life has changed. He's a lucky boy. Welcome to the House of Twinsanity, Bodie!
At times in this crazy journey that is parenthood I've had 4 kids under age four, 6 kids under six, or 8 kids under twelve. I've had two or three or five kids in diapers. I've breastfed 4 little ones at the same time. (Well, not exactly at the same time... they took turns in pairs, obviously.) I have a van full of car seats and yet I still remember what life was like with "just" one.
A few days ago I looked sincerely into the store clerk's eyes as she rang up my purchase and I told her how hard it was with one child. It was. I remember the fear that overcame me as I buckled tiny, newborn Matthew into his car seat twelve years ago. I remember wincing with every bump in the road as I huddled over his seat in the back of the car, sure that he'd break if we didn't drive more slowly, while Jason took us home for the first time. I remember spending my nights awake, watching him breathe, afraid to sleep for fear that something would happen to him. I remember being shocked and scared that I was allowed to take this baby home, that I was responsible for his LIFE. I remember the awful adjustment to sleepness nights, the awkward moments of breastmilk soaking through my shirt at work, the pain of leaving my baby, the overwhelming responsibility, and the realization that I was somebody's mother. We survived potty training, weaning, and the toddler years. He learned how to walk and talk and I learned how to let go a little bit. I taught him to read and write. He taught me to trust in my own instincts and accept my imperfections. We both learned from our mistakes. We both grew up. And here we are, 12 years later, and I remember how HARD it has been sometimes but I am so grateful for this experience together.