“Nate & Zeke…we have to name the puppy, do you have any ideas?”
“Mommy, I think we should call her Sprinkles. No, Sweetie Pie. NO…CUTIE PIE!! Because she’s so cute.”
“That’s a really sweet name, Nate. What do you think about that, Daddy?”
“Eh hem…I think Zeke should have a suggestion. What do you think, Zeke?”
“She smells like cake. I think we should name her Cake.”
Mark is grimacing at every suggestion. In a whisper-growl to me he says,
“I always picture myself with a big, beefy dog. Like a Mastiff or something. It’s bad enough we have a 4 lbs dog called a YorkiePoo…I’m not yelling, ‘Here, Cutie Pie….’!! And there will be no pink collars or bows!”
“OK, calm down John Wayne. Hey boys, it’s Daddy’s turn to suggest a name. What do you think we should call the puppy, Daddy?”
“Well, she looks like an Ewok to me. How about Wicket?”
“She DOES look like an Ewok, Daddy! But Wicket was a boy Ewok…our puppy is a girl.”
“Well Nate, we could make it a girl name by adding a ‘te’. She could be Wickette”
“What do you think of that name, Zeke?”
“I like Star Wars, so I like it. Mommy?”
“When Wickette dies…can we get a kitty cat?”
We really thought we would take more time “off”…but our will was no match for the “melt-your-heart” power Nate & Zeke possess. Just one gaze from their saucer-sized (blink, blink) eyes…will block the practical messages sent screaming from your parent brain and replace them with the “I’ll-say-yes-to-anything-that-will-make-you-happy-and-hug-me” response from the Mommy heart.
March 17th. St. Patrick’s Day. Both Nate & Zeke had soccer games. Same time…different fields. But that’s a rant for a different day.
Me on the phone to Mark:
“Hey, how’s Nate’s game going? Zeke just kicked an assisted goal!”
“Who assisted him?”
“Nate’s game just ended. They lost. We need a fun activity and FAST!”
“Well, let’s go over to Market St. and see what’s going on for St. Patrick’s Day.”
So we scoop up the kids and head over. Turn the corner onto the main Street in Celebration and BAM! I felt like I was hit with a bat. There in front of me was not a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but a festival called “The Posh Pooch”. The street was lined with tents set up holding all things dog. Just two weeks after losing Dublin and we were surrounded by dogs and their owners celebrating their love and companionship. If I had seen this scene in a movie I would have yelled at the screen, “OH, COME ON! REALLY?!!!”
I felt my bottom lip start to quiver. I looked at Mark and he was doing the “I’m a tough man who doesn’t cry, throat clearing, foot shuffling and hard swallows.” Just as I was spinning on my heels to run and save my family from this nightmare, I hear Nate’s sweet little voice,
“Mommy! Look! That little dog has a hat on! Can I go pet him? Pleeeeeease?”
“Well…uh…Nate, maybe we should….”
Zeke interrupts me with, “Mommy! This dog is smooching me! Can I give him a hug?”
I look at Mark. He shrugs his shoulders. “Wanna just look around?”
“Uuuuhhhh…I…guess I can try. Do you have a tissue?”
We start walking and I have to admit I was enjoying seeing the boys so excited about the dogs. Dublin was over 10 when Nate was born. She was never really a “kid” dog. To them, she was a pile of hair that followed Mommy around the house. It was awesome to see them playing and giggling with the young pups.
I was starting to feel better. Maybe this was good therapy. Then I looked up and saw a tent across the street. It was our Vets’ booth. My chest tightened and I tried to look away. Too late…the Vet’s receptionist that was manning the booth locked eyes with me. She waved. I faked a smile and forced my hand to wave back. Then (this happened in slow motion) she cupped her hands to her mouth and yelled,
“MRS. HOOPER, WE HAVE DUBLIN’S REMAINS AT THE OFFICE FOR YOU…WHEN DO YOU WANT TO COME PICK THEM UP?”
I think it’s actually against the law in Celebration to cry in public, so I ran. I grabbed hands of people around me, hoping they were my kids and ran.
We turned the corner and nearly fell into a coral of puppies. Nate gasped,
“Aaaaahhhh…Mommy…PUPPIES!!! Pleeeease can I pet one? Pleeeease…I’ll be your best friend!”
“Mommy, I can pet the puppy too. I will be very careful not to kill it.”
“OK, OK, OK…but I can’t promise I won’t cry all over them.”
The volunteer at the Poodles and Pooches rescue center handed my eldest son the cutest ball of fur on the face of the Earth.
“Mommy! This is the puppy I’ve always wanted for my whole, entire life.” (Blink, blink)
Oh, come on! I have a body FILLED with estrogen…how am I supposed to handle this?
“Mommy, is it my turn to hold the puppy so carefully?”
“Yes, Zeke. It’s your turn. Let me give you a lesson on puppy holding, OK?”
I said that, forgetting it would mean my hands would actually have to touch the puppy. The downy-soft puppy hair. That I would have to be so close to the puppy that I couldn’t help but to breath in her puppy breath; smell her puppy head. (gulp) This was going to be very dangerous.
Oh no. Her hair felt like Dublin’s. She looked like what I had always imagined Dublin looked like as a puppy. My head was screaming, “RUN!!! You’re not ready!” But my heart was shooting out little strings that were wrapping themselves around this sweet little girl…
“Here, Zeke…your turn”
“Mommy, this dog loves me so much. Look…I’m holding her and she’s not getting dead.”
“You’re doing a great job, Zeke. The puppy feels very safe. Mark, look at Zeke…Mark? Mark? What are you doing?”
“I’m filling out the online forms to adopt her.”
(Sigh) The circle of life, people…the circle of life.