Thursday, March 1

Leaving the Babies Behind

We're leaving for DC this morning -- almost this very moment, in fact. And I'm incredibly excited to set off into the sunshine, to put on some tunes, to talk about where we'll eat and what we'll do with all these free days we have before us. The sort of freedom we haven't had in ages. Freedom that boggles the tied-down mind.

There will be no work, no alarms, no canine mouths to feed. No lunch trips back to the house so the canine bladders can be relieved. No curfew. (I know I'm not getting any sympathy from the readers who are actual mothers here, haha).

It's going to be a wonderful trip, I can feel it in me bones.


Here's the rub: there is a twinge of sadness too. You see, I joke about being the crazy dog lady, but the fact of the matter is -- I really might be. 

Because it feels like two very important parts of our family of four will be absent on this trip, and I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that my throat is a little tight as I get ready to say goodbye to them. We're just leaving for five days, and they are in the kindly and very capable hands of my in-laws. They'll have a fantastic time -- there's room for them to run, and they're with each other. (Oh, and also, they're dogs Carrie... sheesh).

But they won't be with us. And it feels like a big piece of our Stevenson puzzle is about to go missing.

I was incredibly worn-down and my nerves were stretched thin for weeks after bringing Teddy home. He was barking a lot. He was having accidents left and right. He didn't understand any commands yet. Sometimes I even wondered if we made the right decision when we chose to get another puppy. 

Something funny has been happening lately though. Nothing has changed on the surface. He still barks every morning in his crate. He still has some accidents. He's really only reliable with "sit" so far. But these things don't matter as much now. Because, just like with Bailey, we've fallen in love with him.

(And really, can you blame us?!?)

I love the way he turns his head almost completely sideways when I make high-pitched noises, and the way he paws my finger when I push on his nose and say "BOOP." I love the way Bailey shakes a toy over his head to get him to play, and the way he trots after her and tries to keep up. I love the soft, happy grunting noise he makes when we come home and let him out of the crate... before he even runs off to pee after holding it for hours on end, he snuggles his head into my chest and makes lots of "mrrrrrrrr"ing sounds while I tell him what a good boy he is.

Usually when we leave the house, their puppy dog eyes and their whines are just so pitiful and heartbreaking that we toss a few ice cube treats into their crates and sneak away while they're chowing down, like thieves in the night. 

(Come to think of it, they probably do this on purpose -- they're on to us and our guilt!)

It's going to be much the same this morning. Less painful for everyone involved if -- rather than the drawn-out, cooing, and emotional goodbye I could easily go for -- we make it distracted and fast.

I'm going to miss Bailey terribly. But she's done this before, this separation from us. On our honeymoon, when she was 8 months old or so. Teddy is 12 weeks. Teddy is a baby.

Teddy is by nature a lot tougher than Bailey, though, and probably won't give a hoot about us once we walk out that door. Bailey will have a great time too. It's not like I think they'll be laying in their crates wondering where we are and what we're doing. 

And why we left them (wahhhhh). 

I know that's not the way it is. But that's the way it feels.

So I fully intend to relish these next few rested mornings, the carefree days, the late nights. The clothing free from golden retriever hair, which laughs in the face of lint rollers and vacuums. I will remember that they are enjoying themselves immensely "out in the country," as Pete likes to say. I will do all of these things with enthusiasm and abandon...

...and once this trip is over, I probably won't take a vacation for another year. There's only so much relaxation and carefree fun a girl can take, right?

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