Although it does not fit Painted Maypole's theme all that well, this morning I am posting something that just making it up as i go wrote. It started as a newspaper article, and she reposted it on her blog last February. I am repeating it here because it's one of her best. Just Making It Up is the blogger who is so very ill, and for whom we are soliciting prayers and positive thoughts. (Thanks so much, LM!)
And here she is:
I am 34 years old. Yesterday, I welcomed a new sibling into the family, and I have to confess, I am just a little bit jealous.
It isn’t as weird as it sounds. My father hasn’t found himself someone else and decided to start a whole new family. My parents have been happily married for more than 35 years.
Instead, they have gotten themselves a puppy. His name is Winston.
My parents have had dogs before. I grew up with a boxer named, of all things, Rover. They inherited him from my grandmother when my grandfather died.
He lay around the house, an untrained lump who allowed the children to jump on him and pull hi ears. He was walked whenever someone mustered up the energy to be dragged down the street with him wheezing and frothing at the mouth as he strained at his collar. That wasn’t often.
After Rover when to doggy heaven, my parents waited a few years before the answered a “free to a good home” ad in the paper and brought home Toby, a mad little Cairn terrier who barked at everything that moved and tore the newspaper to shreds if he was lucky enough to get to it first. Toby was walked more often because he was small enough to control on a leash.
As he grew older, he would become abruptly exhausted half way through his walks and simply lie down on the road, requiring whoever was walking him to carry him back home.
A few years ago, Toby also died, leaving my parents dog-free once again. This time, worn out from having to get up at 4:30 am to deal with the urgent needs of an aging dog’s bladder and frustrated with having to find someone to look after him while they went on vacation, my parents declared themselves animal-free. No kids, no dogs: the good life.
Still, I was not enormously surprised when, this past spring, my mother announced that they were once again getting a dog. But this time things were different.
My parents, while they have always been ‘dog people,’ have up until now treated their dogs like dogs. However, Winston is clearly, in their eyes, no mere dog. Winston is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Cavalier King Charles spaniels, I have been informed, are small, quiet, polite dogs. This is a dog they can take camping with them. He won’t back at the mail carrier or knock their grandchildren off their feet in his exuberance. He will be smart and calm. My parents have found the perfect dog.
I am almost inclined to accuse my parents of using Winston to deal with empty-nest syndrome now that all their children are happily married off, but trust me, my parents do not have empty-nest syndrome. They could hardly shove us out the door fast enough. I can come up with no better answer than: my parents have gone crazy.
They found a breeder and met the puppy’s mommy while she was still pregnant. They learned his entire lineage and brought home pictures of his parents, pointing out their remarkable beauty. They then went back and visited the newborn puppies, picking Winston out from his siblings when he was barely big enough to open his eyes.
They came up with the name Winston long before they had the puppy – sort of like people do with their unborn children after discovering the sex on the ultrasound. They carried around photos of him the same way people carry around ultrasound photos, to present to anyone who showed the slightest interest.
Winston came home yesterday. He arrived with his blanket to a house equipped with his own bed, a cage, baby gates to stop him from falling down the stairs (or peeing on the carpet) and his own toys. The floor used to be good enough for Rover and Toby to sleep on. They never even knew what a dog toy looked like. Not little Winston. He already has two balls, a stuffed animal and a rope to chew.
My father is building a fence across the open part of the backyard to keep Winston in. the other dogs were just tied to a chain. My own children – my parents’ precious grandchildren – regularly make mad dashes for the road through that open area of the backyard when they visit, but I just have to watch them like a hawk. No fence for them.
I have to take their word on this. I have not seen Winston yet. My grubby children and I are not allowed to visit until my parents declare him to be totally settled in and ready to receive visitors. Hence, you see, the little bit of sibling jealousy. I’ve been banned from my childhood home by the new baby. Do you think if I started peeing in my underwear and throwing temper tantrums, I could get their attention back?