It seemed like the perfect gift, a cuddly little friend for my newly single Mom. It was the ideal 'dog food commercial scene'; a tiny black puppy emerged from a Christmas morning package with a giant bow around her neck, large enough to act as a parachute for any flight emergency the puppy might encounter. We thought it was the perfect gift...we were naïve newly married twenty-something's.
Two weeks later, my mom returned the gift...to us! Our tiny rental house didn't allow pets so we went to work to find the dog a new home. She was so hyper and loud, two different supposed 'forever families' returned her to us claiming she was 'a handful' and she was.
It was settled, Holly was stuck with us and we were stuck with her. She stayed for a year in our rental house 'in hiding'. We kept her presence a secret from our 'hands off' landlord and thought we were in the clear. Then New Years Day hit the following year. We were out testing out our new roller blades (a Christmas gift from my mom!) with the dog leading the way when the local newspaper spotted us and took a candid shot of a young couple and 'their' dog.
Needless to say when we paid the rent that month the landlord sent us packing and we scrambled to find a new home. After a frigid move in the height of a Central Illinois winter, the silver lining was that it forced us to buy a home much sooner than we ever planned the following Spring. She followed us across the country for two big moves before we lost her seven years ago.
18 years later we delivered the same gift to our kids. A new puppy arrived on Christmas morning and we blew our kids out of the water. It was the coolest Christmas morning ever when they came around the corner and saw him. They named him Max and they are crazy about him. My daughter continues to say she feels like she's dreaming and she never thought we would get them a dog.
So why did we do it again, after all the hassle we went through with our first dog? We did it for the kids. The thought of their reactions was the motivation to make it happen. I'm not enjoying the potty training or the constant chewing, but the kids are in heaven. I think getting the dog was simply another chapter in this parenting saga. It's the only stage in my life that I've been more consumed with joy by someone else's reactions.
Dear God, As I look ahead to another year may I take time to sit with you and express the gratitude I feel for the blessings you've bestowed on me with both two legs and four. Amen.