It’s been a crazy month or two, what with the last, lingering vestiges of the school year for my kids, finishing the manuscript for Garden in the East, adopting a puppy (the most adorable puppy ever) and finally making contact, in real life, with cyber pals at the Ancient Faith Retreat this past weekend.
It’s always nice to see people I know only online in real life, to put flesh to a Facebook feed. It’s a gamble, too, to be present like that, to risk putting aside my well crafted online persona in favor of the face to face. It went well, though, and for that, I’m grateful.
In other news, I mentioned this whole “puppy” development. We had a dog for a while back in Tennessee but had to give him a new home before we moved to Chicago. We knew we’d be renting in the city and it seemed unfair to keep a huge golden doodle in an apartment after he’d had 18 acres to roam. So, he got a new home and a new family in Florida. They didn’t have 18 acres but at least he’d be living in Florida with some elbow room around him. My youngest son was gutted. He was quite attached to that dog. I guess we all were in one way or another.
But I admit, the timing of adding that puppy to our mix back then was not ideal. I was already parenting small creatures who were prone to pee or poop all over the house, adding a furry version was no damn fun. I lost my patience with everyone, dog and human. I was cranky from the constant vigilance. I’m not saying I’m a total control freak but, well, maybe a little. And not being capable of keeping things in order, keeping people in order, keeping the dog in order, was just one more stress in a long line of stresses.
The loneliness I felt being so far from Chicago and other people certainly didn’t help. It was here, in the midst of this living in the middle of nowhere that I began to develop online friendships. I joined Facebook. I kept a number of blogs. When Twitter released, I joined that. When Tumblr kicked up, I joined that. When Instagram began I was there at the start. Now, I feel like I’m everywhere, and yet, nowhere too. It’s an introvert’s dream.
Adding this dog to our family came at a much better time for me. With no more small kids running around, some stability in our work lives, some stability in our living situation and yet, there is still so much transition, so much movement. When my husband decided to finally give in to my youngest son’s pleas for a dog I was surprised and maybe a little apprhensive. I’m finally in a place in my life where I am most responsible for my own care day in and day out. The kids get themselves dressed, some do their own laundry, some cook for themselves (a commentary on my poor cooking, let’s say.) I can sleep late when school is out. I can sit and watch a couple of episodes of “CutThroat Kitchen” on Netflix or spend too much time on Facebook with my cyber pals. It’s nice.
Dog adoption led to Mr. Frodo joining us quite suddenly after a few months of looking. He needed a home right away. He had just been neutered, his foster was ending and he’d already spent most of his short 10 month life living on the front porch of someone’s house, barking and shivering, all of 6 pounds. When he came to us it was pouring rain. He was shaking with tail tucked. We were doing a trial run because we had not met him yet, because we were still not sure how it would go, because his picture was fuzzy and his eyes were reddened from the flash too close to his blue eyes. The first impression was poor– sick and travel weary, he took the opportunity to poop on my rug right away.
But he was there, in the flesh, shaking and tail tucked, sick and in need and it was only a day or so before we could not imagine giving him up. And so, yeah, we have a dog now, and this story has no deep spiritual reach here at my fingertips. There is no lesson yet, except perhaps that it’s a gamble to love, to make contact in the flesh, but, you already knew that.
I’ll say this, though, he sits with me while I write, sometimes on my lap, sometimes in his little bed at my feet, and having him here, snoozing and maybe even snoring, is a surprising comfort. I call him my therapy dog, a cure for the lonely, because even introverts feel it pressing in from time to time. Social media tries to fill that lonely but it’s not always successful, and not always wise. So, you know, there’s that.
And, fair warning…there are going to be a lot of puppy pictures in my social media feed from here on out because as I’ve said, he is the most adorable puppy ever.
Sorry, not sorry. 😉