Some words are loaded with emotion. “Mother” is one of them. If you’re reading this, you had a mother, whether you knew her or not, loved her or not, appreciated her or not. Some of you may have recently lost your mother. Some of you may just have found her. Some of you may by locked in battle with the woman who gave you birth. Some of you may count your blessings every day that she was the one who did.
Nemo came to live with us two summers ago. We had always had dogs, but after finally losing two old friends, we decided to take a break. As much as we missed Kiwi and Dingo, there was something nice about just locking the door and walking away when we wanted to visit children or travel. There was always time to get another dog, when our lives were less hectic and the sadness had healed. We were thinking years, maybe a decade.
Then we got the call. We’d gotten one like it before. Kiwi came to us via our oldest son, who found her, a little chihuahua mix running back and forth on the Interstate in a terrible thunderstorm. When he stopped to see what was going on, she jumped in his car. She was ours for fifteen years.
We all feel it, that all too brief lull between holidays. Our Thanksgiving turkey is now a challenge we serve as hash, or homemade pot pies, or even altered beyond recognition into mouth-watering gumbo. The family who traveled for hours to visit has gone home, and our houses are dusty around the edges, with new scratches on woodwork from terrorist toddlers on tricycles or family puppies still in training. The resident dog wonders where all his friends disappeared to, and not even a soft pillow and the television remote can replace the joy of running in circles for hours with Australian shepherd and shih tzu cousins.