Friday, April 9, 2021


This week we had to say goodbye to our faithful canine companion, Maverick. He was thirteen (fourteen?), and he was ours for twelve years. Most of our children knew him for all of their lives, and all of our children knew him for most of their lives.

Which did make things difficult.

He never barked, never bit, never growled at children. He had toddlers bite him and run over his tail, foreign chihuahuas threaten his very existence, several sets of cats claim his home as theirs, and seven babies interrupt the nightly routine. The only time we heard him cry was when he had to be separated from us, enclosed in our bedroom so that friends' children who were afraid of dogs would come into our house. Even when he had cancer and a permanent wound on the bottom of his paw that had to be dressed twice daily, he never growled nor lunged at anyone. He was the best dog I have ever known.

Which did make things even more difficult.

Our children have grieved in different ways, which has been eye-opening and somehow lovely. One daughter remained in the hub of our house, stoically taking on cleaning the kitchen, quietly scrubbing dishes and counters and moving chairs to sweep under the table. As the younger children ran through the kitchen, demanding popsicles and "something to do," she noiselessly provided frozen treats and crafts. Another daughter preferred to be more invisible, thoroughly cleaning the room she shares with six sisters, framing the article from the Helena, Montana newspaper the shelter had published about Maverick the week before we got him. (We had not seen that article when we found Maverick at the shelter, and a church member cut it out and gave it to us after they found out we had adopted him.) Two of our girls decided to go sit, quietly but together, in the sun at the top of our property.

One son, while camping in our yard with his brothers, woke crying in the middle of the night and came inside to spend the rest of the night on the couch. All of our boys -- without a word from us -- straightened up the yard, pulled out the many push mowers we have accumulated, and pieced together enough working ones to mow our acre for the first time this season.

And the three little girls (5, 4, and 2) went continually among each group, relentlessly asking questions and making everyone laugh and groan through tears: "Do you want to see the picture I drew of Maverick dead and everyone crying?"

And River (4) perfectly summed up the situation: "Well, Maverick's dead. But we can still have chicken nuggets and French fries!"

This week would have been easier if we had never gotten a dog. Only, I never would have known it was any easier of a week. And we never would have known the utter delight of a freshly bathed dog (after he has dried), a good romp in the grass, a faithful, quiet, furry friend when we are sad, and reckless joy in deep snow. We would not have gotten to watch our then-18 year old son rise to the occasion and decide to brush an old dog's teeth nightly in order to save them, or our current 15-year old son learn to dress an old dog's wounds, with never a stubborn refusal. I watched this dog grow old with my children, and I have watched my children mature with this dog.

He was a good dog, and we loved him.


(Side note: I will say that something I had not anticipated was that with Maverick's passing, we are now a cat and gerbil family. I absolutely detest that.)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Queen of Stall

Our resident 2-year old is the only person in this house with her very own room, and I'm not sure she fully appreciates that situation. In fact, I'm quite sure she doesn't.

Every night, without fail, she comes up with a million little things she really needs or something very important we forgot to do.

"I need a diffent baby doll."

"You dinn't switch the books in my bed."

"I haffa go potty."

"We dinn't pway."

"I dinn't sing 'Hot Cwoss Buns'" (which, I must admit, is one of my favorites because she does a mash-up with "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" and sings, "Hot cwoss buns to da Yord").

"I dinn't have a special dwink."

Rosie (2) and River (4)

"Ben's in Fwoda! 
"I dinn't kiss Papa."
"I dinn't kiss Lily."
"I dinn't kiss Abey."
"I dinn't kiss Mimi."
"I dinn't kiss Edee."
"I dinn't kiss Jon-Jon."
"I dinn't kiss Dideon
"I dinn't kiss Sayum
"I dinn't kiss Ada."
"I dinn't kiss Zebby."
"I dinn't kiss Eve."
"I dinn't kiss Rivah

"You dinn't tell me what's foe bumfick [breakfast]."

It doesn't matter how many times we remind her that this is the last thing she may request, or how many issues we try to conquer beforehand (All kisses given? Check. Baby doll of the day? Check. New books in bed? Check), there is always one last thing.

Last night's was, "I need socks! My feet are FWOZEN."

River (4), Eve (5), and Rosie (2)

At prayer meeting last night, someone asked for prayer for a niece, stating, "Young mothers are just so tired."

I wanted to quip back, "You should see the old mothers!"

(There is a video imbedded in this post. If you received this in your email, you might have to click over to see it.)

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