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February 7, 2016

HELLO, CHARLIE


We drove seven hours to get him. It was 65 degrees and raining in North Carolina when we left home and it was 40 degrees with snow in Pennsylvania when we arrived at the heart of Amish Country. We saw the sun briefly while passing through Baltimore before watching it set over the rolling fields of Honey Brook as we turned into the long tree lined driveway of our destination. We witnessed the clustered traffic of the Interstate through Richmond fade into horse and buggies hypnotized by the rhythm of the hooves on pavement.

We tucked our phones into our pockets and stepped out of the vehicle greeted by a man with a warm smile and a wide brimmed hat motioning towards the Golden Retriever puppies jumping over each other in the small building behind him. We saw them through the windows and we made a point to focus on the mother once we entered, rubbing our hands through her amber colored fur and letting her lick our palms before being tackled by the puppies nipping at our heels.


We listened as he informed us of the breeding history of the dam and the sire while we were knuckle deep in fluffy fur of the wiggling puppies in our arms. They nibbled a wrinkle in my pants and rolled over my feet and we started looking at them closer, analyzing which one matched the picture we saw online that initiated this entire journey. He was the more mild of the four puppies left and the darker, too. He looked the most like the mother and he gently licked my finger when I picked him up, tucking his head into my shoulder with a fluffy ear falling over his eye.

He was the one.

On the way home, he whined from the backseat for a minute and we attempted to calm him from the crate he was in… driving seven hours back, we weren’t comfortable holding him the entire way and thought it best for his safety (and our sanity) to have him in a confined space. We bumped up the volume and Adele’s voice filled the car silencing him immediately. Various songs and artists played through the speakers over the hours and he only whined if we silenced the music so we started tossing around names.

Crosby, like Bing. Crosley, like the record player.

We agreed before we left that we would let Madison name him. She had no idea we were getting a dog even though she’d been asking for one for months since we lost Benson. She mentioned him almost daily and we realized she missed him just as much as we did and while this dog is in no way replacing him, he’s an addition we knew would be welcomed. We snuck away while her Papa and Nana tagged out mid-day and fourteen hours later, we were home and she was asleep in her bed. We washed him and dried him and held him most of the night and once the sun started peeking over the horizon, we dropped him in her bed and allowed him to wake her up.


She smiled before she opened her eyes and whispered a thank you as she cleared the morning from her throat. She sat up and brushed the hair from her face and reached for the fuzzy, golden ball of fur jumping through her sheets and over her pillows. We asked about a name almost immediately because the novelty of calling him puppy since picking him up was wearing thin quickly.

“Charlie,” she said.

We spent the morning in the floor with him before taking him for his first local vet visit. Madison was supportive through the entire appointment attempting to calm him when she felt he was nervous and encouraging him when he did something she found cute. It was nice to see her there for a positive appointment since the last time she was in the vet’s office was during Benson’s last days. I’ve said it before, but she’s such an amazing kid.


We’ve only had him for a few days at this point, but he feels like a good fit for us. Sure, they have to figure each other out and develop a relationship of their own but we wanted to get her a puppy during this season of her life. She’ll be turning five this summer and starting Kindergarten in the fall and we wanted them to grow up together because every childhood should have a dog running through the memories.



Madison and Charlie. I can't get enough of them.

December 9, 2015

MY EVERYTHING


It’s funny you don’t realize you’re lost until you’ve been found. It’s funny you don’t realize something is missing until the void is filled. It’s funny how you think you know yourself inside out only to discover you don’t at all. It’s funny that the seriousness of it all isn’t really that funny. Parenting. Fatherhood. They warned me having a child would change everything. Had I known they were right, I would have changed everything to have a child.

It’s insane to think how quickly I fell in love with her. I thought I loved her before she was born, when her mother and I discussed furniture arrangement in her nursery, when I watched her move from within my wife’s growing belly, when I heard her heartbeat through a speaker inside a cold doctor’s office, when I saw her face and limbs moving on a screen. I thought I loved her when I found out about her, but that wasn’t love. It wasn’t love until I felt the weight of her in my arms.

It’s unbelievable how much my heart grew that day. There was a hole in my chest, in my life, that I somehow lived my days oblivious to until she filled it. She consumed me. She is apparently what I had been looking for without being aware of the search. She is every reason for every thing and it seems the day she was born was the day I was born again, too. She’s the salt in my tears and the volume in my laugh. She’s the light of my morning and the darkness of my night. She’s everything.

It’s interesting to think of life before her and life after because there’s a hard line in the sand drawn by her with a version of myself standing on either side. Her mother is and has always been the clear love of my life, but my daughter is the love of my existence. I intentionally sought the love of her mother, putting forth effort and tripping over mistakes, wishing and hoping for her love in return. With my daughter, it was immediate and unconditional and ever growing and something I never knew I was capable of giving let alone receiving.

It’s all because of her. Every paragraph of this entry has started with “it’s” because it’s true; it’s all because of her. Every decision, every moment, every time I open my eyes and close them again, every time I apologize for not being everything to her that she is to me, every second guess, every epiphany, every lesson learned and taught, every time I fall short, every time I don’t, every thing everywhere every time is all because of her. It’s true. It is. She’s everything. Every single thing.


December 2, 2015

THIS DECEMBER


December sneaks up on me every year tying a little bow around everything I accomplished (or failed to accomplish) within the last 12 months and I’m left with the scraps of broken promises. I’m left with recurring resolutions and unspoken guarantees. I’m left with all the things I said I would do, but didn’t instead. I’m left with a highway of dreams with goals as mile markers and an ocean of potential drowning in procrastination. December… it always surprises me with the gift of truth.

I’m the type of person who prefers fresh starts and clean breaks, I like the volume of our television to be on an even number, I’m the type of person who can tell if someone has been in the rooms of our home and exactly what they’ve touched while in there because everything has its place. Every single thing has a purpose, including people. I have faith that God put every person where they are for a reason and moves them around according to His plan. He gives us talents and provides us with relationships and experiences to nurture them in hopes we’ll share them.

I’m the type of person that overanalyzes my decisions long after they’ve been made rashly. I tend to prefer silence over noise and find comfort in the voices of those that sing our feelings better than we articulate them. I’m the type of person that mentally rewrites my past a million times instead of focusing on the chapters ahead.  Tomorrow is always the beginning and yesterday the end while I’m stuck in the struggle of today constantly plotting the path instead of trekking it.

This December, I want things to be different. Instead of waiting for the New Year to make a declaration of things I want to improve and do and make and create, why not now? Why not start now? December, Christmas, the season of perpetual hope that wraps us up within our walls to soak in the warmth of our loved ones. December, the month reserved to reminisce the many memories each ornament on our tree recalls. Why not December? Sometimes you need a head start to feel like you’re not that far behind.

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