It’s a lot like a break-up.
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“You’ll find someone much better at loving you.”
“We’ll still be friends. I’ll come and visit you.”
And so, on Mother’s Day weekend, we sent our lovely puppy Molly to Stacy’s house. It’s not that we didn’t love her, or like her. The household just became so crazy and busy and full of emotions, something had to go. And getting rid of one of the kids wasn’t an option.
The two oldest boys are decidedly NOT dog lovers and Molly’s tendencies to poop in the yard, dig up plants, track in dirt, chase the chickens and generally be underfoot at any given moment– all totally natural, normal doggie behavior– drove them crazy. It just added a layer of tension to our home at a time when we needed more peace.
Happiness in a family is a fragile thing. I’ve thought about this truth many times. We have a very happy family, I’d say an extraordinarily happy family– but much of that is because we guard that happiness. We listen to each other’s opinions and feelings. We respect the quirks of human nature, we acknowledge we are all weird, we are all annoying. I’ve learned I can’t join book groups or go on a girls’ night out because it disrupts that balance. Erik gave up cycling races and wakes up early to work out so he can be home on time for dinner. We go a lot of different directions and have varied interests, but we all sacrifice and compromise to make home a haven of peace and happiness.
Still, we feel pretty terrible about breaking up with our dog. It makes you feel like a bad person. At first Stacy took the dog on kind of a trial basis, but her long and effusive texts and frequent phone calls quickly convinced us Molly had found a better home. “I looooooooove her! She’s so beautiful, I kiss her face all day long. She jumps right in bed with me and we share a pillow. Thank you, thank you.” The first time Stacy met Molly, she burst into joyful tears and we realized– that’s the doggie-love gene we’ve been missing.
Phew, that seems like a long explanation for “We sold the dog.” Actually, Stacy still hasn’t sent a check. And don’t tell Stacy, but even if her check never clears, we know Molly’s found a better home. A place where she’ll be adored and well- trained and all her quirks seem charming. And like a girlfriend or boyfriend you really loved– we don’t want to say anything negative about Molly. She’s a darling puppy who found a someone who loved her more. But don’t ask us about it in person– we might get teary.
As recompense for giving up our puppy (because some people around here have been really sad), we went to the classifieds and searched out an orange striped kitty. This time we’d done our research. Tabby cats are supposed to be the friendliest and sweetest and most dog like of all cats. Such a strange fact– it’s like saying all redheads are fabulous people. Oh wait. They are. 90% of tabbies are male, but we found a sweet little girl. Clearly we’re not the only people who heard this fact because the lady who sold her said she had several inquiries within minutes of putting up the ad. Erik, Gabe, Mary and I jumped in the car and raced right down to the home where a young mother brought out the tiniest, prettiest, most adorable kitten. Mary insisted on paying the $20 and pulled an assortment of coins and $1 bills from her sparkly pink purse.
We are in love. We’re like Stacy with her effusive texts– she’s the most darling creature we’ve ever seen, she licks our faces and sleeps on Mary’s bed. Every minute or two someone cries out, “Look at the kitty!” because everything she does enchants us. We’ve named her Zuzu, Tesla, Guinevere. We’ll see which name wins out. Of course kittens come with the added benefit of being litter box trained from day one. Our older cat– Lucy– hates her. But Zuzu doesn’t care, she’s delighted with everything in the world and everyone in it.
Pretty. Darn. Cute. That kitty! Love all the nappers. And Ben’s hair. Still need to make breakfast happen. xoxo
I have a similar picture to Gabe’s in which I’m reading Harry Potter to my parents’ kittens.
Thank you for this wonderful post. Even though the subject of this post was bidding farewell to Molly and welcoming Kitty Kitty into your home, I really loved the paragraph about a happy family. As a stay-at-home mother to three children under three I find that when I leave my children, even to go visiting teaching, it is very disruptive to them and therefore our home. (So I’ve learned to bring one or two children with me visiting teaching and schedule our appointments on a night my husband can do something fun with them.) With the recent article in the Washington Post about moms needing annual leave too, I felt very unsettled about the fact that I don’t like to leave my children and the feeling is mutual. With your post I now can put into words why having a girls’ night out or belonging to a book club doesn’t work for our family. It simply disrupts the balance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I was struck also by your remark about not wanting to upset the balance by going to book club or girls night out. I was the same way when my sons were all living at home, but mostly I didn’t want to miss anything with them. I cherished all our days together. And the rare times I would go out without them, I was anxious to get back. I thought that was just me. Now however, with my 4 sons all married with children of their own, I am LOVING the 2 book clubs I belong to. A time and a season, right? That’s how I see it now anyway.
I don’t really like cats (shhhhhhhhh) but I love these photos. And I think you are spot on about redheads. 🙂
Zuzu is a great name. We’re big fans of it at our house clearly.
Truly nothing better than an orange tabby cat. Our orange Truffle approves. xoxoxo