The following post was originally published on BrookfieldPatch, in April 2011. Way back then, my little women were really little and still in public school. We had recently rescued a sweet, gentle dog, who still makes me smile everyday. She’s next to me as I type.
I’ve been taking a lot of heat from my family lately. They seem to think — and this is so outrageous — that I love the dog more than I love them. I’ve had several complaints from various family members. My defense is simple.Everybody loves this dog. When I sit on the couch, she jumps up next to me and puts her head on my shoulder. She’s so cute that I have to snuggle her, hold her cute little face in my hands and tell her she’s the best little dog in the whole wide world.
“You don’t tell me I’m the best,” the Adventurer complained. Actually, I do, but she barely listens. Or she responds by rolling her eyes and saying, “You have to say that because you’re my mother.”
I offered to make it up to her by waving frantically to her at the middle school bus stop each morning and yelling “I love you sweet baby bear! Have a great day!” She sighed, shook her head, rolled her eyes again and gave up, temporarily.
It all started as a joke, but I think they were trying to tell me something. They want more from me. They don’t recognize the many things I do for them out of love, like making them brush their teeth, packing their favorite snack for lunch, scheduling play dates and sleepovers, driving them to their next activity and buying more Girl Scout Cookies than any one family could ever eat just so they make their sales quota.
Out of love, I’ve mastered deep breathing techniques so I don’t pass out when the Adventurer jumps a horse over a cross rail, rides a zip line or steps on stage to sing. Out of love, I will read Skippy Jon Jones to the Butterfly tonight, for the 4,136th time. Out of love, I’ll let the Princess (age 4) wear her Rapunzel dress to the grocery store and I’ll laugh when she tells a knock-knock joke she made up, even though I don’t quite get it.
I still can’t believe they think I love the dog more. I mean really, they complete me. I love them to infinity and beyond. I snuggle them as much as they let me. I tell them I love them at least three times a day. Are they just jealous, as if she’s another sibling?
I confess I truly adore our dog. She’s amazing. I cuddle up with her, speak sweetly to her, give her treats and tell her I’m so happy to have her. In return she never talks back, never makes impossible demands (like, can I call the principal and have gym scheduled everyday) and never fights with her pet siblings. She even encourages me to take an afternoon nap.
Maybe my kids need a little extra affection. I’ve decided to make sure I tell them daily that I’m happy and thankful to have them in my life. Then I’m going to grab their little faces in my hands, give them a smooch on the nose and say “aren’t you a sweet, sweet girl.” Then I’ll smother them with hugs until they are absolutely sick of me and completely convinced that I love them at least as much as the dog.