Friday, March 25, 2011

Thank God I Blog

When you pat my dog, Jazz, it's a really satisfying pat. You know like when you pat a horse? A really smacky-good pat? Well. There's something very comforting about giving Jazz a honking great pat. And she loves it. So that's a bonus. She is such a solid dog. If I patted Pepper like that now, she'd wince. She is far too frail for anything more than very gentle movement.

As Pepper slips further into senility (there is surely no further she can go, she is quite past it now), I am coming to really appreciate that little purchase Steve and I made during our first Christmas without Ellanor, in 2004.

Everything is speeding up, not slowing down. Do you feel it?

Jazz was a pup! I must have blinked, for now she is a middle aged dog.

Jazz and Pepper in 2005

And today, wisened old Pep and chunky Jazz the clydesdale

Jazzy was supposed to be an "only child" - Steve's cat, the beloved ginger and white boy we named Rusty - died in early 2005 from skin cancer, when Jazz was about six months old. He was 14. We still miss him very much and talk of him from time to time. Fact: He was 1m long from tip to tail, tall and lanky like his "Dad". He was our original "furbaby". He and Pepper were all we had, during all those years of trying to bring home a baby, and even before that - when we didn't even know what troubles lay ahead.

When we brought Jazzy home, Pepper was already ailing like she was at death's door. Now, she seems to be in a race to outlive the young brown Labrador who's been brushing things off tables around our home with her ridiculous novelty-sized tail since 2004. Pep should be dead. She really should. But something is keeping her here. She gave me the most intense, gracious, unconditional love and connection I could ever imagine an animal was capable of giving. And I am her palliative care nurse now. I owe her.

So here I was this morning, completing the enrolment forms for the LGBB. We've picked a school for next year! I am relieved it's sorted. Once Steve and I took the tour last week, it was a pretty clear winner for us.

As I signed the final page, I suddenly came over very emotional. And as usual, tears followed.

Not happy tears, not sad. Just tears. This is something we missed doing for Ellanor. With Ellanor. Here is our family, all around us, and I don't know what my little girl would look like now. I don't know whether she'd prefer to wear the school uniform dress or the track pants and polo shirt. Would she be chocolate ice cream or strawberry? Would she mercilessly tease Lolly? Would Lolly even exist??

So. The end of another era. I thought, somehow, the outings with the LGBB to local coffee shops (with Scraps, of course - he is such a coffee fiend) were never going to end. That we would be able to share these times with each other whenever we wanted. But I am about to lose her to school. Soon, these moments will be just that: moments in time. A thing of the past. And the thought leaves me quite bereft, for the time being.

"Thmile, Thcrapthy!"

It snuck up on me, this one. This little emotional release that was simmering under the surface.

I reached for the phone to call a dear friend who is forever going to be in the same situation as us with all these milestones. She lost her firstborn, a daughter, mere months after we lost ours. We lost babies in between, around the same time as each other, uncanny as it sounds. She called me after she got pregnant again (with the son who is now about to turn five) and told me she'd had a dream where she was riding a white horse and came to find me in the middle of a beautiful forest. She lifted me up on the horse and we rode it together. Less than four months later, the LGBB found her way to my womb.

I left a blubbery message for my friend this morning, for I was not teary before I rang. But just hearing her voice unbolted the safety valve and I blurted. I won't need to apologise. We have an understanding, she and I. I asked her in the message if she had filled out enrolment forms yet for her son and how she had found the experience. Surely a reason to catch up over a coffee sometime soon.

My little baby has been replaced by a young girl rapidly growing in her independence. Not that I would expect or want anything different for her. I have taught her to be independent. It's how I survived my childhood. One day soon, she won't need me at all. I didn't realise how much I need her to need me, this tall leggy blonde who already at the age of four has a joyous glow and the kind of knock-em-dead natural poise I always wished I'd had. I have the glow... but I don't have any poise, not like her, that's for sure (must get that from her Dad, he is, after all, the one I call Daddy Long-Legs). If she can overcome her shyness, this kid will be more than comfortable on a stage, she is that theatrical it's almost embarrassing at times.

"Life is a Cabaret, old chum"
I guess I just have to stay open and grateful to the times I am sharing with my beautiful daughter. They have become so much more precious and poignant this year already as I realise I'm about to be on my own again.

So it will be back to me and whichever dogs are still alive this time next year. I told my brother last time they visited two years ago that, surely, it would be the last time Pep would be here. I've been telling him that since the year 2000 - no kidding there - so who knows?!

Please, please let there be something solid for me to pat and hug. If Pepper does outlive Jazz, as she is threatening to do, I'm screwed.

The thought quite overwhelms me at times.

Thank God I Blog, that's all I can say. I think I might get that made up on a sticker for my car...

This post is part of FYBF, currently being hosted by Where's My Glow. Thanks Glowless!

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