My first child was a sloppy mess from the start. He peed in the house.
He whined when left alone. And he had very sharp teeth.
He ate the corner of my couch. He stood in his food bowl when he ate his dinner.
I loved him from the very first night we brought him home. And I was proud of him as he grew in to a big strong boy.
When I was pregnant with Emily I imagined the two of them fast friends. Fisher and I would lie in bed at night and I would tell him everything I was afraid of.
When Emily was about two months old I was sitting on the couch with the two of them, tears rolling down my face. Her dad asked me in that way that a man talks to a post-partum woman if I was okay. “Yeah, I was just thinking that she will grow up with him and then one day she will have to understand what it is like to lose a dog, and it breaks my heart. I mean she is going to love him so much and he is going to die…” Through the hormones I could see that perhaps I was getting ahead of myself.
There were a million hard things about Em’s dad and I separating. But the hardest may very well have been pulling out of the driveway, Fisher’s head poking through the pickets on the deck. I missed that dog every minute of every day. But as I said to anyone that would listen, you can take a man’s kid and half of his stuff, but only an asshole would take his dog, too.
Fate and a cross-country move brought Fish back to me last year. He still smells like corn chips. He still likes to sleep in the middle of the bed. I still get choked up when I think about the relationship that a kid has with their dog.
And now Fisher is eight years old. I hope that he is around to walk to the bus stop when the time comes to send this new baby off to school. He’ll be a little grayer, maybe a little slower. I was thinking about whether or not he will have the same patience for this baby that he had for Emily, if he will be as tolerant with the “pony” rides and the dress up games. For now I find peace in the fact that he is already forging his relationship with the new baby. Recently I remarked to MQD that it seems I pick dog hair out of my belly button almost daily lately. That’s what that means, right? Fish is bonding with the new baby?