Journal for Christa—
I’ve been writing reflections for a long time. Most of them have been displaced in stacks of paper or on old floppies—back when floppies were really floppy. But a few months ago, I ran across one while cleaning out some old folders. Here is a journal from the trenches—
A mother continually straddles the very fine line between reality and insanity. Our world consists of a cross between Barnum and Bailey and the Revolutionary War; you know, the one known for the colonists pouncing on the mothers, I mean the British, from behind bushes and trees. I hadn’t become quite so acquainted with this concept until Happy came into our lives and home. Happy is the firstborn of Grandpa’s Candy and Aunt Lora’s Sam. She is a beautiful Sheltie—on the outside.
The time in which we decided to get a dog is still somewhat in question. I suspect it was first conceived on a thirty-acre farm in southern Illinois in the mind of my dad. “Why, everyone knows that kids need a dog.” I had agreed with that, but with our eldest child age 4, the middle one 2, and the baby a few months, I still had some reservations about the sanity of such an idea. But, alas, we were notified that Candy was pregnant; the decision had been made.
In September Dad was holding back two pups of the litter for us to make a choice. We picked out the friskiest for the dog’s own self-defense. Our home became Happy’s home. With the homecoming I lost a piece of my redheaded toddler son’s heart, the carpeting, and an old white tennis shoe. Happy had settled in.
Then came the day when Happy needed a shot. I called around for the cheapest vet. The cheapest fortunately was the nearest, and we had to be there by 11:30. The eldest dressed herself, the middle one tried, and the baby cried. Shortly before 11:30 the children and I and Happy casually walked into the vet’s for what I thought would be a ten dollar visit. But Happy hadn’t had her rabies shot, needed to be wormed for worms she did not have, and was given a bottle of vitamins to make her feel better. (Actually, I thought Happy was fairing better than the rest of us.) After paying the bill of $35, we started off to the Humane Society to get her tags. On the way I thought it would have been cheaper to have taken her to the pediatrician as the children had suggested, and she threw up her worm pill, plus. This last event caused quite a commotion and upset the eldest who is extremely organized, a characteristic inherited from her father’s side.
At the Humane Society the eldest carefully held Happy’s leash while Happy licked the shoes of the man in front of us; the two-year-old lay down on the floor, and I wrote a check for five dollars while balancing the baby on one hip. The clerk said, ”thank you,” and that the dog was beautiful and so were the children. We left.
On the return trip home, I thought that I’d surely gone off the “deep end” to find myself in such a position as the present; the eldest reminded me that we needed to clean the house, and the dog vomited again as we rounded the last corner.
As I pulled in the drive, I said, “and this is motherhood.” The eldest said, “This car stinks!” and the toddler said, “I’m hungry.”