I was 29 and struggling when we met. I thought maybe you could help me through some lonely nights and be someone I could focus my love toward. I’ll never forget picking you up from the lady’s house. You had these sad, droopy eyes that I just couldn’t resist.
You threw up 10 times on the hour drive home. I got pulled over for swerving on a backcountry road because my friend was holding you and you started gagging. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. You quivered and were oh so timid when I pulled up to my mom’s house to introduce you to her and my grandparents. You just sat there. I decided to name you Presley because of my deep abiding love for Elvis.
Slowly, you started to warm up to me. You would wag your stubby tail when I came home from work. You played in the backyard. I took you to Puppy School and you learned how to give high fives. You won’t stay in a room if I’m not in it. You follow me around. You comfort me when I am sad by licking my tears. You put your paw on my lap when you need reassurance. And you are acutely aware of when I just need you to sit there beside me and be my reason to make it through the day.
When everyone would talk about their kids, I would talk about you. I took you to dog parks and Halloween costume contests (where you took third place for your rendition of the fat Elvis). I started looking forward to Friday nights on the couch watching Dateline knowing that you were there to keep me from getting scared. I started to accept that it might just be you and I together in this world.
And then I met Gary. He came over to watch the Olympics and brought you some dog treats. He knew the way to my heart was through you. But you weren’t so sure. You warily eyed him and didn’t really want anything to do with him. Later on that night you chewed a hole in his favorite jeans (while he was wearing them). He asked me to marry him anyway.
And all of a sudden it went from me and you to me, you, Gary and sometimes Charlotte and Joel. You love those kids. And they love you. You put up with them chasing you and laughing at you. You lick their tears when they are sad. You sit underneath the dinner table because they drop lots of food. But you still follow me around because I’m your favorite.
The day that positive plus sign showed up on the pregnancy test, I knew your life was going to change once again. My pregnancy was rotten, and I felt horrible most of the time. You would lay your head on my growing belly. You stayed on the bed with me ever alert when I couldn’t get up. I remember asking my husband if I was going to love our baby as much as I loved you. He looked at me like I was crazy and I tried to pretend I was kidding.
Dylan arrived in a whirlwind, and you were shipped off to Grandma’s for a week and a half due to a NICU stay. You came home to find this strange new noisy being around. And I was busy. Oh so busy and tired all of the time. You chewed up his fresh diapers when I didn’t give you enough attention. But you loved him, too. You lick him when he cries. You let him pet you. You let him hug you. You never growl or bark or nip. You just walk away or go outside when you are annoyed.
I know life has changed in indescribable ways since we first became a family but my love for you is still just as strong. You were and always will be my first baby boy.