As we got ready to say our bedtime prayers, he wrapped his little arms around her neck and we prayed, “Thank you, Father, that on this day last year you gave life to Esme’ knowing that we needed her so much. ” I watched a little smile come to his face…we did truly need her.
I don’t think that I have ever had a year like the past one, filled with so much loss and hurt. Even last week we said good-bye to our favorite cat, Templeton, who developed cancer at a very early age. Though we are a home where joy abounds, I feel that we sit in a bit of a cloud and I am waiting for it to lift. Yesterday, it lifted for a bit…
November 1st was Esme’s birthday! If there ever was a day worth celebrating, well, I guess it was worth it. She has brought such joy to us and I cannot imagine our home without her. My boy’s faces light up every morning when they come down the stairs and she is waiting for them, always in the same spot.
She has made us laugh ’til we’ve almost wet our pants…like when she uses the circle in our house as her own NASCAR Speedway or when her enthusiasm in playing with a toy sends it up on the mantle and she can’t find it then. Or how when Chad gets out of bed in the morning to leave for work, she will move over and steal his sleeping spot including using his pillow (after all, she needs room to stretch out. She stands as tall as Levi).
She has made us cry…She felt the pain of losing Templeton also. When we buried him, she pulled at the blanket he was wrapped in to see him. I placed him on the ground and uncovered him for Esme’ and she tilted her head back and forth as if to say, “Why won’t he play?” Then she laid down by him and put her head by his…waiting. She sadly came and rested herself on me and watched as we laid him in his grave and said good-bye. The next day, she wandered down to Templeton’s grave and sat. Maybe hoping he had woken up, maybe grieving by herself.
So we celebrated her life and the joy she brings. We sang “Happy Birthday” a dozen times. She was showered with hugs and kisses all day. She and her party guests, Pippin and Kassie, got a special birthday dinner of Iams dog food with an egg on top. Her dessert was a few pieces on Halloween candy she stole out of Wyatt’s stash. Then she let us know what she wanted most for her birthday. When Chad went to move the truck to a different spot in the driveway, she jumped in and prepared herself for a car ride, her favorite joy in life. So we all hopped in and took her to PetSmart, where the birthday girl picked a special bone, two balls and a stuffed toy to tear apart. Her next treat was the car ride home, on my lap, with the window down the whole way home. Do we know how to throw a party or what?! We took her for a walk and then she finished her night with her bone while we watched a movie. She fell asleep cuddled in the crook of my legs and I thanked God again for my dog.
I heard a little girl say to Wyatt as he was playing with a friend’s little dog this week, “I don’t like dogs.”
“I do. I love them. They are good friends!” he replied back.
Too bad for her. Dogs bring such joy and teach us what unconditional love really looks like.
They are a laugh when you need it, security when you are fearful,
a friend when you feel alone,
and a shoulder to cry on when you need one.
They won’t tell anyone how bad your breath smells in the morning or how ugly you look when you get out of bed.
They will sit at your feet or curl in your lap if you will let them.
Their loyalty is unmatched.
Happy Birthday, Esme’. We love you so much!