I am lying in bed and listening. It is still night. Well, early morning really. 2:00 AM. My puppy is in her crate. She likes sleeping there. This is new for me as all my other dogs slept in my bed. The newest one always got the pillow next to my head and then the others would sleep in a line down my body. Always on the right side of the bed. I have the middle. Garth has the left side. But now I lie here, the darkness around me and I listen. To see if my puppy is up. Straining my ears to make sure that she is peaceful and safe but not going to check least she wake to my movements and need to get up. And as I lie here, in worry and relief both, I remember those times when my babies were new and would fall asleep in their own cribs or beds. This was new for me, too, as usually they slept in bed with us. In the middle at first, until they were older and then along the right side of my body. With Garth to my left.
I am sitting on the floor, near the front door of my house. It is late morning and the sun warms the world outside my home. My puppy is asleep on my lap. My legs are crossed and the weight of her body, which feels so good, is also pressing the bones of my ankles into the wood of the floor. My feet have fallen asleep. And as I sit here, in blissful discomfort I remember those times when my babies were new, and would fall asleep, finally, as I sat on the couch. My arm not quite in a comfortable place. My water glass just a bit past the length of my arm. The phone across the room and the TV off with the remote sitting proudly at its side. But there is just no way that I am going to move.
I am out with my dog. Proud of her and on guard as her ears, newly cropped, are taped to a cone on her head. She looks like she is going to a birthday party or is dressed in costume as Marge from the Simpsons. What a shame, a woman says to me, under her breath, as she walks by. It's not a shame, she's a Doberman, I say. And she proceeds to make some additional, judgmental comments. I say that the more negativity she puts out in the world the more miserable her own life will be. That like attracts like. And she says fuck you and gets in her car and drives away. And I remember those times when my babies were new and life was a free for all for anyone, anywhere to tell me to put a hat on that sweet baby’s head, it is cold out. Or, take the hat off, it is too hot for that child. And put on sox and feed them this and nurse over here and what do you mean you sleep with your children and school them at home and how will they learn and you let them eat when they’re hungry and not when it’s dinner time and what about calcium and what about structure. And I was younger than and wanted to fight. But not now.
It is the end of the day, the Ojai sun sets pink and sweet and my puppy runs fast. Back and forth and back and forth again. Along the length of my lawn she chases me as I race her speed, chanting the word running, in sing song fashion. She runs until she drops to the lawn and sleeps in an instant. And I remember those times when my babies were new and were needing their rest and so the opposite existed. A running of sorts in wonder and discovery. I would watch as they expanded their space, energized with fatigue until they fall into me and into deep sleep. And I would hold them close, in sweet slumber. Puppy smell sweet.
On this day, I remember all this. And more. I remember those times when my babies were new.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.