Somewhere along the way I determined that I ought to write letters to you guys every few years on your birthdays, and just this week I was trying to figure out if this was your year.
It couldn’t be, I thought, because surely it wasn’t that long ago that I’d sat down to write a note to you. But I was wrong.
It’s very much possible that this is the last letter that I write to you that’s an open letter–one that I publish on my silly little online journal–in part because, only recently, you’ve seemed to understand that there’s a world wide web that sees so many of the things we capture with our little metal and glass phones and upload through the thin air. It caught me by surprise when I snapped a picture of you, a fun one, I thought, and you looked at it and told me not to put it on Facebook.
Your laughter spun time into a dervish, and here we are. A year old.
My dear Annie Elizabeth, you deserve to hear this from me.
As it turns out, somewhere between two and three children was the time it took to make these little videos, these little poems about your getting older. It’s not that we didn’t take ten thousand pictures—we did—it’s just that you turned out to be the tipping point in time.
Of life, and death, and a dog that was there for so much of it.
When I came downstairs last night to check on the dogs and lock up the basement, I had a sense that something wasn’t going to be right.
It had been a beautiful Saturday, warm and bright, and I’d spent the day working in the yard, putting out mulch and cleaning things up. The kids joined me at times, swinging and running around the yard, but most of the day it was just the dogs and me. Taylor, our youngest dog (although still coming up on her tenth birthday), followed me around. Zoe, our oldest, mostly slept in the sun.
Zoe, whom Kelly adopted in 2002, had had a rough go of it for the last six weeks. Just after the Christmas holiday, I’d come home to find her hobbling around on three legs, one of her back legs jutting out at an awkward angle. A trip to the vet confirmed only grim details: it would take surgery to fix the leg, and given that she was nearly 15 years of age and that she’d developed an obvious heart murmur, there wasn’t much point. Continue reading “Good Dog.”