Kids and dogs are markers of time. I remember events by how big the kids were and which dog was with us at the time. The dogs have always been a part of all of the big changes in our lives and their expressions of their feelings are similar to ours.
Last night I helped my daughter begin the transition to a new stage in life. Her first apartment, her first job, her first big step out on her own. She is moving away from home, and I am so proud of her for making it happen, but it is also bittersweet.
While we were gathering her things, the dogs grew restless. When we went upstairs to bring things down from her room, there they were, lying at the bottom with their heads resting on the last step. They weren’t keen on moving and it took some coaxing to get them out of our way. When we were coming up the basement stairs with our arms loaded, there was Annie lying at the top with her big feet hanging over the edge while Maisie paced in circles around the house.
Maisie is very attached to Abigail, she rode on her lap all the way home on the first day we had her. She went on many road trips to bring Abigail to school and again to pick her up. After one of the drop offs she wouldn’t look at my husband or I when we got home and after that she only went with us when we were bringing Abigail back for breaks and vacations. It was too hard for her to say goodbye and she missed her presence as much as we did.
Transitions are tough on everyone, even good ones. Life changes, it moves on whether we are ready or not. With each baby, our family grew and there was more love to go around. Each first day of school was emotional, some more than others. Moving into a new house is exciting, but so disruptive. Seeing the kids leave for college and then welcoming them home during school breaks, heart wrenching and joyous. The passing of our sweet dogs and the welcoming of new puppies brought different energy into our lives, each and every time.
The dogs have been there for the good times, the sad times and everything in between, feeling our emotions and expressing their own. I can mark our big family changes with each of them: Bogart started off as my husband’s Bachelor Dog and he was there for so much- our wedding, multiple moves and the arrival of each child. He took it all in with grace and loyalty; Bailey joined our family weeks after my youngest started kindergarten; Charlie joined our family after we lost Bogart and we missed him so much; Maisie joined our family after we lost Bailey and just before Abigail started her Sophomore year of college; Annie joined our family a couple of weeks after Thomas started college. The dynamic of our family ebbs and flows and they are an important part of that rhythm. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
The goodbyes are always hard.
But the reunions are sweet.
This video was taken the moment Abigail walked in the door for Thanksgiving Break. It was Maisie’s first time welcoming Abigail home.