I feel like a traitor. I had twins, so you can’t ask me, but I imagine if you ask any parent to two or more children, they’ll insist that they never thought they had room to love anything as much as their first child. And then they had their second, and wow, were just so stunned that they could make room for even more love. These people give me ‘rhea.
I don’t think of love as something you make room for, like a new ottoman or dessert. I know it doesn’t have to be immediate, that we can certainly grow to love things we didn’t love initially. I’m still waiting for this endorphin love thing with exercise to kick in. As far as our new Beagle, Mr. Bikini, goes, I’ll say this:
Getting a dog once you already have children is VERY different from bringing home a dog before kids are involved. Linus Paddington was initially training wheels for the Wasband and me. He was our surrogate child. I spent weeks reading about his breed, even bought the hardcover book on Toy Fox Terriers. I took him to puppy socialization classes, paid a fortune to send him to Biscuits and Bath. I even considered, I kid you not, taking him to a doggie laser light show on a Saturday night. Linus was my baby. I spent my weekends consumed with him, knitted him a sweater for the love of Christ. I had different outfits for him, a Burberry coat, and different collars and leashes to suit the occasion. He slept under the covers, curled up against my inner thigh. He was, without a doubt, my furkid.
People can lash out at me all they’d like for my decision to let Linus live with my sister Lea, but I know it was the right thing to do. It only takes one tiny slip up in his behavior, and I’d have a deformed maimed child. He bit several humans in the face. My friend Erin needed stitches. Others needed to go to the hospital. It was my own fault for treating him like a little husband instead of a dog. So when Phil came to me this time and asked what I thought about getting another dog, I said I’d feel like a traitor. I also admitted that I did’t have the energy or emotional bandwidth, except I’d never use the term "emotional bandwidth" because it makes me sound like a douche, and one of those assjunkies who talks about "room for love." But I knew the work that would be involved and admitted to not being up for it. Phil said he would train him, and take full responsibility, so who could argue with that arrangement?! He’s a sweet pup.
The first few weeks with him was like starting a new relationship, where your last relationship kept popping up in your head. Even last night, when I was tossing and turning at 3am, I listened to his little body, in his crate, rising up and down in a soft snooze, and it calmed me. It made me think of Linus and the way he slept. The difference is that while Mr. Bikini is loved, which he is, especially by the sprouts, he’s a dog. A family member… I’m still waiting to for that to grow for me. It’s only a matter of time.