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LJ Idol Season 8 - Week 11: Love Lives

This is my entry this week for therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week's topic is "Open Topic," so we can write about anything.





I carry within me those I have loved. They come out at unexpected times. My grandmother, the gutsy librarian, checks up on me in my dreams. She has an apartment of crystal and bright antique wood, accessible from a special door that I remember only when she visits. While I know I am in a dwelling of the dead, it does not bother me. The air is crisp, but my grandmother's voice is warm. There, I can tell her the things I know would make her proud: like the fact that I've published a book, and the fact that she has a grandson who shares the shape of our faces.

My other grandmother only appeared in my dreams for a short time. Since she was the first to die, I was frightened when I saw her. I kept running away, until once, she appeared to me on a boat in the middle of a lake. Before I could contemplate diving, she told me gently, "Don't worry, butt. It's just me, Nana." She wanted me to tell my mother that she was fine. I did so, and I have not seen her since. But she is with me in the song she used to sing to us: "I love you a bushel and a peck. A bushel and a peck and a kiss upon the neck." I sing it and kiss my toddler, who giggles and squirms.

When she was alive, my dog, Una, always appeared in my dreams as a little blonde girl. As she aged, the girl got taller, until she was nearly my height. She used to be at my elbow for many dream adventures. Two days after she died, Una ran into my dreams in her real dog body. Young and full of energy, she gobbled down the cat food in the bedroom. She reappears now in the dreamworld on occasion, but more and more, she is coming into my waking world.

Someone has taught my son to fear vacuum cleaners. As an infant, he was soothed by their sound, but now he cries and stomps his feet, wanting to come close for a hug but terrified to do so. Has Una shared with him her lifelong fear of that unholy device?

Someone brought the squeaky squirrel upstairs from the box in the basement marked "Una." Inside, I placed the items with which I cannot part, such as her dog collar, decorated with silly cows. I gave most of the toys in good shape to charity, but I kept the squirrel and a couple favorites. I could swear the squirrel, like the others, was washed and boxed, and yet, it has found its way into my son's toy box. Did Una deliver it as a token of her affection?

Lately, at 19 months, my little Kung Fu Panda has discovered his independence. He has told me, "I no baby" and looked me straight in the eye on Christmas morning to deliver the news, "I boy." And yet, ironically, he needs me more than ever: following me around the house, sitting on the couch next to me while I write. He is always underfoot. And forgive me, but sometimes I forget which little blonde child he is.

Until I met Una, I had no idea I had such capacity for nurturing. In the nearly 11 years we lived together (she died one week short of her birthday), Una was my doggie shadow. And though we did not know that she was already dying of cancer, she helped me tend to the baby in his early months. She awoke with a sigh and followed me for every nighttime nursing or diaper change. For weeks, she waited patiently until we allowed her the delightful tribute she craved: to lick his wide pink baby feet. From her expression, I could tell they were delicious.

Those who are not dog lovers will scoff at how similar it was to raise my dog-child. I carried her down the stairs when she was a puppy until, at last, with trembling limbs and with me following to spot her, she followed her sister up a three-floor fire escape. Today, I spot my toddler up and down the stairs, but lately, he often turns to me, lifts his arms, and demands, "Up."

I have often joked that taking care of dogs teaches you to deal with poop. And certainly, that is an important part of baby care. You get used to the routine of it, but more than that, you learn to read the poop leaves (a funny color, or a suspicious consistency can be a precursor of illness). A solid poop day is a joyous one for all.

You cannot leave a toddler alone at home while you attend a party like you can a dog. But when Una was alive, I left many parties early, declaring, "I have to get home to my dog." She would greet me at the door with a stuffed toy in her mouth, wiggling and whining. This prepared me for these days, when we must leave because KFP is growing tired, or because we had promised the babysitter we'd be back by 11.

Until I gave birth to my son, I never knew I had such capacity for love. My love for him is deeper and more complex than romantic love. He captivates and amazes me; and yes, he also makes me want to pull out my hair ("You want me to read the 'Train Stories' book again?") But this love, I know, will outlast even life itself.

I kiss my squirming boy (not baby) and whisper in his ear. "I will always love you. I will always be with you."


My doggie, Una, kissing KFP





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Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Jan. 24th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
What a lovely, lovely post.
alycewilson
Jan. 24th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And thanks for commenting. I was beginning to wonder if no one liked it.
pixiebelle
Jan. 24th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
As a dog lover, I really appreciate this. I don't have kids, but I see the similarities for sure. I've noted them a few times myself :)

Very well done.
alycewilson
Jan. 24th, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
I could have gone more for a comedy angle, but I kind of needed to write the emotional stuff this time. Glad you appreciated it.
michikatinski
Jan. 25th, 2012 01:45 am (UTC)
This makes my heart happy. <3
alycewilson
Jan. 25th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
That is wonderful to hear! I tried to write what I was feeling without being overly sentimental.
jacq22
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Take comfort what you wrote is beautiful. I also know that we are visited...nice thought.

Your dog was gorgeous, and it was a lovely little view of the baby and Una.
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. She would have loved being with us a bit longer.

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
sonophax
Jan. 25th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
This was so very wonderful :) Thanks for sharing this, it brought a big smile to my face.
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear it!

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
noodledays
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
it's so nice to think our loved ones who've left might visit that way - I've had my own experience or two in that arena, and they've been most welcome.
thanks for sharing such sweet moments here. :)
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
iamthesea
Jan. 26th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
I love this!
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
whipchick
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
This is really lovely - I like neither dogs nor children, and yet you've made me feel the love you have for yours. I like how they blend together, and how the dead come back in dreams.
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
I really do think that they return. Sorry about the incredibly delayed response.
yuniebaby
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
"A solid poop day is a joyous one for all." Oh my goodness, is it ever! And I don't have any kids, just pets. *laughs*

This is so very wonderful. I love the way it flows, so gentle and easy, the sentences just kind of melting into each other. Just lovely!
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was a pet owner before I was a mom, and there are many parallels.

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
myrna_bird
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this. It is a sweet story. I enjoyed the video and you have a lovely laugh!
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! My son makes me laugh a lot.
rt_sparrow
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
This was so beautiful it made me cry.
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Awww! It's wonderful to hear that I moved you.

Sorry about the delayed response. I'm trying to get caught up on my comments in case I get voted out this week, which is looking increasingly more likely, given the tight polls! Well, in four hours, I'll know my fate. *crosses fingers*
lawchicky
Jan. 26th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
awwww :)
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. Sorry about the delayed response.
mstrobel
Jan. 26th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is just gorgeous :)

(Going home in six weeks to my beloved dog AT LAST!)
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
I hope you had some great moments with your dog when you returned. Sorry, again, for the incredible delay.
mstrobel
Jul. 14th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
*grins* I let the spoiled little devil sleep on my bed every night and pampered him like crazy! At least now living away from home I am close enough that I visit him to give him a long walk once a week :D and, you know, visit my mum too.
karmasoup
Jan. 27th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
So very delightful. My favorite part is what a treat the feet were... Wookie does that to mine, too, and it's a bit bizarre, but, I know she just wants to show me that she loves me. There's really nothing in the world quite like a dog's love, when they look it you with eyes that tell you in a way you truly KNOW that there isn't anything in the universe quite as wonderful as being near you. Yeah, I love people, too, but, no human can ever give me that.
alycewilson
Jul. 5th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Dogs were sent to earth to love us. I'm convinced of it.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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