Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Shadow

I mentioned to my husband that I was writing a blog and what it was about. He asked if there was anything about Shadow.

Shadow is the dog. She's Terry's FFM (Favorite Family Member). She eats, sleeps, plays, licks, wags, and is happy to see him when he gets home. She requires little from him, yet displays complete unwavering love and support. I guess that we other FMs could learn not to dirty our diapers, not to greet him with a grouchy tone when he comes home from work and the little FMs have worn our patience thin, not to talk to him (or cry or whine) while an important sporting event is on etc. etc. . . . .

Shadow really is the perfect dog. We got her from the Houston Humane society when she was about two months old. We had gotten our first dog (who had left us the previous year) at the same shelter as an adult dog. Since we now had Amanda the toddler, we decided that a puppy who could tolerate the experimentation of a toddler as they both got used to each other would be best. The picture that I have in my head of her is one of a two month old fluffball, curled up on the dissassembled Little Tykes plastic slide in Amanda's playroom. Another memory of those early months is her sitting on the stairs, looking through the banister into the living room. She also broke in her sharp baby doggie teeth on that wood. Okay, maybe there is no perfect dog.

Terry saw her first. "Come look at this sweet dog. She's just so quiet and calm." At 2 months old, and stunned by the loud atmosphere of the shelter, she was indeed sweet and calm. I would not describe her that way now. She is sweet, but at 5 years old, she has boundless energy. We are unsure of her breeding, but she's black and sort of shaggy like a border collie, and about the same size. She is known to herd and shepherd us in. It's likely that there's some sort of spaniel or shepherd or lab in her as well. We were able to housebreak her with literally no trouble and I can honestly say that after the first couple of months, there were no accidents--ever. Again, beyond those first few months of cutting teeth, there's no chewing, no digging, nothing. When we lived in that house in Houston, she did lay on the tile floor with her head resting on the window sill so she could watch the coming and goings of the neighborhood. That was accompanied by very loud (and annoying) barking, which could not be described as perfect, but definitely tolerable.

Almost two years ago, we moved from Houston to Connecticut. Shadow loves our country environment here. There was an invisible fence already installed, and she trained, well, perfectly. The owner was impressed when he came out to demo the fence and re-mark the area with flags for her. She never tests the limits, and even when her collar is off, she stays in the yard. She runs and barks at runners and dog walkers and trucks as they pass by. She curls up on the front porch when it's raining or snowing, but barring low teen or below weather, she stays outside all the day long.

I'm sure that we could all strive to be more like dogs (and who wouldn't enjoy that life--eating and sleeping and watching the squirrels and the birds. However, as perfect as a loyal pet is, the complexity and emotion that prevents us humans from being perfect also adds a depth and richness to those relationships. So, while Shadow is Terry's FFM, I know he'd never trade me in for her.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Wedding

Another big snapshot--my wedding day to Terry.




This day did in fact come chronologically before the birth of Amanda (which I blogged first, here). When she was younger, she would look at the wedding pictures and where she was. I told her that she wasn't born yet, to which she would ask, "I was still in your tummy?" Fortunately, she was born almost 6 years after that day, so that innocent comment is not likely to be misinterpreted by others.

I remember being in my big gown in the bride's room, awaiting the big moment, not really able to sit down, because I didn't want to wrinkle my big skirt. I think that some family members and bridesmaids lifted my skirt and put a stool under me at some point. The church wedding coordinator came in and said that Reverend Turner and his wife had been in an accident. They were okay, but they had to wait for the police. They had found the associate pastor (on the golf course, I believe), and he was on his way to the church. "Everything is going to be fine," she assured me, no doubt bracing herself for the hysterical reaction of a bride who wanted everything to be perfect on her wedding day. Actually, I was fine. I'm usually a pretty non-hysterical kind of female.

So, the associate pastor married us, using the pastor's notes for the ceremony. The pastor hadn't written in, "You may now kiss the bride," so at the end of the ceremony, we were waiting for the divine, lawful permission to be granted, and it wasn't! Apparently the pastor hadn't written it down, so he wasn't sure that we wanted it to be a part of the ceremony. So, we had a wedding without a kiss. The photographer made up for it, and had us kiss as he was taking staged photos afterwards, and while we were cutting the cake, and any time he could think of. He wanted to be sure we didn't miss out.

The other thing that stands out is that as we were lighting the candles, the wax dripped onto Terry's tux, and maybe even burned him a little.

Without the unplanned fiascos, what would I remember? I do remember the reception. It was short and simple. Cake and a few cold appetizers in the church reception hall. There were less than 200 people there, so it was small enough that we could visit with everyone there, including my ex-boyfriend who invited himself the week before when we happened to chat and I told him when I was getting married.

I also remember after walking back down the aisle, as husband and wife, being greeted and congratulated by my family and Terry's. Terry's grandfather gave me a big hug and said, "Now I have two granddaughters," giving me equal status with Terry's sister.

It was a nice day. A good beginning to what has been a good 13 years of marriage. Yes, there have been some unplanned fiascos mixed in with the everyday and with the celebrated joys, but we've managed to keep in mind that "everything is going to be fine." And with God's help, it will continue to be so.