Thursday, July 26, 2012

Random stuff I learn from my dog, Fletch. Part I: Kids

This is Fletch, my yellow lab.
Like all divorces, mine was hard on the family, especially my kids. We spent Christmas Eve together, then they were gone. Gone like Christmas. Nobody was ready for it, certainly not me. 

Fletch picked a spot at the top of the stairs, overlooking the front door and entryway. He waited for days, head lowered, ears peeled. It was everything a picture of vigilance. Cars passed by the house, sending his head up off the floor. He'd strain to hear the slam of car doors, small voices, and footsteps hitting the porch. But the cars just went by.

They went by, went on, to other homes, where other dogs reunited their human families. Deflated, his head drooped to the floor, again and again, beleaguered, and punctuated with sighs. Up and down. Up and down. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

A car stopped one day and he stood, ramrod straight like a Marine. Car doors slammed, small feet approached, sending the tip of Fletch's tail whipping with controlled anticipation. The front door flew open and his family had returned.

They came home, eventually, and they were fine. Fletch's heart was never in question; who could say where his mind was? I missed them too, worried of course. My kids were away from home, settling into a new one. Adjusting. But he doesn't wait by the door anymore, the times they leave. He knows. We both know. The kids will be fine. 

The sting of divorce still strums angry chords in this new song, the one I write with my kids. But we are singing, growing.