I want to tell you about my friend, Maria. My friend, Maria, is wonderful. She's kind and smart. Maria works with a lot of special kids - many who have deep emotional troubles. She genuinely loves them and mentors them and wants the best for them. She's also really funny. Like she makes me laugh so hard I have to be careful with my Diet Coke. I deeply value a friend who can make a carbonated beverage come out of my nose. Maria has three boys who are some of my favorite kids in the world. They're respectful and polite and adorable. So, she's a good mom, too.
But let me tell you something else about Maria. Maria has become a problem.
I know you're saying, "What could be the problem with Maria? Maria sounds awesome. Everyone should have a friend like Maria."
Hold up. I'll tell you.
I'm pretty sure that not long ago, Maria and I were on the same page (or at least in the same chapter) in regard to the ALL BOYS MUST HAVE A DOG issue. I have been living with great guilt and shame over the fact that my poor, neglected, deprived boys are growing up - as we speak - without a dog. But I have so many legitimate reasons that it just doesn't make sense for us to have a dog. We're too busy. We're never home. Most weekends, we're at ball parks all day long. Sometimes we are hours away from home. Lots of parks don't allow dogs. The dog will be sad and lonely. It wouldn't be fair to the dog to have a dog. For us to have the dog. Not the dog to have a dog You get it.
Everyone assumes I am a dog-hating-meanie-pants. And it's not true. Listen. I had a dog - more than one dog -when I was growing up. Do you want to know what else I had?
I'm waiting for you to stop gasping. Are you still there? Hear me out.
Look. I DON'T HATE DOGS any more than I hate toasters. If ever I was to have a pet, I would definitely want it to be a dog. I just was a bit preoccupied as a child and preteen with things like MYSELF. When I was growing up, our dogs were well taken care of and loved by my brother, sister and parents. I just didn't really engage much with the dogs. Honestly, I was too busy engaging with my bangs and imagining that my boyfriend and I were singing a duet of Endless Love.
Anyway, stop hating me for a minute and let's get back to Maria.
A few months ago, Maria's son, Jack, told Drew that his mom said they might get a dog in the summer. And I just nodded my head, sure in the knowledge that Maria would not betray me. I was thinking, "Oh, poor, naive little Jack and Drew. They've just not clued into the
(See also: We'll see; Five more minutes; That pottery you made in class is the best piece of art work I've ever seen; Of course, I think you'll get a scholarship to play both baseball and basketball at the University of Texas)
So even that day, I felt sure that I would still have a constant inner voice telling me I was causing distress and a lifetime of therapy for my boys. Still, it was a great comfort when I could point to other families whose boys seemed to be well-adjusted and mentally sound individuals in spite of their dog-less homes. Maria's family was one of those.
WAS one of those. Until the betrayal. Because just look what showed up on my phone only a few weeks later.
Y'all. Maria's youngest and his new puppy dog are making the same face. I CAN'T EVEN.
I went over to see Maria's dog a few days later and I almost wept at how cute he was with his Little Rascals circle around his eye and the way he hid under the table and stared out at me with LITERAL PUPPY DOG EYES.
I got this one, too.
That's Maria. The betrayer. Look at her. She's smiling as if she has no shame. Can you even believe it?
This is what I got last week.
Maria has gone completely off the deep end. She has jumped ship. If Benedict Arnold wore running shoes and drank Starbucks, he and Maria would basically be the same person.
These photos are killing me. I am losing sleep over thinking about the dog issue. Then, just this past weekend, the Skinner boys collectively had nine baseball games in two and a half days. Three were at our local parks, three were an hour and a half away and three were two hours away. I settled into reminding myself that not having a dog right now is exactly the right decision. So there. I think. Maybe.
Then my phone chimed with a text from my friend, Holly. And this showed up. This is Drew at Holly's house with her dog.
So now, I have more than one problem. In addition to THE MARIA PROBLEM, I need to know,
How do you solve a problem like Holly?