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Monday, January 4, 2016

Dear Mack . . .

Hi, Doggie,

Well, the day has come and I gotta break it to you. Today it's just you and me, kid. These boys of yours are going back to school and the biggest boy is going back to work. I've a feeling that might make you as nervous as it does me.  I've never considered homeschooling as much as I have since your arrival. :-)

You are the cutest little thing I've ever seen. Like, so cute that your face makes my breath catch in my throat. It was that way as soon as I saw you on the computer screen when that big guy sent me the link and said it was time to go for it. In the weeks leading up to your arrival, I would picture the shocking surprise you would be for the boys. I would get choked up just thinking about it. And, oh my word, when we walked in and they saw you sticking your furry little head out of that Christmas box, it was magical to see Drew's expressions go from confusion, to hopeful understanding, and then to joy like I've never seen.

But I also kept trying to remind myself that it was not about the wedding, it was about the marriage. You were not to be just one shining event.  You would be here to stay.

The moments in the past ten days of watching the boys with you make my heart burst wide open. There are the gleeful giggles of Drew when you romp all over the floor with him.  There is the peace and calm of Kyle while you sleep on his chest. Joe is your protector. He will rescue you from the craziness of rough and tumble brothers when he sees you are overtired. He is my greatest partner in crate training you. You are most certainly the best of all Christmas gifts for them.

But here's where I have to get real, Mack. I gotta tell you something that I'm pretty sure you know already. I'm not the most enthusiastic dog person that ever lived. And by that I mean, um . . . I'm not a dog person.  If I was to be an animal person of any sort or kind, I would choose to be a dog person though.  So, put that in your win column, 'kay?

I've been saying "No. Absolutely, no." to the boys when they've asked for a dog for years. And there was not one moment in the few weeks of considering this more seriously when I thought I was fully ready for this. I was never all in, but I wanted you for the boys. I don't consider myself a terribly indulgent mom, but this is an area where I really wanted to just give them what they wanted. And we decided that I never would be 100% sure, so we just did it.

I am sure that you know as well as I know that this is all new to me. I've never been the girl who coos and squeals and grabs the puppy dog out of someone's hands.

A chubby human newborn baby? Yes. I will snatch up a bundle of pink cheeks and fat fingers faster than you can say "Amber Alert". I will breathe in the smell of a little hairless baby's head all day long.

But, I've never been the girl who loves "puppy kisses". (eww.) The nipping at my fingers and toes? It freaks me out a little. Claws scratching and rolling around on my sofa? It's like nails on a chalkboard. I've never been one to lean into a doggie that jumps on me. I've always tensed and backed away. My mom says a huge German Shepherd jumped on me and scared the fire out of me when I was three years old and that was that.  But I don't know if that's the thing.  I just know that I could have lived the rest of my days without a pet and been just fine and dandy.

(Cue loss of a great number of readers at this point)

I don't want to be like that. I very much wish it wasn't so.  Still, everyone - and I mean, everyone - has reassured me, "Well, you might be getting this dog for the boys, but have no doubt.  The boys will not take the lead on caring for the dog, no matter what they say. This will be your dog. You will love him the most and he will love you the most."

And I would think, "But what if? What if it isn't that way? What if I don't fall in love with you and you don't fall in love with me?  What if? What kind of horrible person will that make me?"

Listen. I'm going to try really hard, Mack, to become a reasonable degree of "dog person" because I think you're worth it. I guess I could hope that I'll soon start referring to myself as your "mom" and to you as my 4th child.  Maybe I'll start talking incessantly in baby talk about you as if you're a human. Knit you a sweater, maybe. Perhaps, I'll carry you around in my purse. I mean the Lord can do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.  But, I think we need to aim low, bud, and plus, both Sister and BFF said they will disown me in that case.  ;-)

I'm working really hard, Mack. I came up with your name all by myself. The boys were in agreement so we named you for my favorite Texas Longhorn Football coach of all time, Mack Brown. So, that in and of itself is a good start for us, no? Even though the boys really have spent every single minute with you, I've welcomed you and loved you.

I have a pile of books and websites to read on how to raise you right. I've taken you out in the dark of night and picked up your poop. I've been up with you in the early morning to feed you and am almost able to smell dog food without gagging.  (Almost.) I've rubbed your belly and your ears and played with you and the 325 puppy toys we've seemed to accumulate in less than two weeks. Yes, I have had one two - three meltdowns wondering if I am really up for this.  But those have been after sleepless nights and are pretty darn similar to the ones I had when the boys were babies.

This morning, after you cried for the better part of three hours, I was close to tears again. But after you'd eaten and gone outside and played with your toys, the sun came up and I sat down and took a deep breath. Soon enough, there you were at my feet and I guess perhaps you had some things to tell me, too.

You waddled up and cocked your head to the side and I stared down into your little smushed up face. I felt like you were saying, "It's okay, lady.  I'm not sure about you either.  And I know that you're all worked up about your house smelling like dog, but perhaps you should start by doing something about your morning breath, sister."

I'm going to try really hard everyday to become what you need me to be and I'm also going to try to chill out a little bit, okay? We'll be okay, I think, Mack.

I mean, come on, you're named for a winner, right? You and me? We're gonna be champions. Let's do this, bud.

Mom Me

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