We sat on the stoop last night, with our wine and our new tradition. A few weeks ago, it was still light at 8:30, but not last night. Last night, it was cool, and it was dark. The crazy night bugs clicked and hissed and we listened to their cacophany of sounds. Our little citronella candles flickered, (I still got bitten), and we talked.
We talked about Coco. I said I missed him. It strikes me at odd moments like that. I thought about how, if he were still alive, he would be curled up right behind us, he legs stretched out so that his scratchy-padded feet would rest on our backs. I miss that. We talked about how he would roll over and moan. I’ve never before, and never since, heard a dog moan like he did. And then we talked about how he would stretch out, so that by the end of an evening, I would be smooshed into the arm of one end of the couch, The Man into the other end, and ol’ Coco would be fully laid out in the middle. We talked about what a good dog he was. Those memories are good, good memories. Yes, I miss that dog, and I guess I always will.
We talked about how we’re going to landscape things…like we always do.
We talked about Henry, when he was a baby, when our life was still full of levity, and our schedule was still full of freedom. The funny things he used to do, even as a baby. He has always been (just a bit of) a clown.
What we didn’t talk about were the hard memories. The sad things.
It’s amazing how life turns out. How your life can be so chock full o’ joy that you can hardly stand it. And then all of a sudden, those things that bring you joy can start falling like ducks, right out of the air. And you become sort of an unfilled person. And there is no joy.
And then, one September day, God dumps this little miracle right into your lap. Sometimes it takes a little while to think of it that way. But soon, the dreams of what your life will be like start to look a little prettier. And you come around.
I came around.
I watched her this weekend. Her hair was thrown up in a messy bun, and loose strands floated by her face in the breeze. I saw how the afternoon sun lit in her hair. And how her freckles, still tiny little pinpoints, dotted her nose and cheeks. And she was stunning. She was absolutely stunning.
“Ella, you are stunning.”
“You really are.”
And I just smiled, because she fills me.