January 7, 2018 by whirlyjoy
The Wonder Dog broke her foot on New Year’s Eve. Mimi was out babysitting, which is my favorite safe place for my 16-year-old to be on this night of the year. The Dragon Lover and I had enjoyed a festive dinner of Dick’s cheeseburgers and chocolate milkshakes at the beach (festive in that we packed our own bacon to add to the burgers, a special touch not available on the menu of this otherwise perfect local drive-up burger icon). We’d returned and were getting dressed in our party clothes, while the Wonder Dog celebrated our return from our long hour away by zooming excitedly up and down the stairs and doing little dance steps at our feet, and also with a hopeful demeanor near the counter where her snacks are kept.
At some point I stopped hearing her collar jingling. I called her name – still no jingle. Dress on but not yet zipped, tights draped over my arm, I began looking around for her. When I spotted her on the landing down the stairs from the kitchen, she gazed up at me and laboriously rose to three paws, her huge eyes asking me what the hell was going on here.
This summer we officially joined our families by moving in together. We adopted the Wonder Dog to fulfill a promise and overcome some understandable teenage mutiny around sharing a smallish townhouse between four full-sized people. She is the tiny but powerful dollop of glue that holds us together. Even when Mimi wants to pretend she lives alone (which is always) or G-Man is strongly exhibiting his feelings about losing his 15-year-long only-child status, we all love the Wonder Dog and communicate enthusiastically around the timing of her last poop, how long she’ll “stay” on command and whether or not we’re really going to stick to this rule of not hand-feeding her from our plates.
We were slow and careful in making our cohabitation plans – so much so that we ended up priced out of the overheated Seattle market for a larger home in the neighborhoods that would not further disrupt the children by making them change schools. As a result we are now jumbled together in what the Dragon Lover calls our “hip, urban abode,” pioneers in what I’m sure is the new normal for this once sleepy little northwest city, back when Boeing was the only name recognition it offered.
Spending New Year’s Eve at the doggie ER, toasting midnight with lukewarm cider in plastic cups while Wonder Dog was being loaded up with intravenous methadone and a splint and bandage that appeared to be about half the size of her eight-pound body, was not at all representative of the year 2017. Or maybe it was, in that life threw its usual allotment of curveballs over the course of the year, but instead of having to field them alone, now I have the Dragon Lover to catch some of them. And to catch me when the threads holding me together fray too thin.
The DL of course comes with his own juggling package of clubs and daggers and flaming torches – but in the psychedelic dreamscape of relationship, all those items in the air move much more slowly when we’re watching them together, and the landings feel softer and less threatening when observed from a bedtime snuggle at the end of the day.