What Bailey Helps Me Remember

She’s on the couch to my left, draped on the cushion in baby deer fashion, all her long legs splayed outward and converging in a point, making her look a bit like a triangle. When I look over to mark these details, she lifts her head and looks at me, flop ears, a fuzz of white beard, and a permanent gloomy expression that make my daughter’s impression of her voice, which sounds exactly like Sadness from Inside Out, make giggly perfect sense.

I hadn’t planned on a dog right now–my commitment to a cat four years ago was for me a decided step into the feline lane of pet ownership, and one pet was enough for me. But then Matt came along and Matt is a person for whom life is incomplete without a pup, and so he had–and now we have–Bailey.

Bailey automatically loves everything. This is nice, because it means that my kids and I were included in her free doling of affection and our blended family status was relatively easy to achieve, but it’s also weird. Sometimes I look at her with raised eyebrow skepticism, wondering, how can anything love something that much and that completely? And of course this is not really a question about her, but my own rhetorical pleading into the nothingness about how sad it is that other forms of love can’t work this way, or my mourning that when they do–when they are free and full–they are only waiting for their day of damage.

But this is why we need her just as much as she needs us–this is why I need her. To remind me that the simplest, best answer to anything is to feel blissfully happy that I have a warm home and food and walks outside and someone to scratch my head–well maybe not that, but that I do have people who look up and smile and are glad every time I walk in the door, even if they don’t literally bounce up and down and ping among the pieces of living room furniture, as Bailey does.

Today’s prompt: Did you discover any new loves in 2020? A person? A hobby? A place? A feeling? A routine? An idea? Or perhaps you rekindled a previous love. Write about a new or rejuvenated love.

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