I'm sitting here trying to post something fun and interesting and I started thinking about our first child. You mean you didn't know about our very FIRST child? The one before the triplets, before the mayhem, before the $120 in diapers a month? Coincidentally, he's staring at me right now from his favorite chair with a look that says, "I could really go for some ____ (insert any edible food name here)." Yes, it's Wilson. In case you missed it, Wilson is our almost 6 year old golden retriever and the oldest of the Clifford children. He's kind of been pushed down a few rungs on the ladder over the last few years and I thought he deserved some time in the spotlight.
Simply put, Wilson is the best dog EVER. And I swear I'm not just saying that because he's mine. He really is the best. Think the "Marley and Me" type of man-dog camaraderie minus all the bedlam caused by a 100 pound over exuberant dog. He has the best temperament in the world (the kids pull his hair, ride him, and he just takes it), he's the perfect size (he's a small retriever at about 60 pounds), and he is a living, breathing food vacuum cleaner, which is perfect for a family with 4 kids running around. He does have a slight barking problem (being that he does a bit too much of it for my taste), but we'll just write it off as being protective.
Wilson was our first big purchase once we were married in May of 2004. In fact, I vividly remember discussing the what, where, and how of when we would get our puppy while we were on our honeymoon! We knew Wilson was the one for us as soon as we saw him at the breeder's home. How can anyone resist a puppy this cute?
Wilson was our baby for 3 and a half years and we definitely treated him like a spoiled only child. He went with us everywhere and even got his own wardrobe on occasion.
Yes, Wilson definitely lived in the lap of luxury for those short 3.5 years (or 24.5 dog years if you're counting). Days at the pool ...
Naps on the couch ...
And basically being the center of our attention. Then, we rocked his world when we brought 3 babies home and nothing was ever the same for him. Sure we still loved him, but all of a sudden there weren't enough hours in the days to go swimming, throw the ball AND go for a ride in the car. We just didn't have the time. I think Wilson was sad, but he understood. He was pretty tired himself from getting up to feed babies at all hours of the night too (yes, he did get up with us every time we had to feed the babies at night). Before I knew it, I started to notice that he was graying in the face. Poor Wilson, what had we done to him?
But as I thought about it, I know that he wouldn't trade it for anything. Sure we don't have quite as much time to shower uninhibited affection on him every hour of the day, but I think that he knows he is loved by all of us. He still loves to curl up beside us on the couch and just snuggle. And every night he makes sure to warm the bed up for us before we come up the stairs to bed.
In a way, Wilson is a marker for us to see how far we have come in our marriage. He is what we started with when we were just beginning this journey. And although we have taken some big twists and bends in the road on our way to where we are now, Wilson has stuck with us the whole way. He reminds me that we can do anything together as a family and no matter how much things change, I know he will still love us ... no matter what. Not that it's going to happen anytime soon (I'm hoping never), but I'm really going to have a hard time when Wilson is gone. It will be like a part of my life - the beginning of my life as a wife and mother - will have been taken away from me. But, for now, I know Wilson will always be there to greet me with a kiss and a face that you can't resist petting.
We love you Willie! And I promise not to do anything like this to you ever again (at least not until next Christmas) ...