One evening last week, I walked into the bathroom to wash my hands. I took off my wedding rings, put them on the counter, and turned on the water. The soap dispenser must have had a partial plug because when I pressed it, the entire pump’s worth of soap shot directly into my left eye, leaving me screaming uncontrollably.
While my head was submerged under the faucet and I was attempting to open my left eye, my puppy, Sailor, went counter cruising, stole both of my wedding rings, and put them in her mouth. (Her concern for my lost vision was touching.) As she ran from the bathroom I could hear the metal and diamonds clanking against her teeth. I ran, with one eye shut, chasing her downstairs. She looped around the dining room table and then under the Christmas tree, knocking off a handful of ornaments. When she jumped on the sofa, I tackled her.
With my left eye still soaped shut, I grabbed the rings out of her mouth, put them back on my finger, and scolded her. In protest, she nipped at my ring finger. Smart ass dog.
I was so angry, I wanted to scream. After an hour and a bottle and a half of eye wash, my soapy eye began to feel better. I was still angry with Sailor though. I wandered back downstairs and knelt on the floor by the Christmas tree. I picked up the ornaments that fell during her mad dash and hung them one by one on the tree.
One of the ornaments was a stick figure Santa with a round, foam head and popcycle sticks for skis that I made in preschool. The very same year that I made this ornament for my mom, I snuck out of bed on Christmas morning, carried a giant size box of Tide powdered laundry detergent to the living room, and joyfully spread it all over the floor. I tried to give the carpet even, well-thought out snow coverage. I even created two snowbanks in front of the sofa.
When my parents found me in the living room, I yelled, “Look! It snowed!”
My mother refused to speak to me and went back to bed. My father, not typically the warm and fuzzy type, picked me up, kissed me on the cheek, and sat me on the sofa. I sat motionless for thirty minutes as I watched him vacuum the carpet – twice. Afterward, he made us toast with butter and jelly, which we ate in silence at the kitchen table.
My mother eventually came out of her room, and we opened presents. But what I carry with me about that morning was how gentle my father was with me. He let me be a kid. My heart was light, and he let it stay that way.
As I placed that old ornament back on the tree, I looked over at Sailor, whose sad face was weighing on my heart. All in all, everything was fine. In fact it was better than fine.
My left eye still worked. She didn’t swallow my rings. I didn’t have to go digging through stinky piles in the backyard. We had a tree with old, meaningful ornaments. We had each other. Later that night, she nuzzled in bed between my husband and me.With my ring finger tucked safely under the sheets, I kissed her on the forehead, right between her eyes.
I still haven’t decided what to get Sailor for Christmas. I could sign her up for an advanced obedience course that includes instruction on not stealing my wedding rings.
Or, I could get her coal. Of course, knowing her, she’d probably like that.
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