(I know. I know. I promised to regale you with the juicy details of my Thursday night and I will soon. But even Dave Matthews (and Tom Brokaw and Jimmy Fallon and Eliot Spitzer!) can't compete with this little guy. So, first things first.)
Once upon a time, there was a woman. A mother of of five. A wife of one. A grandmother of many. An avid reader. A busy and beautiful person warmed by the gravitas of a very full life. One crisp October day, everything changed for this woman. There was some news, cryptic and devastating that life was not guaranteed. There were numbers, statistics, that were grim. And time passed because that's what it does. Cruelly, the seasons changed. Slowly and yet way too fast. And then it was summer. And in July, the end was near. And this woman was aware of the end, but not ready. Never ready.
And then it happened and everything was different. A part of her was gone. But with time, through the gray, she could glimpse flickers of life, past, present and future. The return of laughter. From her children and herself. The smile of a baby. The wag of a tail. The cozy purrs. And then another loss. More cancer. This time taking the life of an old and loyal dog. Another void. Another reminder.
And then this woman remembered what her husband had once said. That he had the energy for one more. One more lab. And so. She made it happen. To honor him. To honor the past, the blaze of memories. She traveled, this time alone, to pick up new life. She brought him home. To a place he'd never been, but wholly belonged. Into the folds of her life. And she gave him a great name. One in honor of her man's old friend and her family's favorite oak tree. Where an old tire swing still hangs from old rope, tortured and tattered. A swing no longer used. And around this little guy, this tiny reminder with big paws, her children and their children and her pets flocked. A family welcome.
Welcome, little guy. We love you already. Take good care of her, okay?