Our week of dog-sitting came to an end last night. The kids lined up and said their goodbyes and Kaylee/Maggie and I got in the car and I drove her home. She was pretty calm until we pulled up in front of her house. And then she lost it, hurling herself at the car windows, bounding around from seat to seat until she could find a way out. I grabbed her leash and she hauled me out of the car and raced up the fronts steps of her home. I called out, ‘Goodbye Kaylee’ once we were inside, but she ran off, never even looking back in acknowledgement. I wonder if she woke up this morning, safe in her own home, and thought that her time with us must have been no more than a crazy week-long dream.
I can’t say I don’t feel the same sometimes.
The kids were sad this morning. But it was something of a relief not to have to scream “Close the gate!” thirty five times, and not to worry about her bolting if it was left open. The kids walked around the yard, perhaps hoping she’d materialize from behind a bush.
And then they stumbled upon this, tucked under the stairs.
“Hey, someone left us a bucket of fish!” hollered Bennett.
“How did fish get in the plant pot?” asked Efram.
I explained to them that they were not in fact fish, but tadpoles, and that a frog must have deposited them there for safe keeping.
Once Francie got over her revulsion at the idea of a frog hopping and depositing around our garden (she shouldn’t be shocked, we do live minutes from the lake), her face lit up.”You mean they’re turning into frogs?” she asked.
Fiona threw her arms up in the air, “We’re getting pe-ets! We’re getting pe-ets!”
France joined in, “We’re growing fro-ogs! We’re growing fro-ogs!”
That’s right. Any thought of that fluffy Airedale has quickly been replaced by a bucket of slimy frog spawn.
I’m trying not to draw too many parallels from the entire situation. No, the kids won’t be anything like Kaylee when they head off to college/prison, never looking back. No, they won’t forget about how much they loved me once we’re all no longer under the same roof. No, it’ll be different for me, for us. I won’t be replaced by a bucket of frog spawn.
Until then, I have to get through a summer, which despite all my cynicism and anxiety, is shaping up to be one the best we’ve had in a long while. And I’m not just talking about the weather. Even if the boys did swap names at sailing camp today and infuriate the instructor. Even if M is traveling so much I’m convinced he’s got a wife in another town (I know better to think that he’d try this kid experiment again any time soon). Even if I had to trade an Airedale for a bucket of spawn.
It’s all good.