Lessons from Lucy Baby

2012-11-24 15.00.12

As I was on deadline for another column I couldn’t believe I haven’t told you guys yet about my Lucy Baby.



It doesn’t feel like a month ago that she died. My sweet, crazy pup. I still cringe pulling into the driveway late at night, lest she bark and wake the boys. But, she doesn’t.

Finding her stocking in the Christmas trunk is just what I was talking about in my last column, dedicated to her: Grief laced with gratitude.

I miss her. I hate that she’s gone. But, since it’s been a month … I’m actually writing this without crying. The acute, shocked fog of my grief has faded.

Reading my blog archives remembering her, how intensely I loved her … my first baby … that brings tears to my eyes and a sharp twist in my heart. But that will probably always be true.

Lucy was special for a lot of reasons, but one that might not make sense to a lot of people is that she taught me that it is possible to love someone/something as if it were your own … for years I struggled with the possibility that my parents couldn’t really even though they said they loved me, and seemed to mean it, but secretly I wondered, really? Wouldn’t you love me more if I was biologically yours?

This is a ridiculously simplified version of reality, but the condensed version of this story is that in loving Lucy, in taking care of her as a puppy, worrying about her ahead of myself … I learned that yes, without a doubt, my parents could love me as much as anyone else’s even if we didn’t have our blood types in common.

I learned a lot from my Lucy Baby, but that’s one of the lifetime lessons she gave me.

Guys, I know there’ve been some bummer posts on here but I have to tell you … there is still joy in my heart and gratitude … so know that despite the hard stuff, I still see and seek the good and we are doing  alright. This is just … real life.

Now, I know there are some elf haters out there … but since Finn the Elf made his debut, fun posts to follow!

Also … super excited to share THIS weekend I’m turning in the final documents for my journaling class The Art of Self Preservation I get to teach through Big Picture Classes. {Hello, dream come true!}

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Jealous much?

Dscf3491 Mine will be the kid who can't move his arms on snow days. But at least he's warm, right?

We went for a little walk in the snow today and came home to find Lucy had dug through the garbage can full of diapers, raw chicken, coffee grounds and other yummy treats. She made a point to shred one diaper in each room. Also, she got Sam's Rookie Bear teething toy and appears to have dragged it through her path of destruction.

Luckily, I'm a scrapbooker so I pulled my camera out of my pocket and took some pictures of the carnage before commencing my hazmat cleanup. Dscf3493 Dscf3494

Lucy Brown strikes back

January_17_2008_002 January_17_2008_004 Lucy's been acting the part of a jealous toddler with little passive aggressive moves like waiting until I have my hands full feeding the baby and then taking something out of the trash, going out of her way to show me she has contraband in her mouth and then trotting upstairs knowing all the while that I don't raise my voice while feeding him and I'm not about to chase up the stairs after her.

I'm learning to get things up out of temptation's way before leaving the house. The other day she supervised me folding laundry. We made eye contact when I put Sam's puppy rattle in the middle of the bed where she couldn't reach it. Then she supervised me putting his miscellaneous baby crap in a basket by his swing-crib. Can't you just see her with a visor, clipboard and badge: Lucy Brown, supervisor?

Sam and I headed out to run some errands. Sam had his little playing possum adventure and then we came home to find a series of surprises left by little Miss. Lucy. First thing I see when I open the door is Sam's puppy rattle showing signs of some rough play. Where do you think I found Lucy? On the middle of the bed in place of Rattle Puppy. I saw she rooted through Sam's basket of baby crap. When I went upstairs to my office I saw she'd left some of his things in the doorway. Message received, Lucy Baby.

Best Purchase Ever

Wilco_rcpt A year ago today we headed into town to buy a few little things for our flooring project. And ended up coming home with a little surprise that would change our lives: Little Lucy Baby.

I waited in the truck while Matt ran into the store. I was tired. Or, rather, I thought I was tired. Little did I know we were about to launch one in a series of sleep deprivation exercises. I watched Matt pause at the entrance, bend down, come back up grinning and walk back toward me. Uh-oh. Puppies. I've been avoiding this since 1999. Because I am not a dog person. At all. Lucy_nat_2

Honey. He says it like it's a full sentence. You have to come see this.

No, thanks.

Babe, seriously. They are so cute!

You know I can't just look. So I'm not going to torture myself.

Please just come look.


And then I broke all the rules mentioned in the Labradors for Dummies book that I bought after the fact. There was no research. There was no studying all of the dogs until I picked the "best" one. No. Just this one little chocolate pup picked me. Something compelled me to pick her up and she snuggled right into me. And licked my face! And I didn't hate it. In fact, I felt my heart give. I held her until she got really squirmy. I put her down and she took a few steps away to go potty in private. The other dogs were going right there in the middle of everything. So maybe the "best" dog picked me.

Danger. Danger. Danger. A woman from the parking lot was approaching us rather aggressively. She started to lean toward the little chocolate dog so I took a possessive posture and said, "Isn't she adorable?"
"Oh, is she yours?"
"Yes." Oh God. Yes?!

Matt came out of the store swinging his plastic bag containing $6.98 worth of stuff.

"Yeah. We're going to need $200 and some dog food."

A year later, she's 70 pounds of love but still cuddles with us and has been my favorite purchase ever. I always figured that one day Matt would win the dog debate and I would learn to tolerate his dog. I surprised myself, and everyone who knows me, by how much I love her. She is totally a part of our family. Proof? I have a picture I could use for Christmas cards, but she isn't in it so I have to wait till my amazing photographer sister-in-law can take one of all four of us this weekend.Lucy_on_boards Lucys_green_eyes_2 Lucyfirst_pic Lucy_meets_the_yard 

Our mischievous sprite

Dscf2679 Well Lucy Baby seems to be feeling better. Or at least she's back to her mischievous sprite self. This morning she got into the dirty laundry and managed to distribute socks, t-shirts and underwear throughout the downstairs. When I came back up after picking up after her, I saw that she'd taken one of Baby Chi Chi's teething rings and shredded it all over the upstairs so it looks like someone puked in plastic technicolor. Awesome.

This just in: washing dishes is dangerous. As I was coming up from getting the detergent out from under the sink I whacked my brow bone on the cast iron pan sitting on the edge of the counter. Sam's first word will most likely be a swear word. Sorry, dad.

I have my first postpartum doctor's appointment tomorrow. I wonder if the chart notes will mention my new black eye under the section about how we are coping with the new changes.

For the Love of Lucy

I'm touched by how many people have asked how Lucy is doing with the upcoming changes.

She was fine until the day Baby Chi Chi's gift from Omama and Opapa arrived: an awesome stroller/car seat combo. When Matt pulled the stroller out of the box Lucy just flipped out. She started barking her "Danger! Intruder!" bark and backing away with her hackles up. Then she started barking at Matt for not doing anything about it. She refused to have anything to do with him for the rest of the night. Then, she went on a hunger strike. I thought surely she would come near the stroller if I put her food by it. Nope. I considered leaving treats for her on the stroller's snack tray, but then realized that would be teaching her to eat off the stroller and I don't want to have her eating Baby's Cheerios someday.

Matt likes to pretend that it's just me that spoils her. But then he does endearing things like making this call from work.

"I'm just calling to check on Lucy, is she okay yet?"
"Well, that's her barking in the background. She's been doing it since, uh, first thing this morning and shows no sign of stopping."

"Shit. I think we're going to have to take her and the stroller for a walk tonight. I'm going to feel pretty stupid pushing around and empty stroller."
"And I'm going to be pissed if people ask me if I've had the baby already and I'm standing there with my 9-month-pregnant belly."

"We have to do something."
"Okay. We'll do it. It'll associate something positive with the stroller. It's a good idea. Then, we'll never speak of it again."

I am happy to report that Lucy spared us this embarrassment by finally coming around. But, once again, managed to make us demonstrate what lengths we're willing to go to for. What, I wonder, will be willing to do for our little Chi Chi? 

Is bubble wrap cool yet?

Dscf2499 I am as surprised as the next person to realize the depth of my love for a dog of all things. I remember the exact moment when I realized I was absolutely nuts over her. We were in Walla Walla visiting Matt's parents for the holidays. Matt was feeding his mom's horses with 8-week-old Lucy underfoot. She got a little brave and started running alongside one of the horses. I watched in horror from the balcony as one of these humongous beasts struck at her. All I could do was scream from a distance as I sprinted toward her. She tumbled out of the way and managed to avoid being stampeded to death.

I called YaYa that night with this to say: "I do not know how you send those boys of yours out into the world wearing just plain cotton. I'm not having kids until they make bubble wrap cool to wear."