Last summer Greg begged me for either a baby or a dog.
I don't know why or how, but suddenly an urge had come over Greg. An urge to care for, to provide for, to protect. Out of nowhere he felt this deep desire to be responsible for someone else's life.
I didn't totally understand. I was in the middle of a beautiful summer. Three months off of teaching, a trip to Hawaii, frequent visits to the water park, late nights reading my books- who needs another living thing to take care of? I was just fine thank you very much.
But Greg kept pressing. Week after week,
Finally toward the end of summer I relented. I told him we could look for dogs.
So the puppy hunt commenced.
It certainly wasn't all fun and games looking for a dog. We wanted different things. I was about as flexible as a board. (Isn't it sad that the person who wants it least has the most power?) I would not have a dog who shed. I would not have a big dog. The only dog I would have, in fact, was a toy poodle.
Greg was exasperated. He wanted a dog, yes, but what kind of a dog is a toy poodle anyway? An insult to his manhood, that's what kind of a dog a toy poodle is! So the dog hunt stalled and stalled. We couldn't agree on anything.
In October I found Maverick on KSL. He was a redhead, just like Greg. A little toy poodle puppy at a reasonable price, just waiting to come home to a loving family. I called Greg from work to tell him I had found a possibility and by the time I came home that night Greg had already done the research and was 100% convinced we should buy the pup.
There were frantic, quick phone calls and before I knew it I was driving an hour and a half to pick up a puppy while Greg was on his way to rehearsal. I had never seen that man so excited in his whole life. "When I come home tonight I will have a dog!" he shouted on his way out the door.
And just like that, we were now the proud owners of a little toy poodle.
And proud, were we ever! It amazed me how quickly I fell head over heels in love with the little guy. Both Greg and I were borderline obsessed.
"Look at Mav!" we'd exclaim.
"Isn't that the funniest thing? He's rolling on the floor with that teddy bear."
"Oh my gosh, Maverick is watching TV!"
We transitioned easily into a little family of three. In some odd sense, it felt like Maverick had always been with us- like he had never not been part of the family. Life was easy with Maverick- we took him on walks, we played fetch, we laughed constantly at the silly puppy things he did. When Greg was gone I texted him pictures of Mav and when I was at work Greg would update me on Mav's potty schedule. We were successfully responsible for a living thing!
Lest you think I'm telling you only half the story, it wasn't all roses and unicorns. There were some difficulties, some growing pains. The first eight weeks we would have to wake up in the night to take Maverick out to the bathroom. He cried at 3 am for no good reason. He kept us up; I went to work sleep deprived from a needy, anxious puppy. We started to feel guilty if we were away from him for more than three or four hours. We got stressed when his poop looked abnormal. People everywhere told us it was great training for a real baby. Surely we were nowhere near real parents, but we started to believe them. Was this maybe, just maybe, a little taste of parenthood?
Fall was so good to us this year, lingering all the way through October and even into November. The days were beautiful and warm and we soaked them all up. All through October I took Maverick on warm, afternoon walks.
One day in mid November the weather finally began to turn. It was one of those idyllic, cold fall days- the first of the cold- when sweaters and boots are a novelty, and it's so fun to get bundled up and feel just a little bit of that cool air again. I looked out my classroom windows during fourth period, admiring the changing seasons and the falling leaves. A student said to me, "I love this gloomy weather!" I agreed. The wind, the dark skies, the threatening rain were all so incredibly welcome and eerily romantic. A stormy, fall day- almost like a scene from a book. One of those days where all you want to do is go home, make some wassail, put on your pumpkin spice candle, and indulge in a long, hot bubble bath. That was my plan for after work, at least.
On the way home from school I stopped at Target to pick up some bubble bath. I picked out the bubbles, wandered around the store in no particular hurry, looked casusally at some nail polishes. Passing the "ladies" section I remembered I was a few days late on my period. Maybe? I've never been too great at tracking the bugger, but it seemed like it should have come that weekend. Friday or Saturday maybe? And now it was Tuesday. Yes, I was possibly a few days late. So I threw a pregnancy test in the cart.
When I came home I forgot about the pregnancy test. The day felt so lazy and carefree. Greg wouldn't be home until six, dinner was already in the crockpot, I was totally free for a couple of hours. I fixed myself a snack, watched a bit of TV and then went to fill the tub. The pregnancy test fell out of the bag as I reached for the bubble bath.
Oh, yes. That.
As I filled the tub I unwrapped the pregnancy test, peed on a little, plastic stick and waited patiently, tapping my chipped fingernails on the counter sink.
Last summer Greg begged me for either a baby or a dog.
Little did I know that come July I'd be giving him both.
The night we found out our happy news.