Friday, December 05, 2008

I think I'm crying!

We have a new neighbor.

I haven't been able to catch him on film (pixels?) yet, but we've seen him twice, and we know he's there. He looks a little like this: (Image Source: Erwin C. Nielsen/Painet Inc., Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

Thanksgiving night we pulled into the driveway around 11:30, after a fun, long day at Rachel Anne's. We spotted him, his top-heavy form non-chalantly lumbering his way to the warmth under our shed.

The kids immediately gathered around (from a distance), watching. Just wait till they told all their friends in Big Suburb!

I ran into the house for the camera, and immediately heard screaming.

"Cowboy! Cowboy! Cowboy! Get in the house!!"

Cowboy is, of course, our Schnoodle. The poodle half of him makes him smart and a good lap dog. The Schnauzer half just can't resist a good chase.

Lord have mercy, I thought. That poor city dog does not have a clue what he's in for! I wonder if I have any tomato juice, since our ONE little grocery store is closed, even if they did carry something stronger for the occasion. Would tomato soup work?

Fortunately for all of us, Cowboy listened (remember, he's the only dog we've ever had that actually "comes"), and obeyed the frantic calls of five children and a Dad, screaming their heads off at almost midnight. After a recklessly brazen sniff, he came trotting back. Mr. Skunk plodded under the shed, oblivious to all the commotion, and the kids came running after Cowboy into the house to tell me of the close call.

"He got right up to it!"
"He was within spraying distance!"
"I can't believe he didn't get sprayed!"
"Oh, I wish we'd had the camera!"

They were all talking at once. In the crowd of faces, I noticed little Annie-7, who was wide-eyed, animatedly relating her version of the experience, right in there with the big kids. She was giddy and breathless and laughing with excitement, "You should have seen it, Mom!"

Smack in the middle of her tale, tears came streaming down her face.

"I think I'm crying!" she said incredulously. "I don't really know why I'm crying!" she giggled, confused and suddenly embarrassed at the unexpected rush of tears.

There she stood, laughing and crying at her own mixed-up feelings. "I was so happy to see the skunk," she whispered thickly as I scooped her into my arms, "But I was so worried about Cowboy!"

I brushed her hair back and tried to dry her wet eyelashes. I forgot about the dog and the skunk and the camera and the tomato juice. I felt a lump in my throat as I looked at my baby, who was growing up right before my eyes.

Oh, Annie, I know just how you feel. I feel that way a lot.

I held her close, marveling at such big-girl concern, but glad she was still small enough to fit in my lap.

It's okay to stay little and to worry about dogs and to laugh and cry at the same time.

Then we laughed and cried together a bit until we felt better. And in the morning, when we remembered it, we only laughed.


Lori said...

Well I KNOW I am crying after that post. Ok off to hug my babies who are getting taller than me.

amyanne said...

This post made my heart catch. You've got such a way with words!

Unknown said...

You have such a way of putting things down. What a precious moment to share with your baby girl.Thanks for passing along the moment to all of us.

Maureen said...

Aww, what a cute story. Being a Mom is sort of like that, you can cry and laugh, all at the same time and sometimes you're not sure why!!

Man kids grow up fast don't they? As soon as we feasted our eyes on our babies in the delivery room, we and they began the slow but quick process of separation, I am paraphrasing from a book I read called Celebrate Home.
Thanks for the prayers for my family :)

Amanda said...

Yes I loved this post.



Grafted Branch said...

Such sweet sentiments here, Katherine.

My loud, howling, free-to-whomever-wants-her beagle gets sprayed on a regular basis. In the burbs, no less.

Tomato juice? We keep a stash above the utility sink.


Rachel Anne said...

Surprisingly, we have never had a real run-in with a skunk out here. But some friends of ours, who live about a mile down the road, have skunks that nest nearby......their house reeks of skunk INSIDE! It's awful.

Loved this story.

Susanne said...

What a sweet tender heart your little one has.

None of mine are small enough for my lap anymore, which made me want to cry.

Julie said...

I cried. I smiled. I'll pray the skunk goes and finds another home soon.

Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

What a sweetie! Tell her that laugh/cry at the same time thing lasts her whole life.
Glad you escaped skunk calamity. That would have made everyone cry.

count it all joy said...

I love your heartfelt posts. What wonderful "heart" memories you are planting in your family's souls. As for skunks, we don't have them in Australia - they sound scary/interesting - what's with the tomato juice?

Timmarie said...

OK, is it weird that I'M crying???

This story is just too sweet.

Bekah said...

I can't say we've ever had a skunk encounter, but I sure know what you mean about the laugh and cry at the same time emotion, especially regarding my babies.