31 Days of Dogs, 10/18

Today is my mom’s birthday. She would be 68. As the years go by, her birthday gets harder. Her death day gets easier; that’s the day her suffering ended.

Every time I go to my dad’s house, I steal some of my mom’s clothes. He knows this; I know this. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. He still can’t bear to get rid of them, and I can only handle a few at a time. Either way, her closet and drawers are slowly depleted and given to a good home.

“Is that Ama’s?” That’s what my daughter always asks me.

And I always say, “Yes.”

She thinks it’s creepy that I wear the clothes of someone who died three and a half years ago, although she acknowledges that my mom had much better taste in clothes than I do.

Last time I was at my dad’s, while he was fly fishing in Wyoming, I took a bunch of Mom’s sweaters, just in case I go up north soon to see my son. Living in Central Texas, I don’t get enough excuses to wear sweaters.

Mom did not like my dogs. She pretended to like Darlin’, the dog we had before Polo and Clover, but she was just being nice. I get that. She was the kind of person who could not spread her love between dogs and children very equitably. Before she had kids, she and my dad had Chula, a poodle. They had another poodle after I came, Lady, but after she died, it was a long time before we got another dog.

The next one was Ginger—Lady Gingerbread—a red cocker spaniel. I loved her so much I rewrote the song “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof” to her. We eventually had to give her away because she bothered my brother’s allergies too much. I still remember the sweet college girl who came to claim her.

After I was in college myself, my brother got his own dog, Sam, a white Lab. Sam lived outside so that my brother’s allergies wouldn’t be too bad. He and his wife and three kids now have a chocolate Lab (who stays indoors) and a cat (which my brother swore he couldn’t tolerate). Funny how being a parent changes us.

I have decided that from henceforth—God willing—never be without two dogs again. Polo and Clover are sisters, so they are on the same lifespan track, baring injury or illness. I think next time I want to get big dogs. Darlin’ was 30 pounds; these two are just under 20. I want me a big-ass dog, even though I’m barely 5’2”. If Sam were still around, I’d take him in. All my dogs are rescues.


  1. big hug to you Megan…

  2. I was thinking about you when I woke up this morning. I had no idea it was your mom’s birthday. Guess God was nudging me. Hoping you stay wrapped up in His comfort all day long.

    In a twist for me, my mom died two weeks before her own birthday, which she shared with her favorite dog, Beamer. It is a bit hard to celebrate Beamer’s birthday now, but I think he gets it. He’s just like that.

    And just you saying “big-ass dog” gives comedy to my day. Thanks for that.

  3. i’m with carolyn on the “big-ass dog” thing. 🙂 it makes me smile.

  4. This makes me sigh, on so many levels. Your mom and I were born in the same year. I hadn’t realized that – I was at the beginning of 1945, she near the end. She was way too young to deal with all she dealt with – and so were you. Love you. (And I totally get the clothes thing. We have our dads’ shirts and hats hanging on our hatrack. We don’t wear them (not the right size), but they’re there to touch and remember.)

  5. Your mom and my daughter share a birthday. Now I will always remember. Thank you for introducing me to her dogs–and for introducing her to me more deeply through this.

    And I say “Amen” to the big-ass dog.