On Monday, August 17th, we said goodbye to our Harley Dog.
Harley The Happy Dragon joined my life unexpectedly, in 2003. He was with me through my tumultuous twenties, through dating and heartbreak and flings that got flung, he was my guy. He was always my favorite bedmate.
He kept me company studying late nights through college, and saw me off before sunrise when I was doing my field research. He knew me when I was young and dumb and reckless and lost. He knew me before I knew myself.
Harley’s brain tumor grew fast, and his health deteriorated very quickly. In a matter of weeks he went from the Happy Dragon that we all knew and loved, to living in constant confusion and pain. There was no enjoyment left in his life, and that’s when we knew it was time to let him go.
I was able to spend the whole weekend with Harley, before he died. We hung out on the floor in a cuddle pile for pretty much the entire 48 hours, and that was a gift. Many of our friends stopped by to say their goodbyes – a testament to his amazing spirit, that he had touched so many lives and had so many people who loved him.
Damian brought Waits to say goodbye too. We talked about what would happen on Monday, and Waits drew a picture of the two of them together. That picture is hanging in our living room now, as a memorial.
I rescued Harley from a kill-shelter in 2003, and he died peacefully in my arms 12 years later. I will miss him forever, but I’m just so glad that I found him.
Last Wednesday, Waits started kindergarten. And it was so much more of an intensely emotional experience than I had anticipated.
For me, not for him.
Damian was out of town for the 10 days before school started, and I was so happy and grateful to have that time to savor life with my sweet little boy. I wanted to steep in every last second of it.
Kindergarten is a beautiful beginning, and I’m very excited for Waits to start this great new adventure . . . but I’m also sad, because this is really an ending, too, in its way. I guess that every beginning is.
My baby is growing up, and it’s stunning and magnificent to behold, and sometimes it also hurts. The other moms tell me that’s normal.
On the first day of school, Waits skipped into his classroom and bellowed, “Hi Miss Anne! I’m Waits Rebhal: W-A-I-T-S R-E-B-H-A-L. This is my class!” and sat down on the circle rug to make new friends.