Love Me, Love My Dog

This has been a great Thanksgiving weekend, with my ninety-year-old mother-in-law, Anna, and the older of my two stepdaughters, Maureen, here for a visit.

But the star of the visit–as usual–is our miniature dachshund, Happy. After having had a dog of that breed many years ago, I knew that’s what we would want when we first considered getting a puppy about five years ago. And I knew “Happy” would be an appropriate name, even before we drove an hour into the countryside to meet the breeder and see the puppy we would ultimately decide to buy.

We didn’t get to take her home that day because she wasn’t quite old enough–she was born on Christmas day–but several weeks later we made that trek into the country once again to pick up our new little darling. We had used the waiting period to have our existing fence completed on the final side–expensive, but a wise decision.

Happy loves everyone–almost. We like to walk her in the neighborhood when weather permits, and she’s become better known to the little kids, the adults, and the variety of neighboring dogs and cats than Kathleen and I are. No wonder. She’s the center of attention.

She seems to have trouble understanding why the cats won’t pay her any attention, though. What’s so funny is that–if a cat acts like it’s going to attack her–Happy will yelp painfully and scramble away without ever being touched. Anticipatory pain? Who knows?

Back to Thanksgiving. Maureen grew up with dogs in the house, but Kathleen didn’t, and her mother has never had a dog. So we knew her visiting us and being around Happy would be a new experience. I made a prediction. Two, actually. Anna would fall in love with Happy. Maybe that’s not happened quite to the extent I’d expected, but she’s become tolerant of (and apparently not unhappy about) having Happy jump up and get in her lap.

My other prediction, made largely in fun, was that Anna would become so used to Happy that she’d go home and get a dog. A big dog so she could see it more easily and be in less danger of tripping over it. Kathleen thought this prediction to be highly unlikely to happen, and Anna agrees.

I’m not giving up, though. As of the time I’m writing this, she still has three days left during which to become that fond of dogs.

In the meantime, though, I’m just thankful she loves us enough to love–or at least accept–Happy.

Comments are welcome. Please share.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

My Dynamic Mother-in-Law

I’ve been blessed with two wonderful mothers-in-law over the years. The first is now deceased and enjoying the blessings of heaven. She was a wonderful woman, and my divorce from her daughter didn’t make me stop loving her.

And now there’s Anna, who has been my mother-in-law for the past thirteen years. She’s ninety now and in reasonably good health. She lost her husband, J.A.–he had only first and middle initials–at the beginning of this year after going downhill almost from the beginning of my marriage to Kathleen,

She loved and supported him in ways Kathleen and I wouldn’t have had the patience to do, even if we had lived closer. But JA’s demise enabled her to do much of her grieving during his final days, especially after he entered hospice. So his funeral was a celebration of his life, complete with military honors.

Many widows at Anna’s age would’ve grieved themselves into the grave. Or at least thrown their hands up in the air at having to fend for themselves.

But not Anna.

She didn’t waste time moving on with her own life. Yes, she gets some help from her two sons–one lives close enough to be more help than the other–but she still lives by herself at Bellevue Woods, a retirement community owned and operated by Bellevue Baptist Church. “Retirement,” not “Assisted Living.” She doesn’t need that.

Although she rarely drives, she does drive to the Methodist church she faithfully attends. She also stays busy in community activities.

When one of Kathleen’s brothers gave his mom a laptop for her ninetieth birthday, she willingly started learning the basics. She still gets excited when she sees a response  to an email she has sent.

She accompanied one of her sons on a road trip from Memphis to Texas to visit family members she hadn’t seen in a while. How wonderful that she was willing to do that once–and to accept the fact that riding that long in a car is not something she’ll do again.

Even more important to Kathleen and me, she will be flying to Richmond (arriving tomorrow) to visit us for Thanksgiving this year. Although Anna must change planes in Atlanta–that’s an ordeal even for younger, more mobile people–Kathleen has arranged for wheelchair transport between terminals.

What’s extra-special about this trip is it’s the first time she’s been free to visit us in the thirteen years Kathleen and I have been married. Not for lack of a desire to come, though. But because JA’s needs tied her closely to home.

I haven’t seen Anna in two or three years, but Kathleen is probably more accustomed to the fact that her mother has aged and slowed down. But that doesn’t change who she is or how I feel about her. Kathleen normally talks to her mom by phone once a week–I hope we can teach her to use Skype while she’s here!–and she always, ALWAYS has Kathleen tell me she loves me.

What more could I ask for in a dynamic mother-in-law?

What about you? Do you have a favorite relative or in-law? How about sharing a little about him or her?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger