Friday, December 18, 2009

We have a new dog.

We already have a cat that I don't like, and I didn't care to add to the count of incontinent creatures at my casa. But we have one now. And I'll tell you why.

My son asked for one.

He didn't beg or plead. In fact, his tone was very quiet and polite. I've learned that it's desperately important to him when he speaks that quietly.

We looked for a dog that needed a home. The first one was too much. Too big. Too excited. Too enthusiastic. She knocked the boy down right off the bat. He laughed. I didn't.

This was not going to be our dog.

"I think we need to keep looking, son. What do you think?"

"I think I would like this one," he said in that same soft tone.

"Can you help me get this beast in the car?" I ask the vet's attendant.

Pushover? Not me. I told him he had to vacuum the car when we got home.

The thing is, he's a good boy. He knows we don't make a lot of money and he never asks for big things. I already know he won't shirk the responsibilities required of a dog owner.

But mostly I gave in because he's lonely.

He's smart, articulate, and creative--qualities that are not abundant around here. And this is not an easy place for any of us to make friends. He sits too much with a book or a sketch pad or he stares at the TV.

But yesterday, he spent all afternoon playing tag with his new dog who already worships the boy.

They say that preachers' kids are the worst ones in the community. It's not true about mine. And it wasn't true about me or my siblings when we grew up in a preacher's family.

My kids are some of the best. They're honor students and they win awards in everything they participate in. They're never in trouble. They're creative, articulate, and kind.

And isn't because I've done a stellar job raising them.

I sometimes think about how my children bear the consequences of life choices that I have made. Being a minister can be lonely and frustrating but I chose to do it. They didn't.

So if a dog makes my child less lonely and a little healthier, of course he's going to get one.

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