I will never change my Facebook profile picture. It’s Louis. He was — and I don’t care what anyone says — the best dog who ever lived. And he made it to 18. Fifteen of those with me as his companion and friend.
On Mothers’ Day, it would be the thing to do to change my profile picture to one of one with me and my mom. But, I don’t have a lot of those pictures, because we have adventured together and so one or the other of us has had to take the picture. So, I leave Lou there, as he is, because he was my best friend and fellow traveler for a third of my life because my mom helped me see hope in his eyes.
And it was hard for Lou and I to become friends, because everything I did scared him for at least three years. I remember the ritual that my family was so patient with of announcing our presence before we entered a room, and loudly informing Louis of our intent to walk behind him so he didn’t jump up and try to kill us all. That was work and well worth it. Lou became part of our family in a way that still has us telling stories about him, laughing, and being sad about his absence. He came into our lives because of my mom.
She has the kindest heart wrapped up in the fiercest sinew and always has given her daughters the best guidance about how to be in the world– sometimes explicit and sometimes requiring us to dig for the lesson. Lou will stay right where he is, as the truest companion I have had on my journey, and because I never would have met him were it not for my mother’s lessons.
My mom imparted in me the gift of recognizing friends. They might not appear in the form you expect them to, so you have to look, be still, open up and destroy your expectations. If you wait and look–really look–they are right there. The friends of any species I have known and loved — and who have loved me back—are all because my mom taught me to look inside.
Happy Day to every person who has served as a mother, shepherd, cheerleader, guidance counselor, voice of reason, and champion of the absurd for a kid who needed it. And, all my heart and love to the woman who did and continues to do all that and more for me.