When I was 21 years old, and I must say, this was not one of my shining years, I adopted a 6 week old puppy. I deliberately chose a male from the litter, as I decided there would be at least one male in my life who I would love without hesitation and with no question. Jack suffered with me through many an adventure, he also blissfully trekked across most of the mountain west, frolicked on the coast, covered miles and miles of trails, and, well, was my constant companion for 15 years. He was not well-trained, but he had human qualities (that are often a result of being a very spoiled dog) that made him quite equipped for most social situations. He went to bars, to parties, weddings (though, more often than not, the bow-tie I painstakingly chose for him for each event ended up floating down a creek before the ceremony had begun). He survived my driving. He sang along to Lyle Lovett with me...or Jane's Addiction, depending on the mood. He graciously took in a younger brother (Lyle, who remains with me). He tolerated a series of boyfriends and lovers who stayed in his life for varying lengths of time. He was my ambassador at various campgrounds, and, when people asked me if I was camping alone, it always confused me, as, couldn't they see that Jack was right there with me? He read Edward Abbey next to campfires with me.
Jack passed away on the back porch four years ago today. I have a cigar box full of pictures. I smile. I don't need the cigar box, but I am grateful for tangible reminders.
And, in the past two days, I have spoken with the other two men in my life who "I love without hesitation and no question" and who love me in the same way. My brother has been a rock in my life for as long as I can remember-- My best friend growing up, my confidante as an adult. And, although we see each other much too infrequently, his voice calms me. Tonight I called home for a parental pep talk (something I eschewed for way too many years), and when I asked only that my dad tell me that I would be fine, he was gracious and patient enough to reiterate the same sentiment he's been called on to provide for me many times before.
And I'm reminded of the fact that I may be one of the luckiest women I know. I was raised to believe that "The quality of mercy is not strain'd" and that truth and justice may not always prevail, but there is no other way to live. And honesty is in my blood--life would be easier if it was not. I'd love to have a better poker face, or "more skin" as my therapist calls it. I won't trade though.
I like growing up. I like being 40 years old and knowing that I'll be growing up until I'm gone. I wish someone had told me that that was how it worked...for some reason I always thought there was this magic end point where you became a grown up, and from that point on, everything was just leading to greater and greater happiness...or at least security. And I cannot equate the two any longer.