How many conversations have started that way? I wonder....
Anyway, Mike Spencer once said that it might be helpful for me to write things down. This suggestion happened to be in relation to thoughts about my parent's deaths and how at times I just seem to relive certain moments that, quite honestly, I'd rather not relive. His thinking was that by writing these thoughts down I could sort of put them somewhere so I didn't have to keep processing them. At least that's how I interpreted what he said.
Well, I bought a little orange notebook to use for just that purpose. I now use it to take down dimensions and stock numbers of appliances that Rob and I think we might like for our new kitchen. I had good intentions about using it for the original purpose, but really it's perilously close to "journaling," and that's just not something I do.
Except then I realized that that's pretty much exactly what I do on this stupid blog.
Anyway, all of that to say that I had an experience this weekend that I need to put somewhere so I can stop reliving it in my head.
Most people know that I am not really a dog person. I don't dislike dogs -- in fact at times I kind of want a dog -- but I am not especially drawn to them. In particular I am not a fan of large dogs. OK: at the core of it, I'm afraid of them. Not big loopy goofy happy dogs like Labs but Big Dogs That Mean Business. I don't trust them. I know that, at the end of the day, they are animals. And even with the greatest cat in the world (mine of course), at the end of the day he is still an animal and you never know for sure what an animal will do.
So, now you know my thing about dogs -- and I'm sure you can imagine where this is going.
This weekend we went out to Philly for the memorial service of one of Rob's great-uncles. We stayed with the in-laws, as usual, as well as their akita. (An akita, in case you are unfamiliar with the breed, is a Big Dog That Means Business.) I am able to function reasonably well around the dog -- we aren't friends per se, but we co-exist. Sara, on the other hand, loves anything furry with a tail and has no fear whatsoever of the Big Dog and so I am terrified for her. The Big Dog is intrigued, perplexed, puzzled, probably somewhat annoyed by Sara but for the most part doesn't get much past sniffing her. A couple of times -- and always without provocation -- he growled at her and I flashed my Mommy armor, though every time I was reassured that it was nothing, he is just jealous of the attention he was losing to Sara, he was startled, etc. He needed to get used to her, come to think of her as family and then he would protect her.
And then it happened. I knew it would, could sense it coming. The Mama instinct in me could see it and feel it and was completely powerless to stop it. The Big Dog bit her. On the face. And there was blood.
It's funny because at the time I was probably the most composed person there. Sara, of course, was scared and wailing. Rob was furious. My mother-in-law was crying. I just wanted my daughter to be OK and, after a few minutes, she was. I consoled my mother-in-law, calmed my husband, and kept feeding Sara ice cubes and bacon. The dust settled. The dog went outside and will never have contact with Sara again.
But it's not, because all night and all morning the only thing I see in my mind's eye is the Big Dog going after her again, only this time he doesn't stop. He's vicious, and Sara is bleeding but not crying, and I'm scared to death that it's gone too far.
I keep telling myself that it didn't happen that way and that now there is no chance that it ever will. But that doesn't stop my mind from going there, and the scars on her face just remind me over & over & over what could have been.
Here's hoping that this post puts the nightmare to rest.