Saturday, August 18, 2012

Time Heed Us Not

Our pediatrician, Dr. Jennifer, recently referred to Ivan and Dasa as senior dogs. My puppy boy and baby girl are seniors? How can that be?

I grapple with that statement. Yes, Ivan is getting some silver and becoming a distinguished little Cary Grant, but he still plays with his stuffed animals, still insists we play fetch with his teddy while I’m preparing his dinner. He chews books, destroys paper, and drags us happily down the street on our walks; my heart on the end of a leash.

And Dasa is my baby girl, my snuggly little girl who shares my pillow, her sweet softness curled up beside me. She leaps in the air when meals are prepared. She rolls happily in the grass. She dances and pirouettes when we say “go for a walk?”

Every time someone refers to my baby girl as senior or refers to her age, it makes my heart hurt. When I notice my impossibly handsome Ivan getting white hairs on his face, my heart hurts. They are my babies, and to be reminded of fluttering calendar pages is distressing. In my eyes they are forever young. My energetic babies who came to me in the prime of life. And they are still energetic & beautiful, still move with fluid easy grace and jump agilely.

Let this life not go so fast. Keep my babies young. Keep my babies untouched by time, and let it slip by without marking them as its own. Keep their wonderful soft brown eyes clear and unclouded. Keep them agile and supple, able to leap with ease, able to run beautiful happy swooping circles through the yard. Keep their minds clear and sharp; don’t let the minutes slipping past dull their impishness. Don’t let the ticking of the clock mute their lovely greetings; keep them young and happy. Keep them healthy and with us. If I wish it enough, pray it enough, will time pass our door?  What do I paint on my doorpost to make the dark angel turn away?

I entreat time to pass us by, to heed us not. Pay no attention to the basenjis behind the curtain.  I lie awake and listen to their soft breathing. I try to cherish each moment with them, to savor their sweet faces and soft little ears, to save up the joy their magical basenjiness brings. The way they move, the games they play, the nearly inexpressible contentment and peace we feel when they are curled up next to us. The pleasure they get from walks, the excitement of watching other dogs amble past our house. The elegance, the playfulness, the sheer delight—our  hearts overflow with joy and gratitude for these moments. We cherish the warm little bodies so priceless and dear; each moment is a treasure. And so we are grateful and blessed beyond measure to share our lives with the Munchkins. 

It seems to me that one of the differences between the present, the here and now, and heaven is that here the moments of consuming bliss are brief and tenuous. 
To have such a feeling of intermingled joy, gratitude, contentment, and peace is fleeting. The ones we love, the ones who make us feel this way, are never with us long enough. To imagine heaven as a place where the joy that fills our hearts with light and energy will never be replaced by sorrow that makes life an uphill trudge and each heartbeat painful and punishing, a place where we will never be stricken with a grief as deep as the joy is now, that’s almost beyond my concept of happiness. If that is indeed heaven, I want to go there.


  1. This made me weep and smile and nod. I so know this feeling. My Nayru is 4 or 5 (perhaps 6?). This article deserves publication.

  2. Thank you. I tried to express something dog lovers can relate to.