About a month ago, I posted a silly and somewhat irreverent blog (“Have You Seen Goldie?”) about the disappearance of my daughter’s alter ego/better half/can’t-go-to-the-bathroom-without-her, perfect puppy.
As time passed, however, Essa’s sense of devastation as she accepted that her bestie had vanished became immeasurable. Hard to quantify, that is, unless you compared it to mine.
After Goldie disappeared, I began to experience increasingly alarming symptoms of an unnamed, yet if you know me, fairly predictable cause. Daily anxiety attacks, searing potential-freedom-deprivation pain, recurring, sweat-drenched dreams involving a subzero, 2:00 a.m. training trek into the snow, nasty coyoteitis (jackals love puppies around here), and hairball heart palpitations were just the beginning of my woes.
In short, I’ve been a complete mess since Goldie dissolved into our thin Colorado air, never to be seen or heard from again.
Why, you ask, would Goldie’s disappearance affect me so profoundly, other than the obvious fact that she was my daughter’s best friend?
Because Goldie wasn’t real, and for Essa, the only thing that will ever come close to replacing her is a living, breathing, slobbering, canis lupus familiaris.
Hence my total freak out.
But yesterday morning, up before the ankle biters and sipping a cup of tea, I heard a tiny tap-tap-tap at the base of our back door. Still bleary-eyed from my perspiration-soaked, sleepless night, I wrenched myself away from the Demi Moore meltdown articles I’d been carelessly trolling, to see what was going on.
And this is who I found:
Goldie. With tears of joy in her eyes. Shivering from the cold.
Without a second thought, I threw the door open and scooped her into my arms. After a month of being who-knows-where, she was back, wagging her sweet little tail, running circles around the kitchen, and covering my face with her signature Goldie kisses for minutes, and maybe hours, on-end.
Once I recovered from my shock, I immediately whipped up a chai tea latte, served it in her favorite Tim Tebow mug, and settled down to find out where she’d been for the past thirty days. I had about a million questions racing through my mind that only she could answer.
But before she even took a sip, Goldie was at the back door again, jumping, whining, and pawing at the glass to get out. Confused, I slid it open as she bolted for the bushes, and turned around to face me with a “Duh. What are you waiting for?” kind of look.
“Spring,” I muttered to myself as I threw on some boots, tucked in my super-comfy sweats, and chased her outside.
Following her to a tiny, ice-covered tree, I found two adorable, frightened little friends huddled together to stay warm.
Reunited as if they were long-lost littermates, the three immediately began to bound around the yard…jumping, flipping, flying through the air, and playing Duck, Duck, Goose (which is harder than you’d think on four feet and a sizable amount of snow).
One by one, my husband, Scot, and our two eldest children ambled outside to see what was going on, each more surprised and elated than the other.
As usual, Essa was the last to rouse herself from her cozy, stuffed animal-strewn sleep. When she rounded the corner of the patio dressed in puppy pajamas, eyes filled with tendrils of drowsy hair, and no shoes to fight the biting cold, a yelp, no, a full-on bark of excitement exploded from her mouth. Before I could turn around, Goldie leapt from the snow, flew eons and eons through the air, and expertly landed in my daughter’s open arms. The two stood together and slowly twirled in a soft circle, eyes locked on the other with a look of love so profound it was impossible not to stare. Or cry.
And now? Goldie’s back. Our family is complete again, and with the addition of Spotz and Brownie, even better than before.
I’m still not sure why Goldie ran away. Perhaps she needed to venture out into the world to realize what she had, or maybe it was because she knew I wouldn’t understand her value until she was gone. In life, you don’t always get a second chance to make things right, but when you do? Hold on tight and don’t let go.
Either way, what matters is that we’re a unit again. Solid. Impenetrable. Strong. Goldie and her friends are as real as our imagination allows them to be. And for the moment? My coyoteitis is completely under control.
The Three Amigos in Goldie’s Winter Wonderland