I’m not the best at being home alone when my husband is away on business.
I’m also not especially proud of that. My mother is a strong, independent woman. Both my grandmothers = the same. And here I am, dithering away, sad and lonely because the man is away.
Long story short, a few years ago he was sent to Costa Rica for what -originally- was going to be a six-week trip to launch and ramp up a new LATAM (sp?) office for his former company. I balked. I never used to have a problem being alone – but in January of 2008 I was robbed while asleep in my bed and something about my inner DNA changed. Being alone -at night- no matter how much safely could be assured – just didn’t sit well with me. Now, I’ve definitely gotten better over time. But — well, that’s part of the story.
Our lease terms dictated that we were not permitted to have pets. I fretted about this, telling John that only a dog -another living being – would make me feel secure. He’d been to Costa Rica a few times before that, and I’d spent that time in a perpetual state of overwhelmingly bleary-eyed fatigue. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t function. Even my co-workers counted the days until John came home. It meant I would once again be capable of doing my job properly.
MIraculously, our landlords agreed to allow us a trial period to have a puppy. There were stipulations – about things such as noise, and breed – but we were given permission to get a dog. On January 7th 2012 we brought Lucy Lou home. She was a nervous dog, falling asleep standing up out of fear. She shook nearly our entire drive home, and often in the first few weeks. It didn’t bode well in terms of ‘protection.’ And then John went away, and it was just her and I … and we sort of figured it out together.
Now, here we are, my girl and I, snuggled on the couch two and half years later, still a team when John goes away, still protecting each other, and being an alive being when otherwise we would have been alone. She knows me (she prefers her Daddy, but such is life) and when I’m hurting, or vulnerable, or scared, she’s right by my side, her big brown eyes assuring me that all will be okay. And she even has a pretty ferocious bark – not that I ever enjoy being in a situation where she feels inclined to use it.
The truth is, she’s so much more to us than just a companion. I think adding Lucy to our lives taught us immeasurably about ourselves – our capacity as caretakers, our depth of feeling regarding a creature who looks solely to us for her quality of life and well-being. We will never have children (and that’s a decision we’ve had careful and considerate conversations about over the years of our relationship) but we have her, and she means more to both of us that words could ever describe.
I miss John when he’s away. And I still have a hard time being home alone, especially at night. And I still feel like a little bit of a failure for that. But being here, doing spreadsheets for work while drinking red wine and watching a Harry Potter marathon wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable if my baby girl weren’t curled up by my side, the soft snuffle of her breath the only break in the her rhythmic breathing.
And we had a good night. We dropped John off at the airport and came home. We wandered around the yard while Lucy found a myriad of sniffs she clearly never smelled before (cue raised eyebrows and skeptical look). Then, while she scarfed her dinner, I made some zucchini pasta and scallops for dinner, and poured myself a generous glass of Cabernet. Now, we are together on the couch, watching Harry Potter (I could watch HP every day) and getting ramped up for the beginning of the week.
And- let’s be honest – it will be Wednesday in no time.