Today is the first day in over a week that I have been able to walk around and perform normal human procedures without wanting to puke my spleen through my nose, and you’d think I had taken several shots of ecstasy what with the smile on my face and lilt in my step. I’d forgotten what it was like to feel okay, and I’m so happy to feel okay that I’ve even thought about washing my hair. And I might just do that.
I felt so good this afternoon that I put the dog in the car and we drove to the dog park, which totally astounded the dog because he’s become used to seeing me lying under a bundle of covers in the cold bedroom, twitching and moaning and mumbling some nonsense about how much it sucks to be a woman. He always looks at me in between bites of a stuffed toy like he understands, like he’s sorry I have to suffer sore boobs and painful bloating even though I know he has NO FUCKING CLUE what it’s like to have to suffer sore boobs (We’re talking so sore that the resulting breeze from shutting the refrigerator door makes me feel like a baby seal being clubbed by poachers.)
So we’re at the park, and after about 20 minutes of chasing a chocolate labrador from one end of the park to the other, he and I walk back to the car and I coax him into drinking a small handful of water. And on the ride home you couldn’t have found two happier companions, happy to be alive and feeling okay, both of us hanging our heads out the window to feel the wind in our faces. And I’m feeling so happy and okay that I sort of ignore the splash of water I suddenly feel scatter across my face and upper body, blaming it on an errant sprinkler outside the car. And I’m still feeling happy and okay when I notice out of the corner of my eye that the dog is chewing on something, and I think, isn’t that nice? The dog is so cute when he chews on something.
And we’re both happy and okay when I finally turn my head to notice that the dog is chewing malformed bits of apples and peanut butter THAT I FED HIM THIS MORNING. And in four milliseconds of concentrated deduction I realize that while his head was hanging out the window, the small handful of water got together with the apples and peanut butter and planned a tiny revolt out the dog’s snout. And the water and the apples and the peanut butter have hit the air whooshing past the car and through the magic of physics have splattered all over the inside of the car, all over the outside of the car, all over his face and all over my right arm. And the dog is just sitting there chewing regurgitated bits of apple and peanut butter as they drip off his ears and chin.
And I know that owning a dog is nothing like raising a child, and I will have a lot to get used to when I finally do have this baby, but I can confidently say that I got a tiny glimpse into parenthood when I pulled the car over in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City and picked peanut butter-covered apple chunks out of the passenger seatbelt, out of the crevices in the cup holders, out of the curve of the door handle, off the display face of the cd player, and out of my dog’s oozing nose.