Thursday, May 5, 2011

Scooter the Booter

Shawn and I will often joke that if I had been allergic to his dog we would not be married today.  I am allergic to dogs, well, most dogs, but Scooter is a magic dog.  And as a magic dog I have no allergic reactions to him.  As a girl who is allergic to way too many things this is the best news ever.  I love dogs and have the hardest time NOT petting a dog even though I know it will end with me sneezing with red watery eyes wishing I could go to bed.  But, not Scooter.  Like I said, he's a magic dog, the one dog in the world I'm not allergic to.

And having Scooter in my life has been one of the best parts about being married.  I expected the transition to owning a dog to be hard.  I expected Scooter to show resentment for my presence and thus his reduction in attention from Shawn.  I expected Scooter to willfully disobey me, and so far none of that has been true. Except maybe the willfully disobeying me part.  Scooter greets me each night when I get home by racing to the door, jumping up on me (as soon as I've put my coat away) and then barking as if he's telling me all about his day.  When I work from home one day a week Scooter cannot get enough of my attention, and though I find it mildly annoying I also secretly love it when he climbs on my lap while I'm trying to work on my laptop.  Scooter and I have a routine in the morning of playing catch or hide and seek while I get ready for work.  

Scooter is also the most sneaky dog I've ever met.  He'll quietly saunter off when he knows you aren't paying attention and get in the garbage can or sneak chocolate off the couch or gum out of my purse.  And I'll yell "Scooter!" and then he'll come up to me with his head hanging low and look at me with his big beautiful brown eyes and I find it impossible to get mad at him.  My heart melts and I know I should discipline him, but I can't help but to smile and pet him.  I find myself apologizing to the dog for getting mad at him.  

While I was worried about Scooter and making the transition with him, it's actually been the easiest transition of our marriage.  

What about you?  What did you expect to be hard?  Was anything easier than you anticipated?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lovell, WY

I’ve now traveled to Lovell, WY twice in the last three months. I know where the grocery store is, where three different churches are, where all three motels in town are located, and how to get to the cemetery from the aforementioned churches.  About a month after we were married Shawn’s grandmother passed away and we took our first trip to northern Wyoming for her funeral.  Shawn and I were already planning a trip to Lovell so I could meet her.  She was 103 years old and had not been able to travel to Salt Lake for our wedding.  Grandma Walker was a major influence on Shawn deciding to become a teacher, so he wanted me to meet her.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it in time, and our already scheduled trip was for her funeral instead.  

They asked all of the grandchildren (which now included me as well) to sing a simple hymn during the funeral service and as I stood next to Shawn singing that hymn I realized that I had no clue how to be his wife.  I didn’t know how to help him mourn, or if he needed to mourn.  I realized how different a husband was than roommates, and men are from women.  With my roommates I could be there, offer a hug, offer to listen if they want to talk, give them chocolate, hold their hand while they cried, and all would be appreciated.  I was there physically for Shawn.  I pulled him into my arms when he found out about his grandmother passed away, but no tears came.  I asked about her, but didn’t know how to get him to open up, or if he even wanted/needed to open up.  I didn’t know if I should offer chocolate, he’s far less emotionally dependent on chocolate than I am.  I watched him when he saw his father at the viewing, as he practically crumbled with tears into his fathers arms, and part of me wished that I could have been the one to hold him up when he finally broke down, but at the same time I knew that that was not what he needed from me.  I stood by his side, I held his hand, I told him what I loved learning about her at her funeral, but was it enough?  This is part of the disadvantage of only knowing each other for just under a year when we married, we hadn’t been through everything together yet.  But, I decided, that didn’t matter.  Shawn has never expected me to be a perfect wife, just as I don’t expect him to be a perfect husband.  We’ll learn together how we mourn and how to support one another through the good and the bad.  We’re learning how to celebrate together, how to support each other through stressful times at work, how to know when to back off and when to push, and I love that about marriage.  I love learning as much about myself as I learn about Shawn.

As I type this I am in the car somewhere between Lovell and Salt Lake on our way home from the second funeral in Shawn’s family.  This time it was his Aunt Yvonne who passed away.  She had been sick for a long time and her passing was not unexpected.  We debated about wether or not to come up for the funeral, and I was really hoping Shawn would decide not to come.  But, I also know how important family is to Shawn and that’s one of the major reasons I love him and married him.  And when he decided it was important enough to take a day off of work and travel for 16 hours in a car in the space of 48 hours I knew that I wanted to support him in this.  I know that what I wanted was much less important than what he needed.  

This was a different funeral for Shawn, not as hard or emotional as Grandma Walker’s had been.  This funeral was more about family, mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that stand in need of comfort.  This was about keeping those ties in Lovell strong.  And even though driving in a car for hours on end is not my favorite way to travel I’ve really enjoyed this trip.  I am more sure of myself as Shawn’s wife.  I learned more about Shawn’s family, I saw the farm where his dad grew up.  I laughed with his Aunt Nancy and Uncle Ned, and learned of the incredible love the Walkers of Wyoming have for my husband.  I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.