Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Remembering Carmen

photo by Rebekah Girvan Photography
Photo by Rebekah Girvan Photography

I remember taking a test online and it said that the best dog for me was a Corgi.

I remember begging my mom to get me a corgi.

I remember her saying no.

I remember the cold winter night when she surprised me with YOU.

I remember how you kissed my toes when you were a puppy.

I remember buying a futon so you could sleep in my bed. A bunk bed just wasn’t conducive to corgi puppy snuggles.

I remember you tormenting my friends with toe kisses the night before we left for beach week.

I remember the weekend I panicked when you followed a runner down our driveway. A week later we found you in the neighbors back yard.

I remember the tears when I left you to go live in a dorm.

I remember the phone call from Mom when she called to tell me you had four precious puppies… in a hotel room!

I remember bottle-feeding those little pups when you suffered a bad infection and needed an emergency surgery.

I remember how Dad would always treat you to a cheese snack when we got home.. and how he always called you Carmey.

I remember how you loved to tear up any stuffy toy to get the squeaker out.

I remember the fun weekends when I would come home to run with you.

I remember the joy when I found an apartment that would allow you to live with me again.

I remember how you always jumped up on the window the moment we turned at the church on our way back home to the farm. You knew the farm was just a few miles away.

I remember how I would take you on runs through the streets of Charlottesville and you would refuse to move when were the farthest from home… so I carried you.

I remember the horrible, rancid smell from the day you rolled/ate the horrible cat poop. And how Emilie and I gagged as we washed you and brushed your teeth.

I remember how you hated the cats we rescued.

I remember how you always slept on the fifth stair at our house on John Street.

I remember the night some drunken guy poured an entire cup of solo beer on you… and how healthy your coat shined afterwards.

I remember how you would run away to the local elementary school to play with the kids, and how you took Dylan the Golden and Savannah the Rottie with you.

I remember how you bossed around Dylan and Savannah…. And how they listened to everything you said.

I remember how Christy nick-namedyou Bean, and it stuck, my sweet Carmeena-Bean.

I remember the day I came home from class and found out you ate an entire bag of Hershey kisses. And then you ate a cold pack that night. I called my mom in a panic.

I remember the long all-nighters in college that you cuddled beside me while I studied away.

I remember the day you pinned the apartment maintenance guy against the wall when he came in to replace the air filter. You knew that no one was supposed to come in while your mama was asleep.

I remember the night Erin locked us out of the apartment by accident and we crammed into her little miata and you slept on my lap.

I remember how you slept in the seat beside me every weekend when we drove to see Wes at VMI.

I remember how you always liked to sleep with your nose shoved in shoes or how you would find the smallest cubbyhole to take a catnap.

I remember you running beside Topper with your perma-smile when Wes asked me to marry him while on a romantic trail ride.

I remember you greeting me at my wedding reception wearing a flower collar.

I remember you sneaking out of the house and wandering to the neighbors and how relieved I felt when the little girl heard my scream and said, “I know Carmen. I put her in our cat’s crate!” I remember how ridiculous you looked when she brought you out to us.

I remember how wonderful it was during my miserable first year of teaching to be greeted by your squeaks and love after a long day.

I remember how you never could swim and just sank like a rock… even when I put you in an embarrassing bathing suit.

I remember how you were they when we moved into our first home.

I remember taking you on our “family pack” as we introduced our new son, Payton, to all the fur-babies.

I remember hiking with you to the top of Humpback Rock, Seneca Rock, and so many other places.

I remember how you always let the boxers know who was boss in our house. Size never mattered.

I remember being afraid to let you out during the blizzard, fearing you might not be able to tunnel through the snow.

I remember how much you love to put your nose in the snow and plow through it. And how you loved to dig a little cave and sleep in the snow. Your eyes lit up when you saw the white stuff had covered the ground.

I remember how you would gently lay your nose on my feet while I rocked Payton to sleep.

I remember how I held you and cried the night that Sawyer died.

I remember how you watched and protected Payton as he grew.

I remember how you were there when I brought home my second son… and my third.

I remember how we had a gazillion nicknames for you: Binky, binks, binkster, carmeena-bean, carmey, bean dog…

I remember how I cried when I watched the boys pull you in the wagon on our last family walk.

I remember how I wept the day I said goodbye.

I remember how peaceful you were as we drove around for hours on your last day.

I remember how I asked you for a sign to tell me it was all alright... that I was making the right choice... that you were ready. And you did. You sighed, stretched, rolled over on your back and closed your eyes. I remember how I cried knowing you gave me the answer I needed. You were more peaceful than I had seen you in months.

But most of all, I remember how you loved me unconditionally and how much I will always love you.

Run and bounce with your new stubby legs to the other side of rainbow bridge and greet your sweet sisters, Lily and Panda, and your brother Guthrie when you get there. Ya'll are partying the night away!