Today, Gracie-the-chocolate-labradoodle had a brief reunion with her dad Gryffindor, and her sister Piper. The last time these three family members were together was on December 1st, and I will never forget Gracie’s first night at home. That’s because I was awake all night, as she howled and cried in her crate next to our bed until it was time to get up.
It was her first night away from the only family she had ever known, and her loneliness and pain were heard in every high pitched cry. I can’t even imagine how scary and confusing that must have been for her. The next night, Tom suggested that we move her crate into the mudroom, and that one of us sleep on the floor next to her for a few nights, as she began to adjust to her new pack,. Tom took the first night, I took the next one, and by the third night, she was ready to sleep on her own.
She was home, and we were family.
Watching her reconnect with her first family today, it was easy to see that they recognized one another immediately, as they sniffed and wagged, sniffed and wagged, and of course, sniffed some more. Looking at Gracie and Piper, I could see the similarities - the shape of their faces and their body size - and the differences - their color and the texture of their coats. Like all of us, their shared genetics and early experiences have shaped the pups that they are today, and will continue to influence who they become as they mature.
As I watched this family reunion in progress, I was reminded that there’s no getting around it, family is family. And whether we stick together like glue, or hope we never see one another again, our family is always a part of who we are. There are no perfect families, and most of ours are a mixture of the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly, and we get to choose what to do with the family we’ve got. When it comes to family, it seems that the very best we can do is to celebrate every single shred of goodness, learn and grow from the bad, and heal from and leave behind the ugly so as not to pass it on to the next generation.
Driving away from that sweet reunion, I was grateful once again for yet another lesson from our Gracie-Girl, and for the fact that we two legged types don’t have to sniff and wag in order to recognize family.