Shelley Widhalm

A Child’s Eternity

In Coffee shops, Furry child, Lap Dog, Loneliness on December 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

I took my dog Zoey with me to a local coffee shop that allows dogs, and I got coffee and she a bone. We lasted a half hour until Zoey started squirming and didn’t want to remain a lapdog.

On our walk home, I was in my own little world until I saw my neighbor, who co-owns a downtown business that sells kitchen supplies.

“Guess what, I’m a grandfather,” he said, his eyes bright as he stood outside, taking a break.

“Is it a boy or girl?” I asked.

My neighbor gave me the details and said, “I looked into her eyes, and she looked right back at me. It was like looking into eternity.”

I wondered if he meant that this baby had some knowledge she took from the womb that we adults lose as we learn how to talk and behave. Or did he mean, as he went on to say, that having children is one thing, but having grandchildren means carrying on your genes through time?

I told him I wanted to have children but was waiting for the right man. I thought, but didn’t say, that I treat my dog like my furry child, dressing her in clothes, calling her “my girl” and worrying about her development, both mental and physical. I want her to be stimulated through play, training, long walks and challenging toys.

As I returned to my apartment, I wondered if this was it, if Zoey was my child, my love, my replacement for a man, and then I thought, forget it. I can’t wait forever for a big what if? I need the here and now. I may not get to see “eternity” in a child’s eyes, but at least I get to taste what caring for another means.

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