Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Separations’ Category

Zoey’s Allegiances

In Dad's house, Leaving Zoey, My house, Separations, Sleeping companions on October 4, 2010 at 3:45 am

Zoey is no longer a one-person dog. She is Dad’s when she is with him, and mine when she is with me. My mom and brother both said she would be happiest if we, Dad and I, lived at his house, where she has a big backyard and access to both of us.

 But she switches allegiances. She belongs to whoever she is with until the other one of us visits.

Zoey sleeps with me on the futon when I stay with my father, usually over a long weekend. She follows me around, making sure I won’t escape. She wants to play and be petted, mostly with me and second best is with Dad. She is excited until Sunday, when I start packing up hers and my things. Then she puts her head on her paws, warily watching me with her sad, brown eyes. She wants to stay, or she wants to go, depending on her allegiances for the week.

When Dad spends the weekend at my brother’s house, where I’m living until October, Zoey sleeps with Dad. She follows him around. She wants to play with him. She wants him to give her belly rubs.

The first time Zoey decided to sleep with Dad, I took her to bed with me. She went to the edge and sat there, whimpering. I put her on the floor. She went to the door and scratched. “No, Zoey,” I said. But she wouldn’t stop. I took her upstairs to the room where my Dad was staying. “She wants to say goodnight,” I said. He gave her kisses.

I tried two more times to get her to settle down for sleep. She wouldn’t have any of that. She wanted Dad. I guess that’s what happens when you share. You really do have to share. At least I get to have Zoey’s awe when I visit my dad. And he gets it when he comes my way.

Missing Zoey

In Best Friends, Missing each other, Separations, Sleeping companions, What's important, Wrapped around Zoey's paw on September 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I don’t like that I have to leave my dog Zoey at my dad’s house, but after the fight with my mom, who I’m living with for the time being, I will have to do so (at least from Oct. 16, 2009 to October of this year, when I will be moving into my own apartment).

Zoey has been staying with me one out of every six weeks when my dad travels to Nebraska for treatment for his macular degeneration, as I’ve mentioned before. I visit my dad during one of the weekends in the interim if I can fit it with working every fifth weekend and whatever else comes up.

A few days before I pick her up, I talk about her more and get excited about spending time with my favorite girl. I love sleeping with her tight against my side and getting doggie kisses in the morning. We play after I get home from work and every once in awhile, she’ll accept being a lap dog for about five minutes while I read. But mostly, I sit on the floor to do bills or type on my laptop because she wants me at her level.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a pushover, but at the same time, I’ve come to see Zoey as my best friend. I never feel lonely when I’m with her, but I will on occasion when she’s gone. Sure, I have friends, but they don’t want to play every day after work, now that we’re in our thirties. I miss how in elementary school, I could walk down the street, knock on my best friend’s door and ask, “Can you play?” Now, I have to call or Facebook, plus go through all these antics, just to plan a coffee outing. Life is so complicated being an adult. I miss the simplicity of childhood, and I love the straightforward relationship I have with my dog.

Friends Again

In Confrontations, Dog sitting, Forgiveness, Moms and daughters, Separations on September 19, 2010 at 8:08 am

My mom and I are friends again.

My mom and I are friends again, but it took me a few months to get over what had happened. Our argument pointed to longstanding family issues that I had yet to resolve, but it took that argument for me to do some more inner work.

I am sure my mother, too, remained mad at me for awhile. I did not ask her if she, deep within her own emotional world, forgave me.

Forgiveness is hard, but losing your friendship with your mom because you or she cannot get past family issues would present a big loss, at least for me. I had been angry at my dad first, an anger that surfaced when my parents got divorced when I was 30. I was angry at him for not trying hard enough in his marriage with my mom. And then I was angry at my mom for not trying either.

The separation of their lives was out of necessity. Zoey’s and mine, however, was out of circumstance, lack of money and the fear of losing my job and having nowhere to live.

Zoey’s and my separation, however, will not be permanent. Until we are girl and dog again, I cannot help but miss her little body next to mine at night and her following me everywhere I go as if I’m the most interesting person in the world. Where else can you find a friend like that?