I’m not much of a phone person. If you had told my mother 30 years ago that I’d say that someday, she’d have probably called you an idiot. She spent her evenings in the pre-cell-phone era of my teenage years trying to quell my temper tantrums when my father kicked me off the landline so that he could make a call or two. Funny how things change. I’m just not that same girl anymore.
And the mother who put up with my antics is no longer here on this Earth. She passed away a few weeks ago, after a harsh battle with cancer. As if there is any other kind.
Mom was always a dog person. She used to joke that she loved her dogs more than her kids. My sister and I knew that wasn’t really true, but we did grow up thinking of the four-legged boys who shared our home more like brothers than pets. They were – and are – family.
When Mom was feeling particularly sentimental, she’d tell you she “loved you like a dog.” That was the highest compliment you could receive from her. When she loved you like a dog, you were living right and not being a pain in the ass.
When she got sick, we started ending our text conversations with “love you like a dog,” which brings me to why I started this post talking about phones. This non-phone-person goes into her texts and reads that line all the time. It has become a lifeline to something I’m afraid I’ll lose otherwise.
I’ve decided to start this blog so that never happens. I wanted to make the URL “loveyoulikeadog” instead of “likeadog,” but as I was setting it up I thought about all the pervo Google searches that might land here if I did, so I changed it up a bit.
Besides, there’s more to it than that. Dogs love like they love because they live like they live. Simple. Joyous. Childlike. Loyal. Appreciative of the smallest affections, smells, sights and little pleasures. Mom always tried to tell me to learn to love “being ordinary in an extraordinary world,” and I never quite got what she meant. Who wants to be ordinary? She surely never was.
It has dawned on me in recent days that what I think she meant, at least in part, was “live like a dog.”
So this blog will chronicle my attempt to do just that – to make the way I live and the way I write an honor to her memory. I kept a WordPress blog before , but let it die when I got busy trying to fit writing a book into working and living. I came at it with the wrong motives and spirit. I saw it as a means to showcase my writing and promote my published short stories and my eventual novel. I spent so much time social media-ing that I stopped producing quality content.
When I started feeling like it was time to blog again, I thought about returning to that old space. But earlier today, I’d heard one of my favorite songs, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and it made me cry, because it dawned on me that sometimes, you just can’t. You can go to the same place you always called home, but if what made it so isn’t there anymore you have to reinvent your idea of what home is. The girl who found her online home in my old blog is a different person and a very different writer now. It is time for a fresh start.
Like a Dog is a different kind of blog. If it makes someone want to read my book someday, fine. If not, honey badger doesn’t give a $%&@. Dogs don’t chase balls or eat your socks so you’ll think they’re cute. They do it because they love it.
This will be life as I try to see it through Mom’s eyes … as I learn to love being ordinary in an extraordinary world. It will be my way of letting her spirit shine, and perhaps salvaging my own and bringing a few smiles to others in doing so.
I love you Mom. Like a Dog.