Sunday, April 19, 2009
A tender moment
We'd just finished dinner this evening when Sam threw himself down on the floor beside Solomon for a visit. As they lay facing one another, Samuel asked Solomon soft silly questions while Sol's tail beat out responses. Solomon loves these nose to nose conversations almost as much as Sam does. I did what I could to capture the moment without disturbing them, but the lighting was terrible.
As I watched, I was transported backward in time, ten years, to the pre-dawn hours of caring for a wakeful baby and puppy. I would never, ever advise this (Dog trainers will tell you--rightfully- that it is a bad idea), but Samuel and Solomon are only three months apart. Solomon came to us as a sickly eight week old puppy and in need of some extra care. This translated to caring for two babies at the same time. For the first several months of their lives, our nighttime routine amounted to my nursing Sam, diapering him, resettling him in his basket, then taking the puppy outside for his own potty trip. Sometimes, if they were restless, we'd all climb into the rocker together and rock until everyone went back to sleep. When Sol got too big for my lap, he would lay on my feet so he could feel the rhythm of the rocker against his back. Gary still teases me about the times I called them by each other's names when I was tired. But what he didn't realize for a while was how those interchangeable names bound them together, with each answering to the other's, knowing exactly who I was really talking to. Somehow (praise God) it all worked.
My days were full of caring for the four boys, and training Solomon, in part because I enjoy working with dogs in general, and, in part, because I knew having a German Shepherd came with certain inherent responsibilities (like teaching him that it was impolite to eat strangers, but okay to let them think he might). Sam would sit in his swing on the porch or in a playpen while I taught Solomon leash manners and played fetch with him. Solomon would lay in his bed while I read to Sam, taught him his ABCs, and sang him to sleep. "Sit", "Wait", and "Out!" (as in drop it so I can throw if for you) were among Sam's first words. Solomon never learned his ABCs (to my knowledge), but he did learn to sing along with lullabies and he's still trying to talk.
In fact, that's what's happening in this picture. As Sam is talking nonsense, Solomon is answering, warbling throaty sounds and occasionally trying to wash Sam's face. Alas, Solomon's tongue was too quick for the camera, but the clear affection they have for one another went on and on.