While we were sunning and funning in Cancun, my sweet mother-in-love was mourning the loss of her furry companion of ten years, Amos. Amos was an 8-poundish yorkie terrier who sort of weaseled his way into all of our lives. Barbara bought Amos home and the first night we met him as a family he sized us up as much as we did him. Only around 4 pounds then, he rebuffed every overture we made toward him by barking as loud as his quarter-sized lungs could manage and sticking as close to underneath to Barbara as he could. Over the years and through many antics though, Amos was as much a part of our family as anyone else walking on two legs and sharing the same DNA.
I often teased Marc by calling Amos his brother and saying that Amos was the brother I should have married. The kids each had their special nicknames and games for him too, Cole calling him “Da’Amos” and Ryan insisting that Amos could understand every fricken word he said and could, reciprocally, communicate back with his eyes, facial expressions, and gestures.
Amos. We’ll miss him, his constant and unnerving stare, his demanding temperament, and the way he relentlessly and joyfully retrieved the precious sock.
When I found out the sad news, I called Barbara with my sympathies and condolences. I was sad with her. Amos was a great companion to my mom-in-love. And, in truth, when we moved away from her over a year ago, I found myself even more grateful for Amos and the relationship he provided to her. When I hung up the phone, I prayed for Jeanie, that she would be at peace with the firsts. You know what I mean . . . the firsts. The first night without him snuggling beside her in bed. The first morning when there isn’t any need to let anyone out. The first time the UPS truck comes and the sound of barking is strangely absent. The first time you grab the keys and don’t have to ask the question, “do you want to go?” The first visit to Grandma’s without Amos in tow.
I prayed grace over her firsts . . .
Firsts can be hard, can’t they? We find such comfort in our routines and, sometimes, whey they are upset, so are we. But firsts also represent newness, too. First steps might be painful, but they mean that we are moving, progressing, going forward. Maybe into a temporary and painful unknown, but we are alive, feeling, pulsing onward.
Let’s not be afraid of firsts. Let’s lean into them. And, let’s keep welcoming them and looking at our firsts as opportunities to learn, perfect, refine, and experience. Really, every breath is a first, don’t you think? Every day. Every moment. Every time we say yes to what life brings, crazy as it can be sometimes. We can choose to look the first in the eye and say I see you, you are here to teach me something, I am here to learn and take your treasures into my next first. Let’s be brave, compassionate, and expectant of love in the midst of whatever our firsts may be. And, if you’ve never been those things before, then there’s always a “first” time.
Peace and Blessings,