This blog entry is written from the perspective of our family dog, Gifford, during the Thanksgiving holiday.
They burst through the front door laughing. This just became the best day of my life.
Kate, Baby Ella, and Will. I feel like it's been forever since I've seen them.
Will is ogling over the new baby in our family. Cooing. Making noises I haven't heard him make before.
Then he notices me. How can he help it? I'm jumping for joy--doing my happy dance.
He gives me big hugs. Lots of them. It feels like the old days when he lived here at home.
Maybe he will stay this time. We have a lot to catch up on.
Before I know it another wonderful surprise. Could this day get any better? Meg and Ali are here, too.
They also stop to make faces and hold baby Ella. She gets a lot of attention. I think it's the first time Ali has seen her. She's giggling. Holding the baby. Telling Kate how beautiful her baby is. I'm a little jealous.
Then they see me. I'm twirling around. Giving them my best smile. They surround me.
I feel the warmth of their embraces. Ali kisses me. She leaves pink lipstick prints on my forehead. I don't mind. They're home. All of them. My life is the best.
Pretty soon more people arrive.
And the house fills up with all kinds of good smells. My mouth starts to water.
I'm hoping it means a special meal for me.
There are more dishes on the dinner table. It looks like everyone brought something yummy.
It all looks new and impossibly inviting to me.
I find my favorite place. Nuzzled up to my Dad. Right at his feet. He's always there for me. Mom's next to him. This is where I feel the safest and the happiest, but I move around the table to get even more attention from the kids. Baby Ella is in a chair on the floor next to Kate. Ella smells especially sweet. Kate rocks her chair and gives me some love,too.
I'm waiting to see if anyone drops something tasty on the floor. I'd help clean it up. I'm good at that.
After dinner, there's a lot of commotion and noise as everyone takes the dishes out to the kitchen. They're washing them and loading the dishwasher. I'm there for cleanup, too. That's part of my job.
Everyone moves into the living room.
Oh boy, there's a fire in the fireplace. One of my other special spots.
First, I wander over to Aunt Kelly sitting on the couch. She takes my head in her hands and tells me I'm handsome. That makes me feel good.
Then I take my place right in front of the fire to watch them play games.
There's so much chatting and cheering, it makes me smile. I wonder if they can tell how happy I am.
It gets late. I think I drift off to sleep for awhile. It feels so warm by the fire.
The kids are headed upstairs. It must be time to go to bed. I grab my teddy bear and follow them. I'm going to sleep in Will's room. That's going to be fun. Like when he was a little boy.
I wish he were always here.
We get three days and nights together before Dad and Mom say I can hop in the truck for a ride.
My heart leaps. I love riding in Dad's truck. But then I notice Will is pulling a suitcase. My breath catches. I think I know what that means.
Will motions me to jump in beside him in the backseat. Just Will and me. Dad and Mom are in the front. I think I see tears in Mom's eyes.
The ride isn't nearly long enough. All too soon we stop at the place that brings me both joy and sadness.
Sometimes I love it here. On some trips, the kids get in the truck and come home with me.
That's the best. This time, though, I can tell Will is leaving.
He hugs me tight. There may be a tear in his eye,too. I feel one or two in mine.
As he gets out, he whispers in my ear.
I watch him pull his suitcase through the entrance to the Portland airport.
It's one of the saddest things for me to watch. But I remember what he said as he left.
"Gifford," he said, "I love you. I'll be back soon."
I love him,too. I'll be here waiting.