Mary Claire Hugging Lucy

If you haven’t yet discovered Dan Pearce at Single Dad Laughing, please take a moment and go find him now. (I’ve made it really easy for you. All you have to do is click on the link.)

He’s witty and smart and irreverent and poignant all wrapped into a package of awesomeness. Really. Trust me on this one.

Once you’ve found him, go read his post titled “A Fat Boy’s Dog” so I can tell you my related story.

Go ahead. I’ll wait. (Again, it’s linked. Super easy-peasy. And if you don’t read his post first, my post won’t be nearly as entertaining.)


On our way home from Indy this weekend, I was talking to the kids about Dan’s (yes, I’m calling him by his first name like we’re old buddies) childhood dog, Jacques and his grown-up dog, Buddha. His story made me laugh and cry and then cry some more.

I have friends who don’t like dogs, who refuse to have dogs in their homes, who cannot tolerate dog smells or dog hair or general dog dirtiness. And in a gajillion years, I could never convince them that having the love and companionship of a good dog is worth every nasty, questionable thing that lands in your bed or on your carpet or in your lap or on your clothes, courtesy of your canine companion.

But dog lovers? We get it. The stink, the slobber, the tumbleweed hairballs, the unconditional adoration.

And in addition to loving my pups, I also have teenagers. That’s why this post meant so much to me. Dogs and kids and kids and dogs. They are perfect companions, these smelly, mud-caked creatures. One needs the other as much as the other needs the one.

As I was relaying the Dan and Jacques story to my kids, I got emotional.

I talked about how — in spite of his unmet dog expectations — Dan fell in love with his Christmas gift.

“And then the neighbor’s dog ATE Jacques!” I cried.

I went on to expound upon Dan’s grief and the ultimate full-circleness of his story.

“Wait a minute!” Mary Claire hollered from the back seat of the Tahoe. “Why was he so broken up about his poodle? It was just a toy!”

It took a moment for the five remaining Willises to grasp what she was talking about.

The toy poodle.

The. Toy. Poodle.

I’ve never heard my boys laugh as hard as they did when that realization sped across its neural pathway to land on full recognition.

“Oh, my God, Mary, you’re so STUPID!” Sam yelled, laughter-induced tears running down his face.

“Sam! We don’t say ‘stupid,’ and we don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!”

This is what I wanted to say. This is what I should have said. But I was too busy crossing my legs to thwart the inevitable post-four-kids-and-over-40-pants-wetting that comes with every hearty guffaw.

My girl. She’s smart as a whip. But common sense? She was holding the door when that particular blessing was bestowed upon the rest of us.

She’s a bit of a blurter, too. You know the kind. Words just spew from her mouth before she’s taken the time to briefly mull them over in her brain — much to the entertainment of her brothers. And yes, she was born blonde with a touch of strawberry thrown in for good measure.

RIP, Jacques.

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3 Responses

  1. That is priceless. Man, talk about an emotional roller-coaster – first I go over to Dan’s blog and bawl my eyes out and then come over here and laugh myself silly. Thank you for the belly laugh!! I’m STILL laughing!! Dear, dear Mary Claire, I understand COMPLETELY (I was born blond too honey).

  2. I’m also the mother of dogs and teenagers. So far, both seem to leave about the same amount of mess and cause the same amount of drama. They sort of smell alike too! I love them ALL!

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