Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life After Charli

Jason and I were married in April of 2003.  We didn't wait even an entire month before we headed to the Austin Humane Society to get a dog.  I wanted a puppy.  They had one litter.  Every puppy was spoken for except for one.  I was thankful.  I didn't know how I would have chosen one and I told Jason she was meant to be ours.  I knew before we pulled out of the parking lot that her name would be "Charli." 

Jason worked a lot when we first got married and jobs were hard to find at that time. I quit my job in Georgia to get married and move to Texas.  It took me 10 weeks to find a new one.  Charli was my side kick for all that time I spent alone, newly married, and in a new state where I hardly knew anyone. 

(Hello 10 year younger self!)

I thought Charli was going to be a quiet easy dog.  It didn't take long for her to show me her spunk.  We bought her a kennel to help with the potty training.  I also heard this would be their home.  Their little safe haven.  This was about the only moment she spent in the kennel quietly!  I'll never forget I was on the phone discussing a potential job interview and she was in her kennel.  She was barking, screeching and carrying on.  She was shaking the kennel so much it was literally gliding across the living room.

Just like with any child we set rules... She was not to get on the couch... 

Charli managed to break all of our "rules.."

I took her to the vet one time for a well check.  They wanted to take her temperature.  The vet tried for a moment in front of me and then excused herself to take Charli in the back to do it more aggressively.. I guessed.  She returned breathless and her hair all a mess and stated that she wouldn't be getting Charli's temperature.  Charli stood there shameless.

I use to pose her and take "portraits" of her just like I have with all my babies..

Jason and I even took her photo in the blue bonnets!!  I'm sure people thought we were crazy!  (Post kids I think we were a little crazy!!)

I think Charli prepped us for our kids.  She made messes... big messes...

She howled in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or when a storm was rolling through.  The girl did not obey, but she had a kind heart and just thought we walked on water.  She took a back seat to the kids once they arrived and never complained.

She welcomed them with love and affection.

She enjoyed their leftovers.

She helped me clean all of their messes.

Jason and I awoke this morning with heavy hearts.  We knew today would be our last day with Charli.  I tried to hide my tears as I went through my morning routine with the kids.  I knelt beside Charli several times to check on her and give her a pat on the head.  Madison finally asked why I was crying.  I told her that Charli was very sick and that she was going to Heaven today.  Madison said.. "Don't cry mama... Evan just lives down the street we can go visit her!!"  I smiled and said "no baby, Heaven."  "Charli is going to Heaven to be with God.  So baby give her a big hug and kiss it's time to leave for school."  Madison knelt beside Charli and gave her lots of love.  On the ride to school Madison asked me if there were flowers in Heaven.  I told her there were lots and lots of flowers in Heaven.  She said, "like spring time?.. like my birthday?"  I said just like that Madison.  She asked me if God had a bed for Charli.  I told her that he did and she wanted to know what color it was.  I asked her what color she thought it was and she said "pink or purple."  That made me smile and cry all at the same time.  Madison asked me if Daddy was going to help Charli get there and wanted to know if she would take her leash with her.  She finally quieted down and I tried to pull myself together to walk them into school. 

I skipped my morning trip to the gym.  I skipped my stop for coffee and any other errands I had planned while the kids were at school.  I went straight home and spent the morning with Charli.  The house was quiet and I sat next to her and cried.  I loved on her and looked into her eyes.  Jason came home a few hours before her appointment and sat with her too.  We talked about how she was our first "child."  How she joined our family five years before we even had Madison.  She made the move from Texas to North Carolina and back to Texas again.  She was waiting at the door when we brought Madison and then Tyler home from the hospital and she almost made it for baby number three. Oh how I wish she had made it.   

Jason said it was time and had to pick her up and carry her to the car.  I went ahead to open doors.  It was pouring down rain.  We walked to the passenger side of the car.  The door was locked and I had to fish in his pocket for the keys.  I stood there sobbing.  I gave Charli one final kiss and Jason promised to be there with her.

After school Madison asked if Charli was in Heaven and I told her she was... She would wait a while and ask when Charli was coming home.  It was painful for me to explain that we wouldn't see her again for a long long time. Tonight right in the middle of dinner Madison let out a long sigh, put her hands on her cheeks and said, "I miss Charli."  Jason said, "we all do honey."  Madison looked at Jason and said she wanted to build stairs to Heaven to see Charli. 

Life after Charli is a little quieter, a little less messy, a little less work.... but I would trade all of that to have her here with us.  I know Abbey misses her too.

Charli Brown (as I affectionately called her).  March 2003 - January 2012

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