Life knows best and Life, once more, delivered perfection.
Minutes after sending out yesterday's story, I received a message from a beautiful-hearted woman I have known for almost a year. She and her family (husband, three kiddos, and a pup and cat) lived on the same street as I did, in the village. They had started a DELICIOUS pop-up restaurant right in front of their home and were serving mouth-watering food accompanied by an array of many many homemade sauces to play with. I was hooked at first bite and spent frequent evenings sitting on Ziul's wooden benches, chatting with Yelia and getting to know how lovely she and her family are.
One late afternoon, coming home from the beach, an image anchored itself on my mind. I call these Previews and we often only truly meet their power in the rear-view mirror. Ziul was sitting on the curb in front of their home, his black kitty on his lap while he was petting their big Golden Retriever. Just sitting there, loving his furry family calmly for a while, as the world rolled by.
For me, it was like placing an emotional pin on my inner map. My mind said: "Look how sweet this man is to his animals." My heart nodded knowngly. My body felt it.
Since my return I had meant to contact Yelia and say hello. Like me, they have changed location but I didn't want to lose touch with them. Things had been busy around here and I knew I would connect soon.
But she reached out first and I was touched to see her name on my phone yesterday, just after I had pressed "send" on the Little Boy story. She was saying hello and how she was glad I was back and then she said: "I would like to know if the cute puppy is still looking for his forever home. We have been thinking about it and would love to take care of him and welcome him into our family."
There it was.
My heart recognized it before my mind could make a peep and it took my breath away to know about the perfection of this message. Yelia and her family. Ziul. Three kiddos. A dog and cat sister. The love of them all, the fact that they work from home (the restaurant is working on making a comeback in the new location and the kiddies who are un-schooled). The sweetest ever family for the sweetest ever puppy.
Then that image, The Memory, the "pin."
There was no way to have invented a better life for Little Boy.
The fact that he would stay nearby was not lost on me, even though I had somehow readied myself to never seeing him again. Silly me.
Less than two hours later we were all taking a walk by the river. Kiddos, Lila - and us, the two grown-up women who somehow could not stop crying. Little Boy was running around, his small polka-dotted body looking so much healthier than it had last week. Once again, I thought about how he looked like a little fawn, a little Bambi.
Our hearts recognized the perfection, mine was cracking because I knew I would soon hand him to his new life and Yelia's because she felt the pain of mine at the same time as she felt the opening of hers to one more life. What a beautiful, beautiful moment.
We walked, we talked, there was a mango popsicle being licked too.
The kids loved him and he looked happy in their arms.
This was a nice big round YES.
This was going to happen.
And that's when I realized that it was going to happen right then. This, I had not quite thought about. Meeting, yes. Falling in love, yes. The right-now part? I hadn't gotten that far.
But it was right. It was time.
It was time for Little Boy to be loved all the way by his people, the ones who were saying that yes, they would care for him and love him for his whole life.
So we slowly made our way back to the house, I gathered his food and his coconut shell bowl, his pink toy rope and I held him in my arms, whispering thank yous to him, telling him that I loved him and that he was going to have a very, very happy life. This time it was my turn to bury my face in his tiny neck as he had done to me so many times over the past week.
Then I handed him to all of them, Yelia and I locked eyes, tears rolling down our faces, and a quiet vow was made. In that moment, I felt that we had become family, all of us.
Later that last night, two things happened:
1) Lila cried for a long time, looking at the gate and I think, waiting for him to come home. All this time I thought he was just a bother to her. Shows you what I know. I took her to the beach for a nice long sunset romp, the two of us.
2) Yelia told me that Little Boy's name would most likely be Bambino. I immediately thought about how I had seen him as Bambi from the first day and how amazing it was that she had picked up on that. Then she wrote: "you know, Bambino means Little Boy in Italian." Oh my heart.
Before going to sleep I put the wool rugs back down on the floor, as well as Tiji's litter box. I crawled into bed knowing I wouldn't have to wake up at 2:00 am for a quick puppy pee (I did anyway) and I thanked Life for trusting me with this Gift, thanked my heart for knowing that it could keep cracking without breaking.
I thanked Yelia and her family for all the love they will give this special little guy, over the years to come.
I have huge respect for all the furry babies' foster parents out there. Their work asks their hearts for a sacred form of acrobatics that is masterful (and is not the kind of acrobatics that mine will want to do again)
And I thanked Bambino for having known to make his way through freeways, car rides, mountains, and rivers all the way to exactly where he was meant to be.
Knowing that I will get to see him grow up feels like I won the love lottery.
On the phone with my daughter, she tells me about how overwhelmed she is feeling at the moment. Much to do, to fix, to organize, to create. A temporary yet strong sense of not HAVING enough time/energy/resources.
A week later, she sends me a photo of a tiny kitten. In her arms.
She went to the Humane Society and adopted a kitten to bring home to her other cat, and her dog.
I have some thoughts about this (in addition to "He Is so Freaking Cute")
Mostly I shake my head at the fact that she has just chosen to add a life to her long list of things to care for. My sense-maker is not firing up, this is silly.
A week later, I am starting to feel that things might be settling here at Casa Sama. The pipes' leak is slowly getting addressed, the construction is making progress and I can almost see the day when I will not be waiting for a worker to show up.
Getting into bed last weekend, I want to send a little FB goodnight to a friend. I log on, and right there on my screen, in a place where I pretty much never look, is the photo of a tiny, very skinny puppy with huge brown eyes and jutting hip bones.
The man who posted the photo explains that he and his fiancée found him by the highway, about an hour away. The pup was scared, hungry, and very young. They scooped him up and gave him a safe place for the night, along with some food and water. But they can't keep him so they are asking who would like to adopt him.
The pup has the sweetest eyes ever and right there on the thread, people take turns raising their hands and saying that yes, they will take him.
Good. Great. Enough of the puppy pic, time to say goodnight to my friend and go to sleep.
Except that I don't. Instead, I send a private message to the man who has the pup and let him know that if no one takes him - which seemed unlikely given the enthusiastic responses - I would take him and care for him, then find him his forever home.
"Please, yes!" is his instantaneous response.
What? Isn't there a bunch of people tripping over each other to take him in?
And why oh why did I even send this message given that well... see above ... "there is bunch of people tripping over each other to take him in."
"No one is following through and one guy even blocked me," is the answer. How weird. Then "I'll drive him over to you tomorrow at 1:30. Thank you so much and goodnight!"
What just happened?
From my bed, I look at Lila and Tiji who have no idea that our world is about to change for a while.
Even though it is very common here - several of my friends do it regularly - "fostering" is not something I have ever been interested in. Yet, unless this guy doesn't show up, I am about to do just that.
1:30 on the nose, the big car pulls up and a tiny puppy is handed out to me. Ribs sticking out, huge eyes little cute paws, the two of us start the trek towards my house, rivers and all.
And there we have been for the past week.
"Little Boy" is beautiful. Sweet, smart, funny, and ,good with Lila and Tiji (who have strong opinions about the whole thing). He follows me on walks in the countryside, sleeps on a small pillow by my bed, eats a ton of food and is fattening up by the day. He is loving to the max and loves to be carried around, with his face tucked in my neck.
This is hard.
I KNOW I have to find him his forever family and I know that they will be very lucky to spend the next 15+ years with him. At times I hesitate and think that hey, I could keep him, but I know for sure that this is not the right thing to do for several reasons. One of them being that Lila is not happy. The other being that you can only have two pets per person on international flights. Finally, I can see that this could be a slippery slope, and am able to envision 6 dogs and 8 cats living here before too long. Can't do that.
So I am looking for Little Boy's forever family and if this may be you or someone you know, please send me an email and let's talk. I do want him to go to someone who will spend a lot of time with him, work from home maybe.
He will make the LOVEliest companion.
And then I think about my daughter and how when things got overwhelming, she adopted a cat - and how when things started to calm down, I said yes to opening my heart to this guy.
When I was younger, my emotions were much more volatile. I could get triggered - and then react to that trigger - quickly. Fear, I am guessing. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, a basic forgetting about my inner guidance. Youth, maybe,
In the last twenty years, it has become very rare for me to get deeply shaken up and even more so to react from that place, to lose my s***. Most likely thanks to having learned to meditate and paying regular visits to "that place" inside of me.
Since I moved to Mexico two years ago, it happened twice.
One of these times was pure passion taking over (a part of me delights in knowing that this girl is still in there somewhere), and the other was when one of my babies was threatened.
Mess with my babies, all bets are off.
Fur babies included.
In our early days here, Lila and I had to learn to navigate the busy streets and their many dogs. I knew we would figure it out but every time we left the house I would take a deep breath, talk to her and say "we can do this."
She got her butt sniffed a lot, received a lot of attention and I could tell her nervous system was getting a workout. I kept her on a leash from the house to the beach and then I would let her run around on the sand and at the edge of the ocean, keeping a close eye on her fluffy tail. There, more dogs would approach her and most of the time this turned into many playful romps.
Except for Luna.
A small-medium scruffy white pup, Luna took one first look at Lila and decided that she did not like her. And that she would make sure Lila knew it.
She launched at her a few times on the beach, some squealing ensued, her nerves and mine got frayed, It was not fun.
One day after such a fur-flying fest, at which time I had asked her owner to contain her, the man had found it appropriate to tell me: "I don't know why she does that. Your dog is the only one she attacks."
My dog is the only one she attacks.
Somewhere in these words, I heard that possibly there was something "off" with my pup that caused his usually cordial dog to attack. Something about that rubbed me the wrong way. Something about that was reminiscent of some decades-old memory by which my being attacked had to do with me, not with the attacker. As though well, there was something about me, about my being, that had made it impossible for this person to not violate me. For this dog to not attack mine. Whatever this was gave them both impunity.
I knew I was projecting, I knew I needed to regain some distance.
I tried and I also tried to avoid Luna and her person when on the beach. Shortly thereafter I heard from two people whose dogs had had similar encounters with her, which made my brain feel better but did not smother the seed that had sprouted inside of me.
And then that night.
Walking home in the dark, Lila now off-leash with her tail high in the air, we had been here about six months. Just as we get ready to turn the corner of our street, passing a little restaurant, I see Luna under a chair, while her guy is eating. She takes one look at Lila and she lunges.
I don't know if it was because it was late, because it was dark, or because we were not on the beach - but I lunged right back. In one leap I was standing in front of her owner and man oh man, I had words for him. Meditation or not, I let him know that if his dog attacked mine just one more time, I would ________ and then I draw a blank because even though I remember finishing the sentence, I don't remember the exact words I chose. I know there was something about keeping her on a f**** leash.
Then we went home.
And it never ever happened again.
For months we would see Luna on the beach and her guy and I would smile at each other (which really was kind of him considering my not-so-slight outburst) and acknowledge silently how things had changed. The two girls never became friends but anytime I would see Luna getting dried off with a big towel after a sunset swim, I would smile inside. She and her man were really sweet together.
Things change, things pass, and edges get smoothed.
It was a powerful reminder.
A couple of weeks ago, back from spending the summer in the US, Lila and I headed to the beach at the tail end of sunset.
A few steps from us, I saw Luna's dad laying in the sand. A small scraggly pup at his feet.
"Hey, what happened? Did Luna shrink?" In retrospect I realize that was not a very savvy question, nor was it funny. The kind of thing one might say when they are uneasy, deflecting. After all, the last time I actually talked to him was that night at the restaurant. Come to think of it, I had barked more than I talked. Not pretty.
He looked up at me and said: "No. She died."
I plopped over in the sand next to him, all unease gone. I could feel his heart, the deep grief. I had no words other than to ask what happened. And then he told me. All the details. The sudden pain, the attempts to heal her, that August 5 day when she left her body. He was hurting so much that I could feel it inside of me. He talked about going back to the States, about being lost. The sweet little guy at his feet was a foster dog on his way to his new home that weekend.
We stayed there until the sky turned dark, until he had run out of words. Until there was nothing left to say, nothing to do. His heart now in Time's hands.
After a long while, I got up.
Before I left, he told me where she was buried, at the North end of the beach.
A couple of days ago, Lila and I walked past Luna's forever beach home, and by it, I placed a small green gourd.
SCARED OF THE SACRED