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.
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