Today I watched my eight-year-old son prepare for his last day of his first job. Oscar has been a dog-walker–and a proud one at that. His charge was Lauri, an adorable if not older dachshund mix who was personable and sweet and seemed oh-so-happy to see Oscar each afternoon for the last two-and-a-half weeks. And Oscar was happy to see her. We have two dogs, and Oscar helps walk them as well; but he and Lauri formed a special bond. He knew her owners were away and that she must be missing them, so he did his best to make his time with her fun. He took her to the beach, let her dip her paws, walked her through the park for a little meet and greet, had the patience to let her sniff every shrub she needed to check, and he did a little run with her on the way back–just a little one–because, as he said, “She likes it. It makes her laugh.”
When he got back to the house, he put ice cubes in her water, patted her head, and looked at her the way so many dogs have been looked at by so many little boys.
This afternoon he watched the clock. He knew he had to walk her at a specific time today, his last day, so he wanted to make sure he was on time. But as the hour drew nearer, his face became despondent. I knew what was bubbling beneath the surface of this growing boy who was trying very hard to house the vast feelings he was experiencing.
I suggested he draw a picture for Lauri, something she could remember him by.
And so he did.
And then he handed it to me.
And then he cried.
And then I cried.
Because what else is there to do when you experience such beauty?