In July, Sam fell in love instantly.
Any reservations I had about bringing home a puppy lost their merit. Sometimes you must throw caution to the wind and do the thing that makes no sense.
This week Luna grew big paws, and it gave me pause. Not because the puppy is growing; that’s expected. But because the boy is growing, too.
You might not notice it in the pictures. That’s because not all growth is physical. He is a freshman in high school, and if you see him next to his friends, you would know that he is a late bloomer.
His friends have all transformed into teenagers. Their interests have shifted. They do not laugh at the same jokes anymore.
The world is harsh to late bloomers. I know; I was one.
I kept my Barbie dolls in the attic and pretended like I didn’t play with them anymore while the lunch conversation wove around the latest crushes and lip gloss. I played in the woods with my brother and made mud pies to catapult against the imaginary bad guys, while my friends were perfecting their makeup and learning to blow dry their bangs to gravity-defying heights. I drew pictures and reread Trixie Belden mysteries and The Babysitters Club series. while my friends were pegging their jeans and perming their hair.
The world is harsh to late bloomers. Puppies are a sweet reprieve.
Rosie was there for my late-bloomer years. She was always happy to see me. She didn’t mind if I held my Cabbage Patch Kid while watching Scooby Doo after school. She didn’t mind if Kool-Aid was still my favorite drink. She didn’t tell my secrets.
It was always safe to be me at home, and Rosie confirmed that being me was likable.
I didn’t remember all of this back in July. Back in July I didn’t have a good reason to get a puppy, but I had a whole long list of ways life was easier without a puppy. I just sensed that the kids needed a win.
Then those puppy paws gave me pause when I saw the boy relax as he pulled her into his lap. The world is harsh to late bloomers.
Late bloomers really like being kids. Yet, all the kid things seem unacceptable to the friends who are growing-up. You feel inferior. You feel silly. You feel like maybe you should pretend you don’t like kid things anymore.
A late bloomer with a puppy grows up without knowing it. You learn to take responsibility for the needs of another. You learn it’s okay to be yourself. You learn you can be likable.
When you know these things, you are well on your way to being a remarkable grown-up.
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