“Let’s try to go to a Panther’s game,” Baylee said to us all. His nose was in his phone looking up their schedule, brow furrowed in urgency. He rattled off a few dates for us.
“I think that’s a great idea!” I said. “Text Tye and get him in on this.”
“I already did,” he said.
“I’ll stay behind with the critters.” There’s no leaving the homestead unsupervised with all the moving parts around this place.
“Oh, no way!” Baylee became serious. “We’re not going without you!”
I laughed because it sounded absurd to me, but he just looked at me, and my smile flatlined.
“You all go. It’ll be fun. When do you ever do anything just the four of you? I will be fine I promise.” This isn’t the only time they’ve acted like this.
Just yesterday, Sammy and I were sitting outside on the back deck letting the pups play outside. We were really enjoying the warm December evening. I walked inside for a minute and noticed the living room darkened and Max and Baylee watching Venom, surround-sound up, each boy taking over their own couch with piles of blankets on them, feet up, and eyes engaged on the TV.
“Why aren’t you watching the movie with brothers?” I asked Sammy when I went back outside.
“I don’t want to.”
“Liar! Why wouldn’t you?” He didn’t have an answer, but I knew he didn’t want me to be outside alone.
I’ve told them in many ways that lonely and alone aren’t equal, and that I will be just fine if I sit by myself. I, until yesterday, didn’t realize just how much it stressed them out, and quite frankly, how little faith they have in my strength.
The past couple years have been difficult on us, and due to lockdown and other events, we created a pod, or even a pack. Maybe it’s not all me they’re worried about, but the pack separating. It’s like when one of my dogs is outside and the rest are in. They become uneasy and at times, inconsolable until they’re together again.
Boys, no matter how far each member of the pack strays, we will always find our way back. If we’re picked up in the wild and they scan us for a microchip, they’ll find 543, and send us back home where we belong. So find a game and go to it, just the four of you. Have the best time and don’t worry about Mom. It would make me so happy to know you’re out there having a great time, making memories with each other.