It has been an intense and life-giving weekend.
Driving Bjorn out to the breeder was agony. I cried like a fool the whole way. Doug and I were pretty quiet and Bjorn just sat in my lap and let me cuddle him - he'd lick my hands every once in a while, then fall back to sleep. When we got to Vida's, I cried even more. She held him in her lap while she let me talk and work it all out. I told her I felt like such a bad person for giving up my dog. She said I shouldn't. That my family comes first and Anton has only one shot at growing up - it's up to me to give him the best chance at childhood as I possibly can.
She also said that there were stages of people coming in and out of your life and that some goodbyes are good. People, places and things come in and out of your life - pets included. My time with Bjorn was shorter than I wanted it to be, but it ended well - in everyone's best interest. She also said that pets are gifts to us - and that his biggest gift for me was to help relax me enough so I could get pregnant again. I had not thought of that, but she's right. Bjorn kept me busy and giggling enough to be happy just loving on his cute furry body... Oh, I still miss the feel of him.
Vida really was gracious. She was masterful, in fact. She told us to wait a few years before getting another dog - and not to get a papillon or other small breed. I couldn't agree more! So we're going to try waiting.
The drive back was not as painful, but I still cried. Doug dropped me off so he could take Anton out to get me a mother's day present. It was agony to walk through the gate and not see Bjorn there to greet me. Not to hear the clicking of his little feet, following me up the stairs. Not to have him lick my ankles and look up at me with those cute brown eyes. I just lay down in bed and cried missing him. The house was much too quiet.
Doug and Anton returned and we met Mom at Garcia's for dinner. I got nice and toasted, which felt good. Doug totally took care of Anton that night and I just went to bed wondering if the next morning of Mother's Day was going to be good or bad for me.
So I woke up Sunday morning and Doug let me sleep in very late while he and Anton cooked a HUGE breakfast for me. I cried a little at the table now and then, but it was a lovely morning still. The sun beamed through the bay window and warmly lit our little family as we ate and laughed. Little by little, I started to feel better as I looked at the new dynamics created by Bjorn's absence.
No more gates. Anton was free to walk around the downstairs as he wished, visiting all his play stations in each room. I never tensed up wondering if he'd upset Bjorn or the other way around. Anton was really happy to have that much freedom. The cats came back out to join the family - no more territorial snaps with the "dog." After breakfast, Doug and I started cleaning up the floor and I did some rearranging of kitchen furniture now that the gates were gone. We spent the next 2 hours cleaning and Anton playing. It felt SO GOOD to get the house back again. We reclaimed everything. I hadn't realized how much our lives were centered around that furry creature. It felt like we were entering into a new chapter of our lives, as well as Bjorn himself entering into his own. Whether he gets adopted or stays there with the pack, he will be fine and much happier. I still miss him terribly, terribly so - but there's this new element to my life that I am so enjoying. It's called freedom and control.
I know I've made the right decision. For everyone.
After we cleaned, we three took a nap together and it was delicious. After the nap, I called Mom to come shopping with Anton and me and invited her over for dinner. Doug went for a run. Doug completely served us that night. It was fabulous!!! I got nicely toasted again - we laughed and had a wonderful evening together. "To motherhood" mom and I toasted each other with the funky drink DougieFresh made us.
That entire day was beautifully UNplanned. It happened just as it should have and ended beautifully, too. I still miss my little monkey - but I've got this new life ahead of me. I've done a very hard thing and am feeling kinda proud of myself.
Vida is going to have her vet assess Bjorn's liver problems himself. He may not need surgery after all - but time will tell. She will look for a new home for him, and I will, too. Once he's settled down with the pack, we'll look in earnest. She thinks he might have been overstimulated with me bringing him to school every day. I think at the core of his aggression is fear. He needs a pack leader who will be gentle but firm with him - someone to build up his confidence. I also think he'd be happier with more dogs around him. He needs more attention than I could give him. He'd also love agility, too.
I am grateful to have had 4 years with the fluffy mouse. I'll miss him. I still do. But just looking at this life before me makes me happy. I have a lot to get up every morning for.
Thank you everyone for your kind words of comfort and advice. Thank you thank you thank you.