Even with a delicious brunch sitting in front of me and my handsome husband sitting across me, I couldn’t seem to find my smile or appetite. “Stop worrying.” My hubby’s serious words bring me back from my drifting thoughts. “Sorry. I can’t help it,” I sadly reply. “She’ll be fine,” he says tenderly. “Eat your pasta. It’s getting cold,” he adds as he points to my untouched plate.
It’s Gia’s doggie daycare assessment day. We dropped her off 20 minutes ago, but it feels like 20 hours! Anticipating I would be a nervous wreck, the hubby planned a morning of activities that would preoccupy my paranoid thoughts—first brunch at our favorite spot followed by shopping. Alas, his efforts were in vain. Not even a perfectly prepared plate of hand-cut tagliatelle and a shopping spree could ease my mind. In fact, I was feeling nauseous.
“She has to learn.” Nate says trying to comfort me. “I know but I don’t trust them!” I almost yell back. Let’s be honest; I trust maybe two people on the planet to watch my dogs. Gia joined our family a month ago when she was just eight weeks old. Because I was not working and completing radiation treatments, she was with me all the time. This separation albeit brief and temporary felt unbearable.
I manage to finish most of my meal only because the hubby said no shopping on an empty stomach. I begrudgingly comply not really enjoying the normally delicious-tasting dish. We head to TJ Maxx after brunch. Suddenly I see it! I look at my phone and there it is–Wi-Fi. Ward has Wi-Fi!! My heart starts racing. This means I can sneak a peek at the doggie daycare’s camera. Ok, I know I promised I wouldn’t but come on, how could I not? What kind of doggie mama would I be if I didn’t look just once?
I sneakily pretend I’m going to try on clothes and grab several articles of clothing not even looking at the style or size. I head to the dressing room, throw the clothes to the side, take out my phone, and load the doggie camera. The reflection of me feverishly tapping my phone to get a glimpse of Gia reminds me of a crazed druggie jones-ing for a fix. I see her! I want to cry. She looks so lost.
Before I realize it, I’m talking to the doggie cam. “Get away from her!” I say to the rowdy terrier who keeps pestering her. “She just wants to play,” I plead with the lazy beagle who keeps ignoring her. “Pick her up! She needs a hug!” I yell to the staff member standing in the middle of the room. It’s all too much.
I leave the dressing room and the young lady at the front says, “How did it go?” “Not good,” I say as I hand back the clothes I never bothered to try on. I quickly find Nate and with guilt and resignation I say, “I looked at the doggie cam.” He replies, “I figured. How’s she doing?” I respond, “Ok, I guess…”
Finally, it’s time to pick her up. Nate doesn’t even turn off the engine before I jump out. “Slow down. Relax,” I hear him call after me. I swing the door open, and he isn’t even the building when I say, “We’re here to pick up Gia Kim.” The 20-something young lady behind the counter says, “It will just be a few minutes.” I anxiously head to the puppy playroom window. There is my baby! I can’t wait to hold her.
The staffer returns to the lobby with Gia and hands her leash to me. I swoop her into my arms and readily accept her sweet kisses. I ask the staffer, “How did she do?” She replies without hesitation, “She did well, but she plays a bit awkward.”
Awkward?!? Did she just say awkward? I turn to her, put Gia down, and step towards her. We are now only inches apart. I look directly in her eyes and my tone is terse to say the least, “Define Awkward!” “Um what?” she stammers back. Not losing a bit of the edge in my voice I say, “You said she was awkward when playing. I need you to explain.” I feel like she wants to take a step back but looks too scared to move. It is a wise decision on her part. Do not make sudden movements in front of a disturbed doggie mama.
She nervously continues, “Well, it’s her first time.” I quickly respond, “Yes, but what does awkward mean?” She probably wants to say, “Look, crazy lady just forget I even said anything.” But, it’s too late and she realizes the error of her ways when I continue, “Well, she already has playmates. She is very good friends with Shizu and Huey who come here daily, and she plays once a week with her cousin Sparky who is a 50-pound dog. She has friends so clearly she’s not awkward.” “Okay. I’m sure she’ll get used to daycare,” the staffer guiltily replies.
“I’m sure she will. She’s very smart and friendly,” I say as I finally take a step back. I can literally hear her sigh of relief as I exit her personal space. “Ok then,” I mumble contentedly as I pick up Gia again, “I’ll schedule her for another visit next week.” “We look forward to having her back,” says the staffer barely being able to conceal her fib. I’m sure she was thinking that Gia can come back but can you let your husband pick her up instead, alone this time.
I really couldn’t believe that I lost it like that, but she did call my baby awkward. Hey, I don’t go around disparaging other people’s children, right? I’m right, aren’t I? I know I’m not and my actions were not acceptable. I was definitely aboard the crazy train for a short ride.
We lovingly call her Gia. Just don’t call my baby awkward…