But the haze could be because in some ways we became parents again two weeks ago when we brought Mr Burns home. I contend, just as I did fourteen years ago with Jasper, that a dog is harder than a baby. And I did baby largely alone whereas I've done puppy twice now à deux, so I think I know what I'm saying.
We have not slept through the night since Mr Burns came home, not one night in the past fourteen. Last night was by far the worst. It was so hot that the windows were open to let in whatever breeze there might be. The dogs next door were having a field day barking at a raccoon in their pond (we surmise from our investigations), then all the area dogs seemed to have something to say almost hourly, to which sweet Mr Burns was compelled to reply. He is now curled up sleeping right next to me, and sleeping is what he'll do all day. Meanwhile, I have to power up and attend to the business of life, to the demands of my job and boss.
I have to say I don't know how older parents of human babies pull this off. I honestly feel like I have never been so tired in all my life. Being a mother to a human at 24 was hard, to a puppy at 34 was harder, now at 48 is hardest yet. I wouldn't change anything, naturally, but dang, one does not have the resilience one once did.
What one does have is a bigger awareness of how precious this time is, no matter how freaking exhausted one is.
What I also know is that I love this. I love having somebody to care for, to teach, to love, to feed, somebody whose breath to listen for at night.
And right now he's snoring lightly, feet tensing periodically in puppy dreams, eyes tightly closed. Just like Jasper before him, he knows exactly how to bed down in a pile of pillows, make a cozy nest to sleep in. And even though I am not really literally sleeping these days, I am in the nest with him, tired old mom, happy as can be. It's fine: I'm awake, he sleeps. Just as it should be.