My dogs, Mollie and Charlie, wear sweaters. Yes, I’m one of those people who puts sweaters on her dogs when it’s cold outside.
When we first adopted Charlie, a few months ago, he was just a puppy. His sweater was small and fit him perfectly, covering his back all the way to his hind legs.
Today, I realized that he’s outgrown his sweater. I was watching him run around the backyard and noticed that his sweater only came halfway down his back. It was a bit of a shock, the suddenness of the change. I’m almost positive that the sweater was still the right size yesterday.
I ended up taking one of Mollie’s sweaters and putting it on him instead. Mollie seemed ok with it, but I’m an oldest child and know that it can be hard to watch your stuff be handed down to the younger ones. So, I’ll be buying Charlie a new sweater of his very own pretty soon so that Mollie can have hers back.
I suppose that, having had human children, I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the fact that Charlie had outgrown his sweater. That’s just what happens with babies, including puppies.
You get used to letting go of most of the toys, the shoes, the books and trinkets that represent the moments. For sentimental reasons, however, I have saved some of my children’s clothes, the ones that they wore for special occasions or that carry special memories. I’ll pull them out of their storage boxes from time to time, look at them and marvel at how small they are, hold them gently in my hands and remember those tiny, sweet boys. Sometimes, I can do so without tears, but most often, I find myself misty-eyed, deep in happy memories.
I’m a little embarrassed at having some of the same emotions today when I replaced Charlie’s sweater. He’s a dog, not a human. Then again, he’s one of my babies. Furry, with four legs instead of two, and, of course, different in so many other ways. But one of my babies, nonetheless.
Here’s to the passage of time and the sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising changes it brings. And, here’s to parents. We must let our babies grow up…but that doesn’t mean we can’t remember the babies they once were.