It was a sunshiny Saturday, but my heavy heart was not singing a happy tune. The veterinarian appointment was at 11, and the aroma of salty tears mixed with black fur singed my nostrils.
That Saturday will forever be burned into my memory as a gloomy one, despite the solar insistence to the contrary. My once podgy, rotund puppy had (in the blink of an eye) gotten dreadfully timeworn and incredibly sick. The eyes that used to light up amidst his "welcome home" happy dance for me were now overcast with cataracts and glaucoma. His spine was ailing. He had not been able to walk for almost a week. His hind legs twisted up behind him like the roots of an old, broken tree. He had no control of his bowels or his bladder. He had soiled the entire downstairs that morning, trying his best to drag himself to the back door to be let out. He was in pain and it was my job to make that pain stop, the only way I could.
At 9 a.m., my daughters and I were saying our final farewells.
There was a downpour of sniffles. There were overflowing embraces. There were a million kisses. Reluctantly, I managed to get my old friend to the car so that I could see him to the vet, and so the dirty deed could be done. My husband and I took the ride in silence.
The next couple of hours feel as if they were shot as part of a time-lapse movie sequence. I recollect things in bits and pieces of a fading puzzle. We took him in the exam room and stayed with him until he crossed from this plain over the Rainbow Bridge into the next.
I left the vet's office grief stricken. Had it not been for my husband, I do not think I would have found my way back to the car on my own. He drove me home, and again, we journeyed in silence. My heart ached. My eyes were letting the pain in my heart out.
As we pulled into the driveway, my husband spoke, choking back his own sobs he managed to eek out, "Let's try to be strong for the kids."
I wiped the tears away as best I could and stumbled toward the front door, putting on the "strong mommy" cover expected of me. It was at that moment I realized how truly extraordinary my kids are.
Meghan, the (by two minutes) older of the twins ripped the door open, and ran to me. She was not coming to receive my comfort; she was coming to give me solace. Running immediately after her, sprung my other two sprogs to do the same.
Phenomenal kids are made, not born.
While we had been gone, all three of my terrific children had cleaned the house of the dog's morning mess. The twins steam cleaned the carpet, mopped the floors and wiped the walls so I could come home to a clean house, full of hugs and kisses from my daughters. They knew my heart was broken, and they wanted to do their best to mend it.
I believe that it is in our darkest moments when our children become the truest reflection of our souls. In that darkest of my moments, mine became my caretakers.
Phenomenal kids are forged in the fires of love and discipline, cooled in the light of food fights and dance offs and wielded only by the most deserving of parents.
Yet, I still don't know exactly what I did to deserve mine.
What moments have made your kids seem super sensational?
Shauna Zamarripa is a Shine Parenting Guru, money expert and self-professed maven of mayhem. When she isn't writing things that bring you to tears, she is making you laugh, making you think and helping you save your dough on her Miss Adventures and Penny Pinchers blogs. If that wasn't enough, follow her on Twitter or check out her random (and occasionally hilarious) musings on Facebook.