Posted by: Kathryn Craig | January 7, 2009

Marly and Marly and Me

Connor, Hudson & Murph

Connor, Hudson & Murph

There’s a special relationship between a boy and his dog. Well, two dogs. And Connor loves his dogs.

To celebrate his birthday, it seemed fitting to take Conn to see the latest hit movie, “Marly & Me”. Except we didn’t realize how closely the many stages of Marly resembled our two dogs at home. The young and in-between Marlys possessed very similar characteristics of our 9-month-old golden retriever Hudson. And old Marly looked too much like our 12-1/2 year-old yellow lab Murphy. So when Marly in the movie grew old and the family said good-bye, it was difficult for Connor. He leaned over to me and asked if Murph-Murph was doing okay at home.

At the close of the movie, Connor wanted to get home quickly to make sure Murphy was fine. He was. And that increased the celebration.

His dogs were fine, his family surrounded him and those are the makings of a very special birthday. Yes, he loved opening a few presents, but what made Connor especially happy was that his entire family gathered for his favorite activity… the family dinner. I find it amazing that he tends to get it, when, in our busy-ness we rush through our meals and relationships and on to the next thing. But it being a quiet Sunday evening at the end of the holidays and his older brother home from college, Connor was gifted with his very favorite thing, a family dinner.

After Connor went to bed that night, my husband reminded me of a quote from the movie and the correlation between what the dog taught the owner and what Connor is teaching us. The main character (based on the author John Grogan and his now-famous column) went on to say that his dog touched their souls and taught them important lessons about their lives. John Grogan writes in his book, “Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things- a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”

And maybe that’s why Connor loves his dogs. They get it too. It’s the simple things that matter.

When we choose to make Connor’s day, it’s all about seizing the moment, following our hearts and unwavering loyalty. A walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a cuddled nap in winter sunlight (usually preceeded by enthusiastic giggles) and yes, the family dinner make him feel alive, whole and loved.

Very loved.

Brother is still home. I need to go figure out what to make for dinner.

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