I Believe in Plastic Dinosaurs, Children and Dogs
I have a demanding job and rarely find time to escape for breaks or even lunch. Today, I was having a particularly stressful day when an unexpected cancellation freed up a short hour. I rushed home for a quick bite to eat and found my 2 ½ year old grandson Jack playing dinosaurs on the floor. My 85-pound Doberman pincher Mya was lying next to Jack taking a nap (one eye overseeing the dinosaur games). I grabbed some cheese and crackers, and Jack and I played “dinosaurs” while we ate our snack at the dining room table. Mya joined us as usual – she’s pretty spoiled and has a habit of lying her head on the table while we eat, her long nose projecting as close to the food source as we let her get away with. Before long, the dinosaurs started a dinosaur-fight over the cheese (with Mya ending up with most of the spoils of battle). Quite unexpectedly, my 2-inch plastic T-rex fell madly in love with Mya (mostly her nose, really, since it was resting on the table just an inch away from the last piece of cheese). As a token of his love, T-rex gave Mya the cheese. He kissed her and used her long nose as a slide (Who would have guessed from archeological evidence that T-rex knew how to scream “Wheeeee!” and coo “I love you, My Sweet!”?). His pointy plastic tail was perfect for bestowing loving scratches behind Mya’s ears. Jack was ecstatic, giggling and laughing (probably figuring Gah-Gah – his name for me – had literally gone “gah-gah”)!
What a great escape from the reality of my busy work day! I returned to work with a renewed spirit.
Later that day, still at work, I found myself smiling as I remembered Jack’s giggles and the dinosaur-dog kisses. I remember Mya patiently letting the plastic dinosaur demonstrate his love by bouncing about on her long soft nose, oblivious to her new three-legged status.
Mya’s left front leg was amputated two months ago, a drastic measure to try and stop the rapid advancement of bone cancer. Other than being minus one leg, though, for now, she’s acting like a puppy. It was particularly touching and poignant to think Mya probably wouldn’t be around to share such moments with my new grandchild, due in July.
I pushed those sad thoughts aside and realized that living in the moment is something that gets usurped much too often by job demands and worrying about the future. Yes, I had to go back to work. Yes, Mya is dying of bone cancer. But even those realities became suspended, captured by the magic of the moment.
I believe in brief moments in time that are special and memorable. I believe that if I play “grown up” too much of the time, I’ll stop remembering the magic of childhood. I believe my fundamental outlook on life has been changed by a plastic dinosaur, a child and a dog.
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