Before I even meet you out in the world, I wanted to tell you a story. It makes me sad that you’ll never get to meet the goofy guy that first taught your Dad and me what it means to be responsible for another life. His name was Bryson, and we adopted him when he was a baby, just like you. He was only about eight pounds then, but it didn’t take him very long to grow bigger. And bigger. And then a little bigger. He became a tall, lanky puppy that developed into a tall, lanky dog.
Your dad and I had so many adventures with Bryson. He was around for almost all of the important milestones throughout the beginning of our marriage, before we even thought about bringing you into our family. He moved with us about a dozen times, across town and then all the way to Virginia and back, plus lots of weekend trips in between when we’d let him sleep all by himself on the extra bed in the hotel rooms. He could really fill out a queen size bed.
Bryson was so sweet and loving most of the time. Whenever your Dad would leave for work in the morning, the door hadn’t even closed before Bryson would jump up on the bed with me and sleep until I woke up. So many times I rolled over in a panic thinking that Dad had slept in, but it was just Bryson snoring away. He loved to play fetch with his rope or tennis ball. And he didn’t really love swimming in the pool (like I hope you will), but he still managed to fall in a few times. Your Dad and I couldn’t help but laugh at him when he would do silly things like that. He loved meeting other dogs and playing for hours when he got the chance. I hope that you make friends just as easily; you’ll have to get that from your Dad.
I hate to tell you this part, but I have to. For a year or so before we found out about you, Bryson was not always nice to everyone. He didn’t like strangers. Now, I don’t really like strangers all that much, either, but it’s important that dogs are nice to strangers even if they don’t want them around. Bryson never learned how to tolerate or ignore those strangers, and he was mean to them. Sometimes he even thought our friends were strangers, and was mean to them, too. Your Dad and I didn’t like having a dog that was mean to other people. We wanted so badly for Bryson to show everyone how good he could be. We tried a bunch of things to help him understand that people, even strangers, aren’t dangerous. But none of it worked.
When we found out about you, baby girl, everything changed. Even though we loved Bryson so, so much, we loved you more. A lot more. We loved you with our whole hearts and then some. And because of that love, we wanted to protect you from anything that could hurt you or scare you. We didn’t know how Bryson would feel about you, or how he would feel about other people (a lot of strangers) coming to meet you. And of course we were going to have to show you off to everyone! So we had to make a decision about Bryson. And it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.
It wasn’t hard to know that you came first, sweet Addison. That was never the question. The hard part was saying our good-byes to Bryson. We were so used to having him in our lives and our home, wherever that was, for so many years. We watched him grow and mature, find his own personality and discover the world, just like we’ll do with you.
I wanted you to know about Bryson because he taught us lots of lessons that will help us when we finally bring you home with us. He taught us that we can be stern without screaming. He taught us that pulling harder against the leash will just make some people want the squirrel even more. He taught me about 2 a.m. potty breaks, and that I can sort of function with them in my regular routine. He taught us not to be afraid of poop. He taught us that even though some things might be scary to us, sometimes we have to sit back and trust that you’ll know what to do without us.
And the most important lesson was learning how to truly be parents, about what it means to sacrifice something that you might love to pieces for the sake of the life you’ve been entrusted with. This was the very beginning of a life that wasn’t about me and your Dad anymore. We know that we did the right thing by letting Bryson go, even though it was the toughest choice we could have made. But please know–and always remember–we don’t feel guilty about doing what’s best for you. We hope to do that every single day for the rest of our lives.
From My Whole Heart,