Tag Archives: bryson

Meet Maya

I talked briefly and cryptically about the awful few months of dealing with the reality of not being able to keep our dog, Bryson, once we had Addison. It was heartbreaking and utterly draining preparing for and saying our goodbyes to him. One of the hardest things I’ve ever faced.

But our experience with Bryson did little to sway the fact that Clayton and I are unashamed Dog People. We nearly get into accidents if we spot a canine hanging out of a car window. We’ve been known to stop into pet stores when dogs are available for adoption with no intention of adopting; we just like looking. And, even now, if people have a baby and a puppy out in public, one guess which of those we will enjoy playing with more.

After somewhat processing Bryson’s absence, the question was not if we would get another dog, but when. Either we acted quickly so we had time to adjust to our new companion (and vice versa) before the baby came, or we waited until things settled down after baby. Worried that things wouldn’t “settle” until Addison was about 11 years old, we opted for now rather than later.

Searching for a new four-legged friend was tedious. Coming off of our ordeal, we had quite the list of non-negotiables when it came to personality and temperament. And I even added size requirements, knowing the honest truth that if Bryson had weighed 9 pounds rather than 90, we probably would have had a lot more options available.

After a failed “sleepover” and other meet and greet’s through a beagle rescue, our original go-to breed was out. Turns out beagles aren’t huge fans of my husband’s innate desire to pick up, dance with, wrestle with and otherwise smother his canine pals. They’d rather spend nine hours alone in the yard sniffing circles around the fence. Pass.

As usual, I started getting antsy and impatient. On a whim one afternoon, I looked up several shelters on my phone in a random parking lot. I perused the dogs listed and had my eye on a puggle that seemed promising a half hour away. When I arrived at Animal Services, the receptionist told me to head on back to the small dog room to see the puggle. I walked in and immediately to my left was a scraggly, wire-haired, doe-eyed cutie just sitting calmly and looking up at me. Every other dog in the room was yapping its head off (welcome to small doghood), but this little one just sat and stared.

I tried not to listen to those heart strings tugging away. After all, this was supposed to be a completely rational, thought-out decision not at all based on looks. But as soon as I glanced at that fugly puggle down the row, I went right back to the tan sweetheart at the front of the line. And I asked to play with her. And then I begged Clayton to go back to look at her that night. And then we talked about it for two weeks during which I had four more play dates with her. And then we found out she was only 6 months old and a terrier mix (NO PUPPIES, we had sworn, and NO TERRIERS WITH THE BABY, I had proclaimed).

To make this long story less long, I think we all know the conclusion. I’d like you to meet Maya Noa.

shelter collage

furniture collage


m picnic island

maya collage

abn maya

She has the sweetest disposition and, with the exception of some shoes sacrificed to her puppy energy, the last few months with her have gone extremely well. Even though we still have a Bryson-shaped hole in our hearts, Maya’s wagging tail and affectionate nature have definitely helped us heal a bit. We are so excited about the many adventures waiting for Maya and our family of four.

Peace through sadness

Dear Addison,

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,

profile park

Charlotte, Day 4

After nearly losing our opposable thumbs in a maze of hybrid farm animals and carnivorous predators, we took it down a notch on Saturday and only risked our lives a couple dozen times.

We arrived at the U.S. National Whitewater Center a little before our whitewater rafting reservations at 11 a.m. It was freezing. And by freezing, I obviously mean it was like 50 degrees. But I was shivering enough to rent the inconspicuous, form-fitting splash jacket. They casually made me an offer to join the promotional models for special events, but I humbly declined. It just wouldn’t be fair for the girls who have been dreaming of modeling adventure sports paraphernalia since childhood.


I would like to describe our raft guide to you so that you fully appreciate how radical this dude was. But I know I won’t do him justice. When he stumbled into the pavilion before our safety talk, I thought he was with a group of rafters and had gotten misplaced. He looked lost, physically, mentally, sober-ly. His face was deep brown, weathered from what seemed like too much sun damage than could be possible for his age, and partially hidden by reflective Oakleys. Unwashed hair poked out in every direction from a carelessly worn beanie.

And then, the clock struck 11, and it was this very guy who got up in front of the group and presented the information that would possibly save our lives. It was hard to take him seriously with the surfer dialect and hilarious explanations: “If you fall out of the boat, just lean back on your life jacket, and you’ll have your own little personal raft trip.”

I didn’t want my own personal little raft trip. I wanted a raft trip in a raft with as little contact with water as possible. I pitied the group that got stuck with this guide. They were certainly in for a wild ride.

As it turns out, yes, yes we were. As two orphans, we were added to a corporate group who, surprise surprise, landed in Captain Dan’s boat. But Captain Dan? Was totally gnarly. Because the river was manmade, the rafts go through a couple of stretches of the same rapids several times during a trip. Captain Dan was hilarious in his questionable sobriety, unmatched in his ability to guide our raft directly into the biggest rapids creating the hugest splash of your life, and even pretty knowledgeable in helping us feel safe and in good hands. It was hella fun. If you ever go rafting in Charlotte, ride with Captain Dan. Compared to our party boat—seriously, after every run through a rapid, we would high-five with our paddles and yell, “Yay rafting!” It’s the Cap’n’s catchphrsae—all the other rafters looked depressed and envious of our rock star group. (Source)


Included with rafting tickets is access to the rest of the activities at the center. We wobbled and dangled above a ravine on two ropes courses and ziplined through the jungle. Totally average day, whatevs. Oh, and the center rescinded that modeling offer for some reason.

nat clay helmets

nat ropes2

clayton gear

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nat gear

I was exhausted from planning a whole five-day excursion (#firstworldproblems), so I gave the task of finding a restaurant for our last dinner to Clayton.

Fast forward to a few hours later and we are decked out in our fancy pants ensembles and walking up to a sports bar where a couple was exiting wearing sports team sweatshirts, jeans and tennis shoes. We could see the 58 flat-screen televisions through the front door. We pretended like this was what we were expecting and hoping for, but a few steps before going inside, Clayton pulled the plug, and I didn’t stop him.

We made quite a few attempts to find a suitable restaurant that was open. Since we’d taken (another) nap after our Day O’ Adventure, it was late. We went Uptown, thinking places there would be open later. Wrong. It was after 10 p.m. and we still hadn’t found a place to eat and were wandering aimlessly through the city. Not speaking, obvi. We finally settled on Mimosa’s, paid about three times more than we were planning for dinner, decided McFlurry’s were the only thing that could salvage this night, and went to bed.



We headed home on Sunday. I picked Bryson up on Monday and let him take the tour of forbidden upholstery since I felt so guilty for leaving him. And I am still finding food pellets in my car. All in all, exactly what we pictured. Or something.      




I have no long narratives to share with you at the moment, so all you get to munch on are snippets. Unless you’d like me to recount in expletive-laden detail about the debacle that was Florida State vs. Wake Forest. I didn’t think so.

I was escorted out of Ross by the security guard for having a smoothie. Apparently they now have a ban on food and drink? Maybe it’s only for drinks that are pretending to be food…? I know, I’m kind of a badass. And Ross really is the epitome of unforgiving high standards.

Why do all athletic shoe designers swear that chicks want pink, purple or pink and purple shoes? We’re not all six years old. I rebelled and shopped in the men’s section. Again, me = badass.

PA042273During the half marathon, I had to fight my shorts from riding up for the last four miles. They were quite stubborn about the whole thing. So I bought my first pair of running tights. That’s alotta spandex on alotta thigh. If you happen to see me plugging along out there, avert your eyes and we’ll both pretend nothing ever happened.

This sort of thing occurs on a daily basis. Please note Bryson’s stray left foot. He is so excited when Clayton gets home that he pretty much tolerates anything. The men in my life are weird. 


And then last week I got a nice dose of Reality Check with a side of Humiliation. One of the reviewers of a brochure draft I wrote left this comment: “This is so wrong I don’t even know where to start.” Well done, me.

Office Space

I work from home. I only mention that again (and again and again and again) so that you don’t forget how awesome I am. Sometimes it can be hard to remember with all the time wasted on pictures of my dog and the disease-carrying insects he ingests.

I made a list of all the things I was going to miss about the charming old house we rented for a year. Close to the top of the list was having a dedicated office from which to read blogs, update Facebook, tweet, write blogs and work. When we moved into our current apartment, the second bedroom had to function as a guest suite, storage unit, angry spouse retreat and office. We straight up refused to unpack anything but the essentials, so there are scads of boxes stuffed into corners, under beds, in closets and on top of our kitchen cabinets.

Soon after we moved in, we had a fabulous visit from my brother and his gal pal that required the second bedroom to look and act like a guest bedroom. We left the room that way for awhile, and I spent the few weeks after they left trying to work from the kitchen table or from the couch or from a corner table at Barnes and Noble. Inevitably, though, I got distracted by pop-tarts steps away in the pantry or a nap on those comfy couch cushions or the “Us Weekly” steps away at B & N.



I couldn’t pull the chair out from the desk far enough to actually sit like a human being and work. It was full on grasshopper style if I wanted to accomplish anything on my beloved thrift store desk. So one morning, still decked out in pajamas (because, really, when am I not?), I did a spontaneous room re-do.



We have absolutely no motivation to actually nail holes in the walls and hang pictures, so that makes for even less distraction. Many an afternoon in our last house was spent dreamily admiring my husband’s blue eyes in our framed wedding photos. And also bawling over the cuteness of Bryson’s long gone puppy days.

The new “decorations” became every stranded throw pillow found around the house. I didn’t even know we owned so many; I’m pretty sure they started reproducing like rabbits as soon as we closed that U-haul door during the move.

So this is where you can picture me for mumblemumble hours each day. Livin’ the dream. And never spending working hours fashioning a Bryson fort from all those pillows.

The longest story of my dog ever: Part 2

For “the longest story ever,” there’s only two parts. Rest easy, friends.

Here’s Part 1, aka The Scary Part.

Part 2, aka The Silly Part

Considering Bryson’s symptoms—throwing up and having an Exorcist-style eye spasm—Clayton and I were both thinking he’d had a seizure. But, in addition to her craptastic “diagnosis,” the vet explained doggie seizures don’t really look like human seizures. Dogs may just zone out for a few seconds, and many of them snap and bite at the air, like they’re trying to catch a fly.

So that’s what Clayton and I filed away to watch out for in the coming weeks. Fake fly swatting and an abnormal disregard for our baby talk. Done and done.


This seemed simple enough. Then one day I was sitting in the office in our apartment and B-dizzle was out in the living room. I heard the unmistakable sound of his non-athletic legs lunging across the room and his uncut nails (coughdad’sjobcough) dragging along the carpet. It’s the sound he makes as he unsuccessfully lurches for a toy we’ve thrown two inches from his face. Seriously, it’s awkward.


I immediately thought “SEIZURE! RED ALERT!” because, um, no one would be in the living room tossing a toy for him to whiz right by stupidly. I thought he must be galloping across the living room chasing down imaginary flies.

When I went to inspect, he didn’t seem odder than normal. Just a little out of breath from his newfound game. As it turns out, there actually was a fly buzzing around the living room. Relief. The fly was a welcome find. That time.


Cut to about 10 days later, and we have some sort of freakish fly infestation that induces seizure scares every 20 minutes. I blame that damn Irene. Bryson spends his days lounging around, then instantaneously leaping at the air, mouth agape, head flinging in every direction. He will come back to his senses, look around, then do it again. Most of the time, we find an actual culprit and swat it to a painful death. Or we try to with similar graceful agility, slicing the air with a dish towel or pot holder or piece of mail or, on one gloriously victorious occasion, a running shoe.

But this has made it extremely precarious to judge whether or not our dog is on the brink of a serious medical emergency or is just a moron. We always lean towards the latter. God love him.


I wasn’t going to write about this because how could you know this is even true? Who has a sudden outbreak of disgusting flies at the same time their dog is supposed to not be biting at the air like an idiot? And, if that did happen, why on earth would you share that your house is a filthy sty with the internet?

I have no answers on those fronts. But I do have pictures! After a bazillion failed attempts at being smarter and faster than the flies, Bryson was able to inflict a near fatal injury on one. It was better for my photographic direction if I let the little booger flail around for awhile and keep BryseFace interested, rather than humanely putting it out of its misery. We all really, really hate the flies. And are inevitably carrying around some seriously funky diseases. Maybe Clayton will gorily morph into Jeff Goldblum soon.




So that’s the longest story of my dog, to date. I am so thankful it has a totally silly ending, and we have lots more days of smooching, photographing and making fun of Bryson ahead of us.

And we still have no idea what to do about those flies.

The longest story of my dog ever: Part 1

I know you think I’m exaggerating when I talk about my weird dog. Well, you’re wrong and I’m right. And that’s a snippet of what it’s like to be married to me.

Part 1, aka The Scary Part

A few weeks ago, our little Brysonator freaked my freak. He and I had just finished a little walk around the apartment complex, nothing intense, but it was really hot outside. My brief window of motivation always seems to coincide with the hottest part of the day, especially during this crazyhellhot summer when you’re supposed to sit inside in a tub of ice from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and try not to expend more than 35 calories an hour.

Bryson must take after his mama and possess the Incapable of Functioning in Temperatures Above 80 Degrees gene. He was wiped out when we got back to the apartment and plopped himself on the floor, panting away. I was getting ready to go to the fitness center and wasn’t paying too much attention to him, letting him get his mess together in peace. Then he threw up. Not all that out of the ordinary, considering every other weird ailment he’s contracted. I cleaned it up and, besides giving him a serious stink eye, I wasn’t concerned.


He meandered into the kitchen and laid on the tile floor. When I went to put his bed in the kitchen–which is where he stays when he’s alone, as opposed to his preferred accommodation of hoisting his fat, smelly butt up on our bed or couch–I noticed that his right eye looked bloodshot. When I leaned in closer, I realized it looked bloodshot because it was completely rolled back up into his head.

Within half a second I had convinced myself not to:

1. die

2. cry

3. scream in terror

4. kiss it to make it better

I grabbed his chin and held his head right in front of my face to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Sure enough, for those few seconds I stared at him, his right eye was almost completely back in his head, with only the white of his eye facing ahead. I was dumbstruck, so confused and scared that I wasn’t sure what to do next. Like all good parents who are destined to win shelves full of child-rearing awards, I googled.

And that proved utterly useless. It was a bunch of non-credible forums with “.net and .doggie” url’s that I wasn’t trusting with the welfare of my baby.

By the time I went back to attempt the “kiss it to make it better” approach, it was totally normal. And he was looking at me like, “What, weirdo? I’m trying to rock my cool down over here.” And I was all like, “YOUR FREAKING EYE WAS JUST LODGED INTO YOUR BRAIN, THAT’S WHAT, A-HOLE.” But he still seemed just peachy, albeit slightly annoyed at my intense stare half an inch from his cornea.

Here’s the part where I am really ashamed of myself and know that I’ll have to gracefully decline all those mothering trophies. I still went to the gym.


I know, I know, I know!!! I’m terrible and awful and selfish and should never be allowed to have children. We all get it.

I felt so guilty from the visions of my sweet boy seizuring it up alone on the floor that I cut down my treadmill miles to 4, and ran home to check on Bryson at the halfway point. He was still playing it cool, staring at me like I was the nut job. Dude, your. eye. was. in. your. brain.


Immediately after my run (trying to earn back some points here), I called the vet and explained what happened. The receptionist did nothing to ease my fears and said calmly, “I highly suggest you bring him in.”

That was enough to switch into panic mode. Coincidentally, Clayton arrived home as I was taking my 30 second shower, so after a breathless recounting of The Event, he came with us. We had to wait for over an hour since we didn’t have a scheduled appointment, and Bryson was completely normal the entire time. Pulling my arm out of socket to get to the piss-saturated grass at the vet’s office? Completely normal. Jumping up to put both of his front paws on top of the receptionist counter? Completely normal. Collapsing into a heaving, unhappy sigh when we didn’t let him sniff every hair on every other dog in the waiting room? Completely normal. Pitifully whining at regular intervals throughout the entire waiting process because it’s so unfair that he can’t play with that chihuahua with the broken leg? Yep, completely normal.


It was comforting to see him acting like his typical, goofy self, even if it’s thoroughly embarrassing to claim such a spastic kid in public. When we finally met with the vet, she was perplexed. Per usual. She humored us—or her early retirement fund–with a physical exam. And, with all smiles, she talked in circles about how unusual this was in this breed at this age, blah, blah, blah. Then we got what we paid hundreds of dollars for: a diagnosis. After re-reading the framed diploma on the wall, we confirmed that the vet did, in fact, diagnose our dog as “Quirky.”


Clayton and I looked at each other, stifling a mix of laughter and rage, with knowing expressions of The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine just gave us an official diagnosis of quirkiness.

We gave her furrowed eyebrows and twisted mouths in silence for a few seconds before thanking her and flicking her off behind her back. Bryson couldn’t have been more excited about his diagnosis and thought it warranted an infinite number of appreciative kisses for the vet and her assistant. Pansy.


Looking back, though ridiculous, I think that’s probably the cheapest and easiest diagnosis we’ve ever received at the vet. Thankfully, it had nothing to do with surgery or lifelong medications or injecting our dog with a needle twice a month, like our previous appointments. It was just medical confirmation that our dog is so very, very strange. Actually, I can only talk about it now because, after several weeks, he does seem to be completely healthy and every bit as quirky.

Bryson Wilson car2

Then we went home, fed him lots of food and love, and let him sleep on our bed.

I also like to leave my left blinker on for the duration of my drive.

I guess it’s downhill from here. Since turning 27, I’ve noticed that things have been changing up in here.

Last night I didn’t seem to care if it was rude to be sitting at a coffee shop during open mic night with our backs to the performers. Clayton and I just really needed to communicate to these emo adolescents that we will not be contributing to that highly conspicuous tip jar. Don’t get me wrong, the Noa’s are nothing if not supportive of the struggling artist; in fact, one of us is one. But we’re not supporting a 15-year old singing dangerously off-key to his front row sitting, awkwardly crying girlfriend. Stay in school, buddy.

I think Aroma’s must mass produce these crooners behind the espresso machines. On our way to our car, at least four other acoustic guitar-toting, long bang-flipping, insanely skinny jean-wearing musicians were practicing their depressing wailings along the sidewalk.

nat aromas2

If I had a nickel for every voice that cracked in the middle of an emotional bridge, I could possibly afford that hurricane survival kit the news keeps suggesting. Suckers. We’re from Florida. We ride out Cat 4’s in our sleep, beyotches.

Also troubling to my notions of being in the prime of my youth was this discovery upon my return from Florida:


Um, really? Not only are those three family-sized boxes of raisin bran, those are the only boxes of cereal we own at this time. My husband checked the pantry, saw we had just one measly box of RB left, went to the store and decided what this family really needed was a trio of the same fiber-rich cereal. Apparently, we are 27 going on 89. If you know me at all, you know my diet consists of coffee, trail mix, more coffee and cereal. This is a shopping failure of catastrophic proportions because I refuse to dodge paranoid Virginians in a desperate search for AAA batteries and bottled water just to right this wrong with some Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. Just saying the Cap’n’s name makes me weepy. I really, really miss him, guys.

I wanted to feel like my sprightly, chipper self again, so Bryson and I took a trip to the park. And then we caught The Black Lung trying to walk through the smoke blowing through town, compliments of the Dismal Swamp Fire. Basically, it’s a lovely time to be in Virginia.

We stayed long enough to break a few rules.


And to make a few suggestions to the higher-ups.


And to be all manner of adorable.


Call me crotchety, but that’s the only ambitious, hormonal teenager I’m willing to support financially at the moment.

Three’s Company

It was sayonara to the southernmost non-Southern state yesterday, and I returned to Virginia last night.

How else would we commemorate something?

Sunday night, we celebrated/mourned addict-style and introduced my curious mother and father to the world of pay-by-weight frozen yogurt shops. I was slightly disappointed with my $5.89 performance and realized I really thrive on the competition element involved when Clayton accompanies me. If my bucket of yogurt does not cost at least 40% more than his, I’ve utterly failed. Without the comparison, the motivation for topping delirium just wasn’t there.

But I still gave it a pretty good whirl. And, after a little pep talk, the folks got the hang of it. I wondered aloud what the heck my mom was waiting for with the Land O’ Chocolate laid out before her and she looked at me sheepishly and responded, “I’m trying to be healthy.” Ha, I say to that. And then I remember something like physically placing my mom’s hand on the spoon stuck in the Snickers bowl. I genuinely believe opting for fro-yo over ice cream builds up a credit of 1500 healthy points to begin with. Then it’s a virtual free-for-all just to break even. You seem confused. Maybe I’ll explain it all in a pamphlet or something.

The drive. Oh, the drive.

Sucks. That’s what that drive does. Thankfully, when I have clear skies I can stay on the “happy-to-be-scootin’ along” side of the spectrum, which is far, far away from the “OMG-I’m-just-going-to-pull-over-at-this-truck-stop-and-see-if-they’ll-give-me-a-room-for-the-night-and-how-much-they-charge-for-dogs” end of the spectrum. Trust me, those showers are not for the faint of heart.

The only notable incident involved a chicken sandwich and honey mustard situation. Good thing I decided to sit alone in Zaxby’s and eat lunch safely stationary and within arm’s reach of an endless supply of napkins. Or, I was driving with my pinky nail at 70 mph trying to dislodge dripping honey mustard from in between my wedding band and engagement ring. Yeah, it was definitely one of those two scenarios. Still, it didn’t impress the passengers very much.

bryson car sleep

“We’re back. In Newport News. Again.”

“At least we’re out of the car.”

If you can name where I borrowed the major themes of that quote, we should be BFFsies if we’re not already.

You should also know that my husband is more thoughtful than yours and he crafted a welcome home sign for me out of expertly selected printer paper, ink pens and highlighters. There were also flowers, in addition to a feast for dinner and brownies for dessert. So, for serious, your husband probably needs to take a class or something.

P8222135It was extremely helpful in reminding me that we are here. In this moment, we exist in this space, in this city. We can dream and plan and connive and search, but today we live here. I don’t have to call it home, but I must submit to feeling at home with my husband, wherever that might be. The future waits, but I have to see what is in front of me today. And if I’m honest with myself, I’ve got a pretty sweet view.



I’ll just say it: I’m an anxious mom. There is a list of Brysonified situations that make me incredibly nervous, and many of them involve other dogs. It seem like classic parental worry—I envision the absolute worst possible scenario and convince myself that is what is about to happen.

But, most of the time, my big galumph proves me so irrationally wrong and Clayton has yet another reason to roll his eyes at me and casually leave a prescription for more Valium taped to the refrigerator. It’s a delicate balance, our marriage.

I have a standing appointment on my trips to Tampa with my triathlete gazelle of a friend. I thought moving 800 miles away would diminish just a portion of my runner’s envy towards her, but no such luck. Anyway, her and her athletic domination got a puppy a few months ago, and she invited Bryson to join us on our lunch date this week. Enter maternal terror. I had nightmares of Bryson pinning this poor lab puppy to the ground and going for the jugular. And then I’d owe my friend whatever six-digit figure they’re charging for lab puppies these days.

But that made no sense. Bryson isn’t perfect, but he’s also never targeted a puppy’s jugular.

After a few days of internal battling, I just couldn’t stand to think of Bryson missing out on such a fun (i.e. energy-draining) afternoon, provided it didn’t turn into a bloodbath, nor could I deal with Clayton’s likely paternal response to his boy turning down out a sweet piece of girlpuppy tail.

Off we went to either seal the deal of this prearranged canine friendship or thoroughly destroy a perfectly good human relationship with doggy slaughter. In my head, it was a toss up.

In real life? Straight up, hard core puppy love. With beating hearts and chirping birds and slobbery pink tongue kisses in floppy ears. Hands down, one of the most adorable moments of my weird dog’s life. And, yet again, people got to look at me like, “And you thought what was going to happen, crazy lady?” And then I’m all, “Oh-my-gosh-look-at-those-wittle-puppy-faces-with-all-those-sweet-wittle-kisses-you’re-so-silly-huh-what-a-good-baby-yes-you-are-oh-such-a-wittle-doll-puppy,” etc., etc., etc.

bryson nava

bryson nava2

brsyon nava3

Yes, they are holding hands as she kisses his ear. Heavenly doggy romance – 1. Absurd fears – 0.

I wonder if she’d feel the same way about him if she watched him step in that giant pile of crap and then track it through my parents’ kitchen, down the hallway and into the bathtub. I know my feelings have changed slightly.