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We took their leashes off and watched as they bolted across the sand splashing in the waves, sunlight on their backs, running as fast as their legs would take them. Their excitement over their newfound freedom filled me with happiness. The pups I once held in my palms were now ninety-pound dogs ready to explore the world. They kept going and going until all we could see were two wagging tails in the distance. Worry seeped in. Maybe we gave them too much freedom? What if they got lost or hurt?

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My mother-in-law was sitting outside a store in her power wheelchair drinking a cup of coffee waiting for her ride when a stranger walked by and dropped some coins into her coffee cup. Imagine her surprise! She had no idea she needed help.

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A quiet house

Door opens to smiling faces

My babies are home

Laughter

Music

Food filling the fridge and spilling onto the counter

Lasagne

Cookies

Pie

Chocolate

And a giant pan of mac-n-cheese

Familiar voices fill the living room late into the night, teens that have grown to adults

My heart content, feeling a peace I never fully understood I’d lost

All is well

Conversations at breakfast, mugs of coffee refilled

Sunny, crisp air, days with books in our hands for hours

Decorations pulled from bins, scattered throughout the house

Icicle lights sparkling

Pups tails wagging, waiting by their leashes

Memories fill the space we call home. Our separate lives become one.

We are family. We are love. We are together.

The gentle unease returns

Backpack full. He’s leaving

“Text when you arrive.”

“I’ll see you soon.”

Waving, watching the wheels drive away

Pain

Pups tails are still

Three remain

One last movie

One last morning coffee

One more goodbye

Breathe

The hum of the dishwasher

The shuffling of paws on the floor

A peace is missing

My babies have learned to fly

A quiet house

The storm’s been brewing for a year. I’ve seen it off in the distance. I’ve felt its presence every day. It’s the storm of change. Most days I’ve ignored it, but now it’s overhead, ready to blow the past away forcing me to start anew.

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Those who follow me on Instagram and my KD Rausin Facebook page know how much I love my pups Roscoe and Smudge. Watching them grow, seeing how intelligent and curious they are, has brought me more joy than I ever imagined.

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“You complete me.” Most people know the line from Jerry Maguire. What a wonderful scene, right? It triggers thoughts of romance, marriage and happily ever after. It’s the kind of thing I used to dream about. One day I’d find my true love and it’d be magical. He’d think I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he couldn’t live without me. What I didn’t realize was that he was a guy. Unless I was standing in front of him naked with a beer, he probably wasn’t thinking about me. Where did I get those ideas that led to such a rich fantasy life? Our society. When I was in high school I had a friend who carried around a bridal magazine. She was planning her wedding before she had her diploma.

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