A few weeks ago our family dealt with a loss that devastated the boys, most especially Xavier. Our pug, Grunther, passed away unexpectedly and tragically, after being attacked by my brothers dog. Grunther was Xavier's dog, which we got him when he was two and he asked for a little brother. They were the best of buddies for years, until one fateful day, after being sick, Grunther bit baby Ashe on the cheek. I have a no bite rule in the house, and we were forced to remove him from our home for the safety of the baby (despite it being a one time deal and Grunther had been an amazing dog prior I wasn't taking chances), but my mom offered to take him in so that the kids could still see him when we went to visit.
Grunther lived a long and happy life, and was cherished by the boys and us adults. His death seemed like major karma in how he went, as my brothers dog is also sweet and never bit anyone until that one day.
They day I found out, I waited in dread for the school bus to drop Xavier off because I know he was going to take the news hard. And he did. We spent hours in his room as I held him while he sobbed until he passed out exhausted. It took him weeks to recover back to his normal happy self, and even now, a month later, a shadow of mourning will cross his face, and he will grow pensive as he remembers his faithful puppy.
Which got me thinking:
With ADHD, Xavier sometimes has a hard time developing lasting friendships outside of the gaming world. He has a couple of friends, one who has been his best friend for three years, but even then, they rarely hang out outside of school. Maybe it's due to his friends having crazy tiger mom schedules where they are doing seven different activities a week. Maybe not. I don't know. But I do know that for a kid like Xavier, he needs someone (aside from us family members) who will always be there for him and love him unconditionally. And with middle school right around the corner, where kids can be assholes to the nth degree, and I worry about him fitting in, that need will be even more evident.
While J and I are not dog people, we talked about these issues and agreed that Xavier would really benefit from some sort of relationship with a pet. We just needed time to think. So we did.
With Christmas around the corner, the boys are excited about Santa (yes, my kids still strongly believe and I intend to keep it that way for as long as possible). Ashe and Soren have teamed up together to ask Santa for a Wii U. Xavier has asked for a $300 nerf gun, which I promptly told him that even Santa can't always work those kind of miracles. Fortunately we have taught our kids that Santa does not always bring you what you ask for. He gives each gift great thought before giving the "perfect" gift for each child.
And with that in mind, "Santa" has finally figured out the perfect gift for Xavier. J and I have decided that, under the tree will be a kitty carrier with a stuffed kitten and a note, explaining that Santa and parental units have been in touch, and we all agreed that it is time for Xavier to find a companion, a kitten, to love and cherish and take care of. We'll spend the following week searching stores, shelters, etc, and let Xavier choose.
While we mourn the loss and love of our Grunther, I think this will be a way for Xavier's heart to begin to heal, while also giving him a companion that is not mom and dad, whom he can spill his heart to without reservation in the years to come.
I think this will be a wonderful Christmas for the boys. And for us.