As darkness descends over Highway 20 on my way home from Albany, it’s pretty, with soft gray and medium gray sky, gray-green trees and shrubs, people heading home in their cars. Annie is curled up sleeping in the back.
A warmth rushes through me. I have had this feeling before with a sleeping dog. I think how sweet it would have been to have a child like that. They would have been more energetic earlier, but how wonderful it would be to have them sleeping beside me now.
I could have watched them grow from babies to children to adolescents to teenagers to adults, watching the changes, watching them learn, teaching them everything I know about life. Finally they would be companions and helpers in my old age. They could carry on family traditions, keep the photo albums, take my name and my genes into the future.
All it takes is a sleeping dog to make me feel the pain of childlessness again. I missed something so huge, so vital. It’s like four part harmony was offered for the song of my life and I only played the alto and bass, with no melody.
It just kills me. I feel like I have to do something about it. I know there’s nothing I can do. It’s too late, but I can’t accept it. I wish this were a sleeping child in my back seat right now. My children would be adults, but my grandchildren could be riding with me through this gorgeous night. Instead, I reach back and pet Annie’s soft gold fur. Her tail flaps, and I see her eyes glowing at me in the dark. Thank God for dogs.