My Own Miraculous: a love story

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson

My Own MiraculousMY OWN MIRACULOUS is a long short story (or short novella) about all the ways motherhood changes us, and about how we change into mothers.

In a perfect world, these transformations would happen simultaneously. Our baby would be placed in our arms, and boom! All at once, we would understand exactly how to love, care for, feed, nurture, discipline without stifling, indulge without spoiling, hope for without burying in expectations, and rock to sleep our mysterious, terrifying, beautiful baby.

It’s not a perfect world.

I’ll tell you what I do know: Love fills the gaps as we are learning.

Oddly enough this truth was recently reinforced by our daughter’s silly little dog, Ansley. The very day we brought Ansley home from our local Pet Rescue, she adopted our son’s hound, Bagel. Never mind that Bagel was older and three times her size. Bagel is so genuinely dim-witted and good natured that he was happy to be a surrogate puppy. Or a throw pillow. Whatever.

We watched her herding him, the way she rested her chin on his butt as he slept, keeping her own eyes open and alert. It was clear she had been a mother at least once before she was spayed. Her own body confirmed it a little later, when she trusted us enough to roll over for a good tummy scratch.

“Why are her, um, her dog bosoms all floppy? ” Maisy demanded. “Bagel isn’t like that. ”

“Ansley has had puppies, ” I explained to my then third grader. “They stretched her nipples out like that when they were nursing. ”

“Ew, ” Maisy said. “I’m glad that doesn’t happen to HUMAN mommies. ”

I held my tongue. No need to explain to a nine year old ALL the way motherhood changes us. (What? I want grandchildren one day. )

Three years later, Ansley still mommies giant Bagel, coddling him, watching over him, and prancing with pride when he does something wonderful. Well, dog-wonderful, so this usually means something awful for us. I remember once Ansley came tearing up to the house, clearly thrilled out of her tiny mind, doing a joyful version of the Timmy-is-in-the-well, back-and-forth dash to entice us to follow her. We did, and she took us behind the garden shed, where her most marvelous Bagel had unearthed the very, very deadest squirrel in all of Georgia. He was rolling in it. Repulsive! But she was proud enough to bust.

This weekend Bagel had to go to the vet for a tummy problem, and Scott leashed him up and walked him out of the house. Ansley was left at home. This is what she did, for the entire half hour Bagel was missing:

It was an endless, grieving ,restless terrified yammer of sound. THE MAN! HE TOOK BAGEL! WHAT WILL HAPPEN! HELP! Maisy and I coddled her and petted her and talked to her, but she was disconsolate. Nothing was right with the world. She wept and paced and whined and dug at the door.

If dogs can’t recover from becoming mommy-dogs, what chance do we people have, with our much larger imaginations, with our greater understanding of how dangerous the world is? We are very brave, all of us mothers. We have to be.

MY OWN MIRACULOUS  is the story of one girl who becomes a mother way too young, and how danger came, and what she does to earn the title. It’s exciting and love-affirming, but I don’t want to spoil the end. Instead, I’ll show you how Ansley’s story ended.

anlsey is happy

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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14 Responses to My Own Miraculous: a love story

  1. Ann Bresnan November 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Looking forward to reading this story :)

  2. Marie November 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    That is so sweet. It made my morning. It sounds like she just needed someone to look after and love. I’m so glad she found it.

  3. Joshilyn November 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Marie, she herds the kids around, too. She is all mommy, all the time, all the way through.

  4. Ariel Price November 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Ok, sounds like such a sweet story! And this is exactly why I love dogs so much. Thank you for just making my morning. :)

  5. shannon brown November 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I think this will be a wonderful story!

  6. Edible Tapestry November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I felt bad for her while I watched the video, but this whole post was so stinking hilarious all I could do was laugh while she cried. So sweet!

  7. Sheila November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I love this story! Dogs have a special place in my heart anyway, and Ansley and Bagel seem so lovable! I’m already worried about what Ansley will do if Bagel passes before she does. Silly, I guess, but they are so human in their emotions. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story from your life.

  8. Joshilyn November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Me, too, now Sheila! I have never seen anything like that yammery panic — she never stopped til he came home. THIS, I tell my husband, THIS IS WHY WE NEED A TINY BABY PUPPY. NOT FOR ME! FOR HER. He is as yet unmoved by my perfect logic!

  9. Sheila November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Joshilyn, I wish I could help you with convincing your husband, but I have been unable to convince my own that we need another dog! We have been a three-dog family for a long time, but we have lost two dogs (the first number 3 dog developed a chest infection, and the second number 3 had a seizure disorder)to illness in recent years. I want to be a three-dog family again, but my husband is fine with two. I think your need is much more dire than mine, though! Hoping you get a baby for Ansley!

  10. Anita November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I love the story of Ansley and Bagel, dogs are just so loving…at least in my eyes. Two things popped into my mind while reading this, my sister was changing clothes with her granddaughter and little Kendall looked up and said “Bebe, what happend to your boobies” poor kid!! Secondly, our little dog always rushes in and wants us to follow her, and Kevin loves to say “what’s wrong girl, has Timmy fallen in the well”!! Great minds, and he loved this post too. xoxo Mothering has taught me more lessons than I ever expected.

  11. Susan G. November 14, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Loved this photo and video…and another good book!
    Thanks SheReads! I have so many new books on my list of “Books To Read”!

  12. Shelley November 14, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    When I was playing the video of Ansley, my dog Stella (who ignores all dog barking on TV and random dog YouTube videos) got all concerned and tried to get her face up to the laptop to see if she could smell Ansley (and thus understand what was wrong).

    I think dogs figure out what is needed and fill that space. We got our Stella about a year before my son (and only child) left for college, and Stella has in turns mommied me and let me mommy her in the past four years when I have been bereft and not known what I needed.

  13. Marialena November 14, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Adorable dogs and great story arc about mothering and caring for others. Can’t wait to read the book!

    I also love the subtext on how kids learn about loving and mothering through their dogs. (Even if you wisely omit to explain *everything* about what motherhood does.)

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