Friday, April 9, 2021

A Crowded Bed

 “We were together. I forget the rest.” (Walt Whitman)

You never know that the most special moments of your life are special. The moments you think are going to be the special ones…they’re never as big as you make them out to be in your head. The best moments of your life are the ones you almost blink right past. They are so small and simple and brief that they seem more like a passing thought than a memory worth cherishing.

But those moments—the ones you don’t even think to slow down during and cherish or take a picture of—are the ones you find yourself smiling about randomly in the middle of the day. They’re the moments you wake up to in the middle of the night and can’t stop thinking about. They are the moments you wish afterwards you had a photograph of, but ultimately know that the photograph of it painted on your heart is so much better. Those moments are the truly glorious moments of our life.

This morning my alarm startled me awake at 6:45 a.m. I let myself sleep an extra 15 minutes and I lay in bed knowing it would be a push to get to work on time because of that decision. Sound asleep on my chest with her arms dangling at my sides was my 15-pound, 7-month old baby girl. Just inches away was the rather rotund rump of my chocolate lab. And to my right, my husband lay breathing through congested nostrils from a cold he’d been fighting off all week.  

After carefully sliding my daughter off my chest and onto the open space next to us in bed, I managed to get up without disturbing anyone. As I pulled my robe on and begin shuffling towards the bathroom, a tiny sliver of light slipping through the top of the window curtains spotlighted the scene in front of me.

Jumbled together beautifully in our king-sized bed, was my whole world: my husband of five years, the tiny human who made me a mother, and the dog who is my very best friend. It was a comical sight and instantly reminded me of the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory of Charlie’s four grandparents all laying together in the same giant bed. It certainly was a crowded bed and one that most people would shake their heads at. But for me, it was the crowded nature of my bed in that moment that made me pause for a few seconds and just smile.   

In that crowded bed was the fulfillment of so many hopes and dreams…some I distinctly recall praying for in the darker and lonelier moments of my life…and some that I think only God alone knew that I needed.

Those three precious souls in my bed have shaped my life in irreversible ways. They have challenged me, inspired me, loved me, and saved me. In a world full of so many uncertainties and so much darkness, they have grounded me, turned me towards the light, and shifted my focus.

I used to worry about so many things in my life and the lives of those around me. But now I just get up in the morning and look at my crowded bed and I know that those three lives are all that really matter. Everything else is just noise. If I have their presence and love in my life, I know that all the other details and chaos will be sorted out eventually.     

Thursday, April 1, 2021


 “Behold…your mother.”

Those three words—among the last spoken by Jesus on the cross—were all I could think of in that moment. I had just taken my first shower in four days. My first shower as a newly christened mother. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror of my hospital room, I took in the dark circles under my eyes and my swollen breasts. My stomach, cradled by mesh underwear, still bore the rounded resemblance of pregnancy, yet felt still and hollow for the first time in months. It was the first time I’d seen myself in four days. I recognized myself and yet I didn’t at the same time. I knew I was a mother, but I felt a far cry from the holy and venerable mother at Calvary. But somehow those last words spoken by Jesus about his mother kept echoing in my mind.

Flashback to Christmas Eve, a little over eight months prior.

“How amazing would it be if we just made a baby on the night we celebrate the birth of Jesus?” I remember saying to my husband. Just 23 days later, those two pink lines slowly emerged on the pregnancy test and I felt everything in my universe shift.

In the weeks and months that followed I often found myself thinking about Mary. I thought about the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel delivered the news to her that she would conceive and bear a son. Mary must have felt the way all moms-to-be feel—anxious, excited, and hopeful.

When Christians think about the Annunciation, they think of Mary’s profound “Yes” in that moment. A “yes” to God’s plan despite any reservations she had or plans of her own for the future. And from that moment, she laid down her life, her body, her plans, and her fears because she trusted so fully in God’s will.

Every woman, myself included, finds themselves in that same position when they first discover they are pregnant. Whether the pregnancy was planned or not, whether the woman is elated at the news or terrified, there is still a moment when she chooses to say “yes” to moving forward with the new calling placed upon her. And in that moment, we are forever bonded to Mary and inclined to look to her as the eternal testament to motherhood.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept Mary’s trust and optimism in God in mind as I navigated God’s developing plan for me. As I stood in that hospital bathroom though just days after finally bringing my child into the world, I realized that Mary actually made two profound “Yes’s.” There was the one at the Annunciation we all know about, but perhaps the even grander one was made as she stood at the base of the cross in the final moments of her son’s life. That yes, that most difficult and inconceivable yes by Mary, is the one that has filled my thoughts for the past 216 days of being a mother.

I am already well aware that motherhood brings immense challenges and requires endless sacrifice. From the moment your child takes their first breath outside of your body, a mother’s job is to protect them, nurture them, love them, and guide them. But along the way we as mothers fail to do all those things at some point…either by our own failings as a parent or most likely, because of the nature of the mortal world we have brought our children into.  

As I lay in the hospital bed during the first days of my daughter’s life, I couldn’t allow myself to sleep. I just lay there holding her and trying to memorize every detail of her tiny form. I looked at her eyes and knew that they would one day shed tears I wouldn’t be able to stop. I looked at her lips that will one day form words of love and devotion to a person who will not share them back. Her knees and elbows will get scraped up. Her stamina, emotionally and physically, will be tested and drained. Her tiny fingers will someday wear a ring symbolizing her love and devotion to another. Her arms will someday hold a tiny child of her own. In every part of her I looked at, I knew there would be a story, a challenge, and a blessing someday. And I knew I would need to be her mother through all of it.

After bringing my daughter home from the hospital, I suffered through six hellacious weeks of feeding issues with her. From feeding syringes and nipple shields to weekly lactation consultations, it almost broke me. There were times that even the patient and encouraging lactation nurse looked at me with eyes that told me I should just give up. But I remained stubbornly committed to coming out the other side knowing that if we both persevered together, we could get her to successfully nurse and thrive physically. And that is exactly what happened.  

What those first six weeks taught me is that while motherhood is indeed hard, the only thing you ever really must do is just show up and try and never stop believing in yourself or your child.

Now seven months into motherhood with my first Easter as a mother only three days away—I am once again reminded of Mother Mary and the “Yes” she made during her son’s passion. I used to wonder if Mary had wanted to shield her eyes or run away while her son was being flogged, spit on, ridiculed, and nailed to a cross. I used to wonder how she could stand there and watch her son—her most precious gift from God—broken and slowly killed right in front of her. Why did Jesus’ disciples flee in those final hours while Mary stood there until the end?

But now I know. Every mother knows. The child you made from scratch…the child God entrusted to only you…the child who knows what your heart sounds like from the inside…that child is forever bonded to you and you are forever bonded to them. No matter what challenges motherhood brings, no matter what my child does or who she grows up to be, no matter how many times I fail or feel like running, I know that I will endure. I know I will stay. I know I will show up and give my very best to my child. Because there isn’t an option not to. God blessed me with a daughter to call my own in the same way that he called me to be his daughter. God has never walked away from me in any of my difficult moments so I can’t ever walk away from the mother he has called me to be.

Motherhood requires women to be the Mary of the Annunciation. But more importantly, it requires us to be the Mary at the foot of the cross. Because you can’t only say yes to the wonder and awe of receiving a child without committing to also saying yes to the sacrifice and suffering that comes with loving that child despite everything…through everything…until the end.  





Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wallace's 1st Birthday

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

A few weeks ago I found myself still on the fence about whether or not I should host a 1st birthday party for our dog, Wallace. I knew the notion would come across as ridiculous to many, especially to those people in my life who have actual children to throw parties for. But when I came across the quote above while scrolling Facebook one day, the decision was solidified in my mind. Wallace deserved this party….not because he was turning one but because of his service to my family.

I have had a lifelong love for dogs since I woke up on Christmas morning at around 2 years old to find my very first puppy squirming about in a cardboard box. While I don’t exactly remember that day, I do know that the bond Cody and I formed that morning and the love I quickly developed for her would stay with me the rest of my days.

Dogs are these incredible creatures that I am quite sure God put on earth as a daily reminder of just how easy and necessary it is to offer unconditional love to everyone we come across. They are the gentle faces and warm tongues that await us shortly after rolling out of bed each day. They are the wagging tails and enthusiastic butt wiggles that greet us after a long day at work. They are the patient friends who will sit and listen earnestly, quietly, and without judgment as we vent to them about the frustrations of the day. They are the ever loving and understanding ones that, even after we yell at them and swat them on the nose for misbehaving, still look up at us with dark, soulful eyes filled with nothing short of love and admiration for us.

Dogs are quite simply the kind of best friend we have always longed for but never quite found in another human. And for that reason, I held a party for Wallace—to celebrate not only his entrance into the world, but also his entrance into the hearts of my family.

Wallace’s party, though only attended by a small number of people, was a lovely success. I think one of my favorite moments was looking up to see my work spouse, Karen, walking up the sidewalk clutching a shiny silver balloon with her yellow lab, Rio, in tow. I would have expected nothing less from another true dog lover.

A simple fare of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese was provided for the human guests along with chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes. For Wallace and his one furry party guest, I had baked homemade dog treats as well as made a peanut butter, banana and bacon cake with cream cheese frosting.

After singing happy birthday to Wallace, he and Rio were treated to large slices of cake. This was followed by the tissue paper chaos of opening gifts. Laughs were had by all that day and Wallace passed out hard after everyone said their goodbyes.

I’m not sure that Wallace ever realized that he had just turned one years old. Or that all of the people in our house that day were there for him. But he was ecstatically happy the entire afternoon, which is all I could have hoped for.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend who has been serving in the Peace Corps in Benin, Africa. During our conversation, she expressed great tribulation over the fact that a cat she had taken in shortly after arriving in Africa had fallen ill just as she was leaving to head stateside for a few weeks. The problem, she explained, is that the concept of having animals as pets does not exist over there. There are not veterinarians on every street corner like we have here. And the idea of giving them medicine and trying to take care of them as though they are family members seems insane to the native people. I laughed trying to imagine what the Benin people would have through of my dog birthday party.

Andy and I have been told that we treat Wallace better than some people treat their kids. I know that statement to be disturbingly factual. But the thing is, he’s earned it. We don’t give him abundant love, affection, day care days, dog houses, and toys just because of his cute face and wiggle butt. We do it because he brings a little more joy to our lives each day.

Earlier this week I was having a particularly rough night and felt hopeless and frustrated about practically everything. I found myself laying on my living room floor crying like a small child. Suddenly, Wallace walked over to me and began licking my face until all my tears were wiped up. Then he stood over me for several minutes while I scratched his chest and calmed myself down. That, my friends, is the kind of intuitive love dogs have for us.

What I have come to learn about pets and people is that when you are a true dog/cat/horse/animal-of-any-kind-lover, you understand in a deep and profound way the importance of sharing your life with animals. You understand the unconditional love they give. You understand the unrivaled companionship and loyalty you will find with them. You know that life with a pet is always a little bit brighter, more hopeful, funnier, and ultimately full.

For the people who have never had a pet or who have more lukewarm feelings about animals and the relationships people develop with them, they will never be able to understand this bond. But for those that do, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you know that nothing on earth could ever shake that bond.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Sunflower

Last weekend the highly anticipated royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally took place at St. George’s Chapel. In the days since, the media and fashion industry has been busy scrutinizing every minute detail from the event…..from the simple but elegant lines of Meghan’s Givenchy dress and her signature messy bun hairstyle to the rousing sermon delivered by the passionate Reverend Michael Curry and the performance by the Kingdom Choir.

One of the wedding details that intrigued me was the composition of Meghan’s seemingly understated bouquet. It was later announced that her bouquet was actually filled with hidden meanings that were steeped in both tradition and memory. Her bouquet was comprised of forget-me-nots, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia, and a sprig of myrtle. The forget-me-nots were used in loving memory for being one of Princess Diana’s favorite flowers while the sprig of myrtle has been a traditional aspect of all royal bouquets since Queen Victoria as an emblem of love and marriage. The astilbe represents dedication and the lily of the valley is another symbol of love.

The amount of tradition and symbolism wrapped into Meghan’s bouquet got me thinking about my own wedding bouquet and reasons behind one of the flowers I chose to include in it.

The primary color at our September wedding was royal blue, which was echoed by the brilliant blue hydrangeas stashed in my bouquet as well as the bridesmaids’ bouquets. But the flowers that really left their mark that day were the bold yellow sunflowers whose cheery shade of yellow was impossible to miss. My choice for including them was a deliberate and purposeful one.

On May 25, 2014, a mere 9 days after Andy got down on one knee and proposed to me, I found myself sitting in a stuffy room at the ER while a doctor briefed me on the results from an MRI scan they did on him. The diagnosis, which was later confirmed by a neurologist in Bozeman, was Multiple Sclerosis. It was devastating news that utterly obliterated what was supposed to be one of the happiest moments in my life.

Over the course of the next few weeks I spent dozens of hours on the phone with neurologist offices across the country trying to get him in to see someone. Even more hours were spent arguing with Blue Cross Blue Shield to get him clearance for the medications he would need to treat his condition. There were long afternoons spent at the hospital waiting, drip by drip, as steroids were pumped into Andy’s blood stream to try and restore his vision that had been effected. There were plenty of silent and hidden tears shed while I showered each morning and more prayers sent up to Heaven than some make in a lifetime.

I spent the first month of our engagement terrified, broken-hearted, angry, and resentful. But through it all, despite being the actual patient experiencing symptoms, Andy remained a beacon of hope and optimism. He remained calm and collected during appointments while I hung my head between my knees trying not to pass out. He was the one making me smile despite his vision being distorted. He was the one gently rubbing my back during Mass while I stared at the crucifix willing God to provide answers.

In what was one of the most trying moments thus far in my life, Andy was my hope…my constant…my light and my faith. He was my sunflower.

Flash forward 16 months to the day of our wedding. When I walked down the aisle on my dad’s arm in the church where I was baptized and where Andy first received the Sacrament of the Sick, I clutched a bouquet filled with sunflowers.

Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. And while all of those aspects are critical for a successful marriage, I chose to include them in my bouquet because their faces always turn towards the sun. Sunflowers focus on the source of their life and strength no matter what is happening around them. Even when they are getting pummeled on the side of a desolate highway by wind, rain and debris, their faces still turn towards the light.

For me Andy and God above serve as my life and strength each day. They have both taught me to keep my face turned always towards the light---the light of hope…the light of faith…the light of love. Because if I do that….If I focus everything in me on those brilliant aspects above, around and within me, the darkness will never win.

In the four years since Andy’s diagnosis, there have certainly been moments of trepidation and uncertainty. I’ve witnessed some hard days for Andy both physically and spiritually. But through it all he has kept a smile on his face and exudes nothing but optimism and joy from the inside out. He inspires me each and every day and renews my faith in God by the smallest actions.

So for my sunflower, on this your 4th anniversary, I pray and wish for nothing more than health, happiness, hope and love on all our days to come. I love you.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wallace Cornelius

“Dogs are the closest we come to knowing the divine love of God on this side of eternity.” (Anne Lamott)

As a Catholic, I believe in and have experienced most of the seven sacraments of the church. The sacraments--like baptism, reconciliation, Eucharist, and marriage are defined as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual divine grace.” They are God’s way of sharing his holiness with us and calling us to be witnesses to continue his son’s legacy of making the world holier. 

A few days ago, I came to the realization that perhaps there is an 8th sacrament of sorts worth experiencing. The outward sign of this new-found grace in my life came in the form of a single paw print stamped into the pure white snow in my backyard. 

Two months ago a beautiful gift came into my life that inspires and reminds me on a daily basis to love with Christ’s unconditional love, forgive with God’s ceaseless mercy, and serve others with tireless devotion. That gift is a rambunctious ball of brown fur whose name……is Wallace Cornelius. 

Andy and I had talked about getting a dog for a long time. But like a lot of “parents” to be, we were waiting for the perfect time and circumstances before bringing one into our home. We wanted to have our yard fully fenced and for the weather to be warm and pleasing. We wanted months to prepare and adjust to the ideas of our daily life changing. 

But true to form, God had other plans and undoubtedly spent some time chuckling at all our careful planning. 

Just a couple of weeks before Christmas, Andy called a breeder to put our name on a waitlist for a lab puppy. The plan was to hopefully get in on a dog from a litter that would be ready to come home in late spring or early summer. After taking down our info and learning that we were hoping for a male chocolate lab, the breeder informed Andy that she had a male chocolate puppy whose previously selected family had decided to wait a bit longer. So if we wanted him, he was ours.

Since my first puppy came to me on Christmas morning when I was only about 2 or 3 years old, I was thrilled at the idea of having another Christmas puppy. It felt like it was meant to be. 

Flash forward a few weeks and we were on our way home from Whitehall, with a very sleepy puppy passed out in my lap. 

One of the first questions we got asked about Wallace was how did we come up with his name? Andy and I both always smile at that question because…..much like Wallace himself, his name had been in the works for quite some time.

Two summers ago, my sister-in-law Holly was living with us. It was the first summer in our new house and we were already starting to talk about the day we would have a dog bouncing around our yard. Holly was very supportive and anxious of this prospect. But she explained to us that she felt all dogs should be given “old man names.” To clarify, any kind of name you imagine your grandfather having such as Albert, George, or Harold. Wallace was one of the names she initially suggested and from that day on it just stuck.

Those first few days of having Wallace at home were a true joy. He was so small and cuddly and we took many a nap together on the floor. I believe that there is an empty space inside all of us that only a dog’s presence in our life can ever fill. You don’t realize the space is there until you first bring a dog into your life…..or until a dog first passes out of your life. And honestly, I believe the same can be said of the Holy Spirit. You don’t realize how much healing and grace you need in your life until you decide to hand your life fully over to someone as far above and beyond you as God. 

 It’s hard to believe that Wallace has gained over 20 pounds since bringing him home and that his paws hardly struggle to reach the tops of our counters now. He has an obsessive love for peanut butter and frozen baby carrots. He wiggles his butt so much when he’s excited that it’s amazing he can even stay upright. He has yet to find his big dog voice but never runs short on warm, wet kisses for anyone who looks his way. 


From potty training and tattered baseboards, to stolen beanie hats and plenty of bite marks, we have certainly had our share of frustrating days with Wallace. We have both lost our temper with him a time or two. And some days all we can do is count down the minutes till we can put him in his kennel for bed. But the first five minutes of my day are now some of my favorite because I get to see his big amber eyes and wiggly butt greet me. And no matter how loudly I yelled at him the night before, he loves me just as much 10 minutes later as he would have if I had never yelled at him. 

As my dad asked the other day, “Is there ever anyone more happy to see you when you get home than your dog?” The number of times in a day I now smile, laugh, and feel totally at peace with the world has multiplied a hundred times over thanks to Wallace and the simple, exuberant, and “old soul” way about him. 

God left his church sacraments for us to receive so that we could more visibly see the grace he brings into our life. He calls us to live holy lives and love others unconditionally. And while I’ve spent a good deal of time before on my knees in prayer and in silent reflection with a bible open in my lap, the purest form of unconditional love and mercy I’ve witnessed in my life has been by walking side by side with a dog. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Be At Peace.....

I read a quote a long time ago that said, “God already knows what is going to happen…..he is just waiting for the right time to reveal it to me.” 

Three years ago as I was preparing to be baptized into the Catholic Church I had come to the realization that God planned on calling me to his faith long before he revealed that plan to me. Looking back on my life I picked out all kinds of small moments and encounters that, unbeknownst to me at the time, were pulling me closer to God. From my Catholic friends in high school who first introduced me to the faith, to settling on Carroll College as my educational institution, to falling in love with my future husband who convinced me to attend my first Catholic mass…..God was subtle but deliberate in his hints to me.

But it wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that I felt the undeniable pull to hand my life over to the healing and saving powers of God. 

On April 19, 2014 after months of religious education classes, prayer and mounting anticipation, the day of my baptism was upon me. That morning as I finished up rehearsing for the Easter Vigil later that night, I was asked who I had chosen as my confirmation saint. I smiled because I had chosen my saint months earlier. 

After being baptized during the Vigil that night, I stood in front of the parish holding my baptismal candle as my head was anointed with holy oil to confirm my pledge of faith. And I was called by the name of my patron saint--Francis……for Francis de Sales.

Francis de Sales is known as the patron saint of Catholic writers, the Catholic press, the deaf, journalists and those in adult education. Having realized long ago that writing is my ultimate calling in this life from God, how could I have chosen anyone else for my confirmation saint? 

Francis de Sales was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales in the kingdom of Savoy near Geneva, Switzerland in 1567. While Francis’ father desired him to enter a career in law and politics, Francis had longed to serve God from an early age. But he kept this desire hidden from his family for years. 

Francis did go on to receive his doctorate in law at the University of Padua but was later ordained to the priesthood. 

During the time of the Protestant reformation, Francis lived close to Calvinist territory. He decided he should lead an expedition to bring the 60,000 Calvinists back to the Catholic Church. For three years, he trudged through the countryside, had doors slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him. In the bitter winters, his feet froze so badly they bled as he tramped through the snow.

Francis' unusual patience kept him working. No one would listen to him, no one would even open their door. So, Francis found a way to get under the door. He wrote out little pamphlets to explain true Catholic doctrine and slipped them under the doors. This is one of the first records Catholics have of religious tracts being used to communicate the true Catholic faith to people who had fallen away from the Church.

By the time Francis returned home, it is believe he bought 40,000 people to the Catholic Church.
While only a glimpse into the life of my saint, it is the only glimpse I need to feel a strong and undeniable connection to him.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if the choice of Francis was too simple and easy. He’s the patron saint of journalists and since I am a writer and journalist of sorts I chose him as my saint. Easy peasy!
But something happened a few weeks ago…..another one of those subtle but clearly deliberate pokes of God into my life that made me realize that perhaps Saint Francis has also been walking at my side all along too. 

I was at my parent’s house one day and getting something out of their bedroom. On my way back out their door, something stopped me dead in my tracks. There is a picture that has hung on their wall for as long as I can remember. It contains the following quote:

“Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father, who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.” 

I’ve always loved the quote but that day was the first time I took note of the voice behind it.  The name written below the quote was none other than Francis de Sales. 

During this Lenten season as I practice fasting, almsgiving, and reconciliation, I find peace and comfort in knowing that God and Saint Francis de Sales walk beside me each day….guiding me…..healing me….comforting me. And I believe, coincidence or not, that Francis chose me just as much as I chose him. 

Saint Francis de Sales pray for us!

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Summer of Bart

French novelist, Colette, said it flawlessly when she wrote, “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”

This past spring, as I prepared for my husband to move to West Yellowstone for work for five months, I found myself worrying about getting lonely in his absence. It was an unusual concern for me to have considering I lived on my own for several years prior to getting married. But since marrying Andy, I have grown accustomed to waking up next to another beating heart each morning and a smiling face embracing me at the end of each day. What was I going to do without someone to keep me company every day….especially at night. 

Little did I know that a small, cotton-tailed ball of fluff would soon begin his daily check ins on me in Andy’s place.

Not long after Andy packed up and headed for West, I began a routine of checking on the progress of our grass seed filling in our back yard. After getting home from work each night I would walk out our back door onto the deck to see how the bare patches were continuing to fill in. On one such night I noticed a small brownish rabbit resting in one of the patchier areas of grass just off our deck.
“Hey there buddy!” I hollered out to him smiling. 

After giving me a quick once over out of the corner of his eyes, the rabbit deemed me harmless and remained nestled comfortably in his spot.

Having seen numerous rabbits bounding about between the yards in our neighborhood since moving into our house, I didn’t think much about this rabbit’s visit….until I came home the next evening to again notice a rabbit sitting in the same area of our yard. It looks suspiciously like the rabbit from the night before with its chestnut brown coat speckled throughout with patches of grey. 

Turns out….it was the same rabbit. 

Over the course of the next few weeks this curious critter made his nightly appearance around the same time and in the same section of our yard. He just sat there peacefully staring off into the distance. Occasionally he bent his head down to munch on a clump of grass. Wanting to befriend him and encourage him to hang around, I began leaving small pieces of bell peppers in the grass where he normally sat. I had no idea whether rabbits ate peppers but it was one of the only fresh vegetables I seemed to have around. And while he never seemed to eat very many (if any) of the peppers pieces, he did continue to show up nearly every night. 

Once I realized this rabbit might be hanging around for good, I decided it was only appropriate to name him. And the first name that came to mind was “Bart.” It may sound strange, but there was a comforting nature to Bart’s presence in our yard each night. I guess you could say he filled the husband gap during the week while Andy was away working.  I had someone to check in with each night when I got home. And while he wasn’t as interactive as Andy or even a dog, he was still there waiting at home for me each night. 

Oddly enough, once Andy returned home in September Bart stopped coming around. I guess he realized I didn’t need him as much anymore. Every once in a while I still catch a glimpse of a rabbit scurrying about our neighborhood. But I’m never quite sure if it’s Bart or not. I do like to think, however, that Bart continues to keep secret tabs on me and make sure that Andy is in fact home now to watch over me. I do hope when spring returns that so does at least the occasional appearance from my friend, Bart.