The Favorite

I've never been anyone's favorite. You may think that's a strange statement, but it's true. As the third child, it's hard to be the favorite. I have a theory that within families, aunties and uncles choose their favorites by whoever is the "baby" when they are falling in love. So my oldest sister was my Auntie Jemimah and Uncle Jerrys's favorite, and my second sister was my Auntie Daisy and Uncle Gerhard's favorite. No one was in love when I was the baby, so I ended up being no one's favorite.

By the time I came along, everyone was too busy even to give me a nickname, even a funny one, such as "Neng Neng" or "Lors." I was just the generic "Anak," the kid. My friend S loves to give nicknames to women. He names them after actresses, characters in movies and TV and comics and books; he plays with variants on their names and their looks. But he's never given me a nickname in all these years, because he only gives nicknames to beautiful women. Only once has he even called me "Kat," and that was because he was trying to impress another girl. It's always Kathy or, when he is angry, he uses my last name. The only time I ever had a true nickname was when A and J used to call me "Pokey," because they thought my long hair reminded them of Pocahantas. They have no idea how much it meant to me to have a nickname, even though it was a silly one. A nickname shows endearment. I needed that.

In school I was smart but didn't know it. I didn't really excel until I was much older. I was relatively quiet and didn't get a whole lot of attention. I still don't. I certainly wasn't anyone's favorite in school. I was just...there.

But for almost 39 months of my life, I finally learned what it was like to be someone's favorite. When I went to the shelter that day, I actually had a list of dogs I wanted to look at. It was the third time I'd been to the shelter, and no dog had felt right. I looked at the dogs on my list but didn't think any of them was right. I walked up and down the aisles several times, not sure why I didn't leave, but I had to look again and again. One cage had a sign on it that said, "Shepherd mix." As much as I love German shepherds, I was not sure that I could handle a dog that needed as much attention as a shepherd needs. So I walked by without looking. But he was looking. I walked by that cage at least 4 times, each time noticing that the dog in the cage was watching me intently. He would follow me with his head every time. I finally stopped to look and realized that he wasn't a German shepherd at all; he looked more like a beagle.  Since a beagle had just won the Westminster dog show the night before, I was drawn to beagles. (Also, a cute boy once told me I should own a beagle, so I have a thing for them.) But this dog wasn't a beagle; he was too big. Turns out that he was a harrier, and I had to do some research to learn about the breed. So that was how Milo chose me. I was his favorite from the very beginning.

It took him a full year to the day to decide to sleep on my bed. He had graduated from his bed in the kitchen to the whole kitchen to my bedroom floor. But on the anniversary of his adoption, he decided that he was going to sleep on the bed. And he did. He would usually jump down after a little while and spend the night on the floor--or lately, on the floor of my closet--but as soon as it got light, he would be back up on the bed. Sometimes I wouldn't even know he was there until I woke up.  If I was too close to the edge of the bed, he would cry until I woke up and moved to give him room to jump up. Or sometimes he would just jump on me. When I woke up, I'd say "Let's go, Milo." He would scoot up from his place at my feet until he was close enough to pet. Then I would rub and tickle his belly. He would roll on his back in utter joy. We played like this until he would sneeze from being on his back for too long. Then we would do it again. Then I'd say, "Let's go, Milo." He'd jump down and be ready to start our day.

If I went out during the day, even if it was just to go to the car, he would be waiting when I came home, usually with a toy.
 I admit that I couldn't resist buying him toys; they made him so happy. He would bring the toy to the door, but when I would try to take it, he would run away. If, however, I did not say, "Thank you, Milo," and try to take the toy, he would follow me around with it, pushing it against my thighs and rear until I gave him appropriate acknowledgement.

Sometimes he would stay with the folks in the kitchen and I would go to my room to study. After a while he would come to look for me and would cry at the door until I let him in.   I was the one he wanted to be with. One of our favorite activies was sitting on the bed while I was studying while he would lie down right on top of one foot or with his head on my thigh and fall asleep. He just liked being close to me.  I was his favorite. If I was on my desktop computer, he would lie under my chair or sometimes right on top of my feet until I was done.

Another of our favorite activities was when I would sit on the top step in the hallway. He would sit right next to me then all of a sudden put his head on my chest and lean...hard. I would pet and pet and pet him until he would slide down and put his head on my lap. Sometimes he would fall asleep, but sometimes I would say, "Let's go," and we would run down the stairs.

My parents loved Milo. Milo knew them as "Grandma" and "Grandpa." If my dad went to take the trash out or if my dad went somewhere and Milo heard the car returning, Milo would whimper by the door until "Grandpa" came back in. If he heard the car coming, he would look around, deciding which toy to bring with him. At dinner, Milo would put his head on my dad's lap, hoping his cuteness would get him a treat from the table. But as much as he loved my parents, mine was the bed he slept in and mine was the room he thought of as his.

I was his favorite. For the first time in my life, I was someone's favorite. And he was mine. I called him "Milo, Milito, the Mexican dog." He wasn't really, of course. I was just making up a song to sing to him one day (something he thought was very strange), and it sounded like a Mexican song. So he became "Milo, Milito, the Mexican dog," with his own special song.

I do not have very much. (I know you're thinking, "yes, you do," but stick with me here.) I have been begging God for a job, love, a house, a family. Milo was all of those things. He was my one true love, my child, my family. He made this house (my parents' house) a home in a way I didn't know existed. Being his mommy was the one job I truly loved. He was my loyal companion
 my brave protector,
my best friend.
He saved my life, just by being. He was the only one who truly loved me first, and he made sure to let me know it. "Am I your favorite, Milo?" I would ask. He would lick my face and kiss me. "You're my favorite," I would respond. You're my own baby dog, and I love you. You're my own precious dog forever."

He put up with my crazy schemes and costumes,
 just to be with me. He was mine, my very own, the one thing that was my very own. I do not know why God would take away my one thing from me. God has not seen fit to give me the other things I have asked for; instead, God took away the one thing I had. I am devastated and hurt and angry. I cannot understand why God could be so cruel to take away my one true love.

For 39 months, I knew what it was like to be someone's favorite. And in a flash, that was gone. And I do not know how I will live without him.

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I write about, education, diabetes, family, pets, church, God, and whatever else comes to mind.

    Some Things That Make Me Happy

    (1) learning
    (2) family
    (3) barney
    (4) food
    (5) school
    (6) music
    (7) adoption
    (8) Doctor Who
    (9) worship
    (10) baking
    (11) reading
    (12) Quantum Leap
    (13) chocolate Irish cream cheesecake
    (14) scrapbooking
    (15) cake decorating
    (16) Star Trek
    (17) Craig Ferguson
    (18) British TV
    (19) gooey butter cake
    (20) crunchy onions
    (21) traveling

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