let more come out.

And so no wonder you don’t write and put it off month after month, decade after decade. For when you write, if it is to be any good at all, you must feel free,–free and not anxious. The only good teachers for you are those friends who love you, who think you are interesting, or very important, or wonderfully funny; whose attitude is:
“Tell me more. Tell me all you can. I want to understand more about everything you feel and know and all the changes inside and out of you. Let more come out.”
And if you have no such friend,–and you want to write,–well then you must imagine one.
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland

We are tickled to welcome snow in February, mostly because March is only four weeks away. See, everything is beautiful in its time. I’ve only ever felt reproach towards snow around April and May–when snow ought never fall, but it did, because we lived on the north side of a blasted mountain. You buy a foreclosure there; you stay and fix it up and eventually hold your breath and pray it sells in the green months of May to July.

Cooky showed up at our door day one of the snowstorm and we let him in. Better intuition told me to leave him out or he’d take over our lives, but I couldn’t watch the pitiful thing freeze to death on the porch.

We let him rule the roost for two days, a puppy king, nibbling shreds of old pork roast leftovers from our hand. The five-year-old named and trained him and the boys chauffeured him out the door ever couple hours for peeing and exercise. His feet hardly touched the ground.
We watched Boston Terrier videos on youTube. We learned the top ten things they hate (snow, snow, snow) and the top ten things they love (snacks, snuggles, sun). Gretty swaddled him like a baby and made a list of his new-learned commands: sit, stay, crat, cum.

When the sun finally came out the kids gave me every reason to keep him.
“He doesn’t even have a collar!” and “If he had an owner that loved him they’d be out looking for him!”

But we did the responsible thing and loaded up Cooky and the kids into the truck and knocked on neighbors’ doors. Which is how Cooky (aka Tiny) found his home again.

I hate being such a softie, but then I think about how a kid needs someone in their life who always sees what they care about as important. And Cooky was all-consuming there for a good 48 hours. Even Joe wandered into the living room this afternoon and glumly said, “I miss Cooky.”
But then you have to put on your big girl pants and be the mom who figures out where the puppy came from. I told the kids we’d had Cooky long enough and the right thing to do (if we could get out of our driveway) was to find the people who loved him first.

This is why being a parent is more than most folks give credit. It’s easy to get in the car and take off for work. It’s harder to sit with your kids for a few snow days and let dirty dishes pile up in the sink so you can play a torturingly slow game of Risk sans cell phone, with unfeigned enthusiasm.
Your job is not only to see to the basics, food and shelter, but to pull it off with a degree of genuine interest. If you aren’t interested, they can smell it. You may not think so in the immediacy of the moment, but I bet you can remember every grownup in your life that showed you genuine interest as a child.
Tell me who ever encouraged you to “let more come out”.

More of your interests, more of your silly jokes. More of who you are on the inside. More of knowing front porch puppy love on a snow day.

I’m reading Brenda Ueland’s writing book again. It always makes me think–do I give other people the time and space? Do I show an interest? I’m not naturally great at being interested, but I can already see some fruit when I cast that kind of seed in the ground.

When Joe walked up his driveway and introduced himself as the fellow’s neighbor, the man said, “Do you happen to know anything about a little doggy?”
We handed him his puppy and a smile broke on his face. We told how we’d been checking Craigslist and Facebook, looking for postings of lost and found pets.
“Yeah,” he mused, “I’m not really the posting type.”
And I was glad he wasn’t, because we had the best time being snowed in with Cooky.
He had just removed its collar because Cooky was only five months old but outgrowing the first one. And he’d been stuck in his driveway for days without a four-wheel drive vehicle. His daughter was on the way to help search for the lost doggy.

The kids were relieved–tickled with themselves.
We floated home, heroes.

And that’s a good-sized patch on a proud little chest.

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