For the past two years, I've laughingly and lovingly said we have a toddler in the house. A four-legged, furry, 100 pound toddler. His mischievous nature, the way he fairly ran to the stairs every morning as I descended from upstairs, his wrapping his lanky body around my legs as if saying, "Hey, notice me. Pet me" brought to mind a child utterly happy with the world. When the young woman we refer to as "Ado's Girlfriend" visits, he would jump on her as if he wants her to hold him like she did when he was just a ten-pound puppy. He would lavish her with sloppy dog kisses and be sure her clothes were covered with his hair.
Since last Monday, since returning home without Max, my toddler has been nowhere in sight. It was like overnight Ado shed his childish ways and became an adult.
No longer does he run to the stairs as I come down for breakfast. Instead, he and I meet in the middle of the dining room, him treading softly, slowly from the living room where he spent the night sleeping on the couch. And this morning, when his girlfriend came to visit briefly, he didn't run to her, jump on her, offer slobbery kisses. He calmly met her at the gate, walked ahead of her to the back deck, then settled in where he had been laying before her arrival.
I want my toddler back.
I want to see that same exuberance for life he used to show.