We Are Not Keeping This


We are not keeping this.
It was an interesting weekend.

Sunday was the second hottest day in the history of Lubbock.  It was so hot that I was frightened even to take my children swimming, which is our normal activity on a hot day.  It was really, really hot.  After a day of staying cool inside, though, the kids needed to air out, so we set up a little splash pool in the backyard and let them play in it after dinner when it was starting to get cooler.

I noticed some movement behind the back fence, and knew it was a stray dog, but didn't pay much attention because it wasn't barking at us or menacing us.  Courtney noticed that the dog didn't go away, so she eventually went to look.  On the other side of the gate was a puppy, so hot and tired that he couldn't make a sound, and covered with ticks from head to toe.  We sprayed him with water from the hose to help him cool down, and he instantly pepped up.

We are not keeping this.

"A new puppy!  Can we keep him, daddy?"
"No, we are not keeping this."
"But we could name him..."
"His name is NO.  We are not keeping this."

Another family someplace is missing him.  They would want him back.  On the other hand, a dog doesn't get that many ticks overnight.  He's been out for a while.  Henry is getting pretty old.  He won't live forever.  Maybe it would be good to have a new puppy for the kids.  On the other hand, don't we owe it to Henry to make his sunset years peaceful?  We are not keeping this.

Courtney took him to the vet on Monday after bathing, scrubbing, and thoroughly de-ticking him on Sunday night.  He's healthy, about 7 weeks old, and is probably a mix of chow and golden retriever or yellow lab.  We put up some posters and put his picture and description on Facebook and some lost dog boards online.  The plan is to give him away if he isn't claimed by Sunday.
Gosh, he actually cleaned up pretty cute.  And he wags his tail when I come outside, and he likes to play with me...  No.  We are not keeping this.  Why is this hard?  I don't even like dogs.  This one brings me joy.  I know it would bring somebody else joy, too, but it wouldn't be so bad for me to keep this bit of joy to myself, right?  No.  We are not keeping this.

I think this may have weighed on me more than it usually would have, because I just recently read a really good story about a lost puppy.

So, that is part of what happened this weekend.  Here is another part, but it's one that comes with some background.  For some time, going back to before we had Jack, Courtney has felt it very strongly in her heart that she wants to be a surrogate for a couple who is unable to conceive.  I had some initial misgivings.  The last time I'd heard or thought anything about surrogacy was back in the late '80s, when it was in the news because there were all kinds of lawsuits and problems surrounding it.  That still shaped my thinking about surrogacy.  She showed me information to relieve those fears, but I still worried.  Although I know that her motivation for doing this is love, there is also some financial remuneration, and I didn't want her to feel like we were commoditizing her body for the benefit of our family.  Above all, I wondered about the emotions involved with carrying a baby, but knowing that the baby will be another family's.  We talked about this a lot.  A lot.  Maybe I was more worried for me than for her, because she's eagerly anticipating the joy that this will bring to somebody else.

Courtney found an agency with a sterling reputation and started the process.  We have both undergone counseling, testing, and meetings.  On Saturday, we met the couple who Courtney will be carrying for.  Both of us were bundles of nerves in the week leading up to their trip to Lubbock.  Would they like us?  Would they feel safe with entrusting this responsibility to us?  Long story short, they are lovely.  They are warm, and interesting, and wonderful.  They are lovely.  For privacy, that's all I'm going to say about them, but the meeting went very well.  We're excited about the part Courtney is about to play in their life, and blessed to have met them.

If you are a fan of Friends, you probably remember the episode where Phoebe's brother and sister-in-law ask her to be a surrogate for them.  Her mother gives a puppy to Phoebe, but only for three days, to show her how hard it is to give up somebody who you have feelings for.

And now you see how the two threads of my weekend tie together.

We are not keeping this.  But I think I'm OK with that.  I want to see the joy on another family's face.

We are not keeping this.


Jenn said...

Oh wow Danny, what an amazing thing you and Court are doing! I am seriously blown away by your courage and willingness to help others. You guys are awesome! :)

Jessica said...

Danny, WOW, you and Courtney are so generous and wonderful for this gift of family. Your writing of it all brought me to tears. I wish you both and the lovely couple the very best!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it doesn't get any better than this! How awesome is that! God is blessing you both to be a blessing to someone else. Thank God for his angels!
Venessa Carter

Becca said...

This is your best post ever. What an amazing gift you guys can give!

ANdrea G said...

Dan, the woman who married you would have to have wit, humor, and patience. After reading this, I see that your wife is AMAZING! It tears my heart that people who would be GREAT parents cannot have children while there are others who should never have been allowed to procreate having baby after baby. Courtney will be giving a gift that is priceless, and I pray that your joy is abundant.

Danny said...

Thanks very much, all of you. For right now, NO is still at our house, and we're trying to stay firm on finding other living arrangements for him.

Becca, your compliment really means a lot to me. Thank you.

And yes, Courtney is a fantastic woman!

Ali said...

OH MY GOSH! I have chills, a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I cannot tell you how amazed I am by both of you. God bless you for the blessing you are going to be to this other family. "I was a stranger and you invited me in" indeed, my friend.

much love and many prayers as you go through this amazing journey together.

Danny said...

Well, now there's tears in my eyes. That's one of my favorite passages of the entire Bible, which is why I was so touched by your story about Spencer last week. For you to quote it back to me goes straight to my heart.

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