This is how I want to remember you: happiest in the fresh spring grass, with grass midges startled up, surrounding you like little stars.
Unknowable grace brought you into my life. I will be forever grateful for the day you chose me to be one of your inner circle of friends. It was such an ordinary day. We were grooming, getting ready for a ride. I’d long since stopped wondering if you’d ever let me all the way “in”. I propped the door open and left it alone. I was starting to buckle your girth. I’d figured out you needed it done slowly, with breaks. Before I could thread the leather through the buckle, you turned your head all the way around and held it there, waiting for me to look at you. I looked up, thinking I was going too fast. I expected to hear you say “not like that.”
Instead, your eye held mine steadily, silently transmitting a message I couldn’t untangle. I looked back a question. Very slowly and carefully, you reached for my arm, deliberately taking my shirt sleeve into your mouth. You just held it. Looking at me.
I dropped the girth. You didn’t let go. I was flooded with memories of Micah and Lee Lee, so small they didn’t come up to my hip, reaching out to hold my pant leg: in the line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, answering the doorbell.
A child holding on to mom: making sure she’s real, making sure she’s in front, making sure if she moves, the wake will carry you.
You were not my child: but the hold was unmistakable: we are connected. I choose you.
I threw my free arm around your neck, afraid to move the one you were holding. You let go of my sleeve, and I hugged you with both arms, holding. You wrapped your long neck and big head all the way around my body and pressed.
That was the first of many hugs. Tiny hugs.
Often when I was sad or confused, you’d reach over and grab a mouthful of my clothing, and simply hold it. It took me many years to realize you were making sure I was in your wake, that you were in front of me: if you moved, I’d go with you. I was astounded by the reversal: you were taking care of me.
I love you Tiny. You changed my life and my heart. Your being was, and still is, a King’s treasure. I will never, ever let you go.