This was another big family day, and a wonderful one.
We took Kai and Cookie to a dogsitter who we found through Rover, the Airbnb for dogs. She has a sweet little older house with a big fenced-in yard, and was very relaxed and easy-going. I had already told her about Cookie (a/k/a She Who Cannot Be Contained), to be on the alert for digging, and to keep her double-collared on walks.
This was the first time these pups have been left at someone's home, rather than a doggie daycare place where there are lots of other dogs to distract them. They seemed perfectly happy and comfortable, trotting around in the backyard, sniffing everything, and we made a quiet getaway.
My brother and sister-in-law had booked a private room at a local winery. The food was very good, the wine was cold and plentiful, and the company was outstanding. My brother asked me to make the toast, which was a fun challenge, since I hadn't prepared. It seemed to go over well.
My mother seems somewhat overwhelmed by all the goings-on, but also seems very happy. She had presents for my own birthday, including this cute "librarian bookend".
When we picked up the dogs, they were (of course) thrilled to see us, but they were also relaxed and not stressed. The dogsitter said they were well-behaved and no escapes were attempted. At night they were completely wiped out from their big adventure.
I've said this many times in this blog: I didn't grow up in a particularly happy family. Certainly there were good times, and I do have many happy memories. But the head of the family was a tyrant and a bully, and also mentally ill (although there was no awareness of that at the time). His issues and behaviour controlled our lives in myriad ways. Family gatherings were generally riddled with anxiety, fear, and abuse. These fun, happy family gatherings, free of fear and anxiety, are something I've only experienced as an adult. To both love and like my family is something I am truly grateful for.