Sitting here with the glow of the tree on my face while fighting tears. Most would say that it’s the most wonderful time of the year and indeed it used to be until May. Christmas 1997 I met my little furry sister. Her name, Mitzi, suited her and as a very feisty toy poodle, she wasn’t too happy about the idea that I, the only child, would be any more spoiled than she would. There started the sibling rivalry that made me a much more playful child and made her a ridiculously intelligent and picky canine. Each summer, we played tag in the backyard and she even came to get me when she heard the ice cream truck on the way, well before I heard him so that we would be ready, money in hand, when he turned the corner. In the winter, we played Barbies together and watched movies, arguing over the remote since if she liked the show she would take it and hide it. As all siblings do, we had our moments where she would chase me around the house snarling because I “accidentally” threw her smelly bone away, oh and the time she peed in my bed because I wouldn’t share my chocolate with her, and we can’t forget the time that she stole my dinner because I was teasing her with it. We grew older together and she eventually recognized that I wasn’t a little kid anymore. She hated riding in the car with me driving since of course in her mind that was Mommy’s job and me taking care of her was strange, but when I went off to college everything changed.
Mitzi went from being a cool little sister to one of the most important people in my life. As the first one I saw every time I came home from school, she made home well, home. As my classes got more intense and I had to spend more time at home, she found my speed-dial button and would call me to let me know she thought it was time for me to come home. She waited for me. I called home the Saturday before Memorial Day to let my mom know that I would be coming home for the holiday only to be told that Mitzi was refusing to eat. In her case this was a really bad sign. She eats everything! I came right home and she barked until I picked her up and there she stayed in my arms for three days straight. I made her dog food smoothies and she would drink them a little but we knew something was up. She died the third day in my arms and now in her favorite seat under the tree, she’s missing. As I make my way to the couch to watch the Grinch, I’m finding myself asking why the world must change so… They say the first holiday season is the hardest so I guess we shall see. Happy Holidays everyone and remember to spend time with those that matter most. They may not be here this time next year.