I have waited a few days to write this letter to you, because it is probably one of the most painful things I’ve had to write. However, this journal is about our journey to you. There are parts of that journey that are silly, and parts that are scary, and parts that are uplifting. And there are parts that are horribly sad and devastating. Parts that change everything about our lives and stop us in our tracks, making us look at everything that is important to us and cling to each other so that we can slowly move forward together.
Last Friday, our dear sweet Rylee passed away. Rylee was not just our dog, but she was the center of our family. I remember when I first met your Dad, and Rylee was so protective of him! They had been inseperable, like two peas in a pod, for over 6 years. The connection that the two of them had was amazing to see, and I felt so blessed to be included in their circle over the last 3 and a half years. Watching the two of them together was one of the first things that made me realize what an amazing dad my future husband would be. He was Rylee’s dad before he was your dad, and what a doting, kind, patient, fun-loving dad he has been! Watching him love her, take care of her, devote his every hour to making sure that she had what she needed…..their relationship taught me so much. I was honored to be a part of the family that they created, and as Rylee (and your Dad!) grew to trust me, I loved being Rylee’s mom and helping to take care of her. I didn’t grow up with dogs, but Rylee taught me everything I needed to know!
We want you to know everything about Rylee that made her so special. We so badly wanted you to meet her, and even though you didn’t have a chance to know her, she had a chance to know you. She was very much a “Daddy’s Girl”, but from the very first few weeks that I was pregnant with you, she would come to sit by me when I was on the couch, or lay by my side of the bed at night. She was my little protector. She would finish eating her dinner and come over to where I was resting on the couch. It was like she knew that you were in my belly, growing, getting ready to enter into our family. Rylee was expecting you Max. I have no doubt in my mind that she was talking to you while you were in my belly, telling you about our family, being your friend and your protector as you grew. We dreamed of the day that we could take you both to Chrissy Fields together, with you in the baby backpack and Rylee in the red wagon. She would have shown you how to dip your toes in the water, how to run in the sand, and how to make new friends wherever you went. Rylee loved making a mess of her food and water, and you two would have been the perfect pair at meal times. But she also liked to snuggle, and we had pictured both of you lying together on the floor, curled around each other. We had so many hopes for how the two of you would make yourselves at home in our new house. We wanted Rylee to be your dog too. We wanted her to know you as you grew.
As you grow up, we will teach you about Rylee and the lessons that we learned from her. Because of Rylee, we know so much more about how to love, how to care for someone beyond the depths of what we knew we were capable of. She was our first priority, the first noise we listened for every day and the last thing we thought about when we went to bed. She taught us how to be parents Max. Of the many gifts that she gave us, one of the biggest lessons that we learned from her was how to be the kind of mom and dad that you will need.
We miss Rylee so much. We hate the quiet that we hear in her absence. We expect to see her big tongue hanging out in a warm hello when we walk in the door. We know that she is in heaven, looking down on your last few weeks in my belly, panting in your ear and whispering all of the secrets of the world to you as you prepare to join us here on the outside. We will never truly say goodbye to her, because we know that she will be with us in your every smile, walking beside your stroller in spirit, and reminding us of what it means to be a family.