When Mom is out running errands or gardening or being busy during the afternoon, I’m usually napping. Butterfly stretches out next to me, and Cricket drapes herself on top of me so that I can barely breathe, and we all go to sleep in a puppy pile.
Cricket and Butterfly can be comfy and quiet for hours, but at the first sign of Grandma returning home, all hell breaks loose. Grandma’s here! We want things!
I think Cricket can hear the specific sound of Grandma parking the car in the lot outside my window, and she definitely knows the sound of Grandma opening the front door of our building. Butterfly is not an expert in these particular sounds, so she relies on Cricket to tell her what’s going on.
Cricket flies off the bed and barely touches the floor before she’s out in the hall and racing towards the door. Thank God for the rug in the hallway or else she would slide the whole way to Grandma.
Butterfly stands on the bed and barks at her fleeing sister, then she barks at all corners of the room, and crouches and barks, and circles and barks, and then she remembers that she has the doggy steps, and she runs down to the floor and out to the hall to catch up with Cricket, who is already crying and squealing at the top of her lungs.
Cricket stands straight up on her back feet and tries to jump up and kiss Grandma’s face. Butterfly tries to follow Cricket’s example and lifts her upper body off the ground with a heroic effort, and then flops back down, and tries again.
The crying and squealing and barking and hopping and flopping can go on for quite a while.
No matter how much I love my Mom, even at my best, I could never match the girls in the greeting department. Grandma brings new smells from outside, possible groceries, guilt scratchies for being gone so long, and the possibility of who knows what amazing things – she is Grandma after all!
Even my brother, who affected indifference when we were kids, would shuffle over to Mommy for a hug. He didn’t run down the stairs and almost topple her over, like I did, but he rested his head on her shoulder and let her hold him up. He still does this. Mommy hugs are a life long addiction.
I didn’t have this with my grandmothers. Neither of them was warm or huggable. I probably had to kiss them on the cheek or do the obligatory hug, but I’ve blocked it out.
My oldest nephew was a Grandma addict when he was little. When Grandma would get ready to leave at the end of a visit he would cry and beg for her to stay. He looked suspiciously like Cricket, hopping up and down, though without the furry jumpsuit.
He and his brothers and sister have taught themselves a more reserved greeting style when Grandma arrives at their house, except for the littlest one who can still be seen running down the block from the bus stop at the first sight of Grandma’s car in the distance.
We grow out of these greetings, either because we become blasé, or believe we should appear to be blasé, but dogs keep it up forever. Even in her old age, Cricket will be dragging her walker down the hall and croaking out a bark or two to greet Grandma at the door.
This is why we need dogs.