When Mommy B and I first rescued Scarlett, it only took her a couple days or so to realize who her new masters were and to get into our routine. She quickly learned that I'm gone for 10 hours 5 days straight, then home for 2. Rinse. Repeat. Mommy B's schedule varied each week, but she didn't mind spending as much time as possible. But, after a couple weeks she learned that when she heard the garage door go up in the afternoon, Dad-E was home. She would always come running to the door as soon as I walked in with her tail wagging side-to-side so hard that it made her whole backside move. Those who have read "Marley & Me" will refer to it as "The Marley Mambo". Truth be told, Scarlett reminds us of Marley so much that we often call her Scarley - usually when she misbehaves...
I think that I've gotten so used to this greeting that I take it for granted now. I know that the day I come home and Scarlett isn't at my feet wagging her tail and jumping on me - will be a very sad day for me. Even when she jumps on me when my hands are full or I'm carrying Alli, I know she means well. She's such a happy dog all the time (I'm sure mostly due to her Golden Retriever nature), that it's hard to be mad at her for anything. Before we had Alli, I looked forward to this greeting every day when I came home from work and would reward Scarlett with her all-time favorite thing... a walk around the neighborhood. We both get exercise and she's happy - everybody wins.
Well, Alli has gotten to the age where she recognizes when Mommy B and I enter or leave a room. I'm not talking that she finally recognizes her parents - I'm talking her face lights up like a Christmas tree when one of us comes into the room to pick her up from a nap. There's a good side and a bad side to this though...
On the bad side, she realizes that we've left the room when we lay her down to go to sleep. If she's not "ready" to pass out, she'll lean up and look around and if no parents are present, she's not a happy camper. (Or just a camper as Jim Gaffigan says). Not sure if that's because she just loves us so darn much that she doesn't want to be away from us or what, but it can be stressful hearing her cry from her bed while we're in another part of the house. I know it's just a part of her growing up, but it takes everything I have to not run back into her room and pick her up sometimes.
On the good side - she reminds me of Scarlett when I come into her room. Typically when she wakes up now, she leans up (since she was probably sleeping on her belly) and peers around the room to see if anyone is there. 9 times out of 10, either Mommy B or I are standing right there because our "parent ears" heard her waking up. And my goodness, the smile that comes over her face when she sees me for the first time after waking up is something I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.
This morning was another good example. Mommy B had the day off so I got up and hit the shower. When I came out, Mommy B opened the bathroom door and had Alli in her arms. When Alli looked up and saw my face, she literally beamed. She smiled that big, jack-o-lantern-with-two-partial-teeth smile and excitedly wiggled around in her mommy's arms. It melted my heart to have to walk out the door later, but thinking of that smile is enough to get me through another day at the office.
While getting up at the crack of dawn every day of the week isn't the most fun thing in the world to do, seeing how happy Alli is to see us makes it worth it. Is she so happy to see us because Mommy B and I are such happy, positive people? Or are all 6-month-olds that happy all the time? My hope is that she is just a naturally happy girl and that it will continue for her entire life. I'm sure I share a fear with just about anyone that has ever been a parent - that one day that smile will go away. I know Scarlett's won't until she's no longer around... and I hope Alli's will be the same way.