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TONY

Sometimes, it’s an ocean-like wave of crazy love that roars in my ears, compelling me to smoosh your face with kisses. Sometimes, there is literal heartache as my chest tightens and sinks. I feel bittersweet tears of love and fear swelling in my eyes when I realize that Father Time is both crawling oh-so-slowly and way-too-fast.

Dearest Tony,

It’s been over nine years since we brought you into our home. This year, 2020, marks your 10th year as our “eldest child”. When I look at you and the pictures and videos we’ve taken through the years, I am overwhelmed by what I feel for you. Sometimes, it’s an ocean-like wave of crazy love that roars in my ears, compelling me to smoosh your face with kisses. Sometimes, there is literal heartache as my chest tightens and sinks. I feel bittersweet tears of love and fear swelling in my eyes when I realize that Father Time is both crawling oh-so-slowly and way-too-fast.

You love me completely, devotedly, and irrationally. You are such a simple creature; it is so easy to read your eyes, ear shakes, and tail wags. You have such an open and readable face—even when you’re trying to hide things you shouldn’t be eating! When you were barely 5 months old, you tried to protect me from the Nasty Bum Down the Street by planting your chubby little body in front of me. When you were 2 years old and I was pregnant with your baby sister, you never left my side even when I was puking my guts out or nursing a migraine I couldn’t take pain medication for. Or when we worked on a project from 7AM 'til 2AM, not once did you complain. You are my shadow, falling asleep and getting up every 30 minutes just so you could sleep by my feet.


But do you know how much I love you? My greatest fear is that you do not fully comprehend how completely, devotedly, and irrationally I love you. I am so afraid that you misunderstand what I say and do to you as harshness, irritation, or worse, indifference to your feelings. When I take you to the vet to be poked and prodded, do you understand that it’s because I don’t want you to get sick? Or when I scream at you to leave that tasty, smelly, cooked bone, do you understand that it’s because I don’t want you to get hurt? And that when I purposefully ignore your attention-seeking antics, it is because I don’t want you to become a typical asshole dog with no manners? Or when I dress you up in costumes then squish your face with glee—do you know it’s because I’m crazy in love with you?

My greatest fear is that you do not fully comprehend how completely, devotedly, and irrationally I love you. I am so afraid that you misunderstand what I say and do to you as harshness, irritation, or worse, indifference to your feelings.

“We have three kids: two golden retrievers and one human.” You will always be our eldest child. You are our daughter’s big brother. You are my husband’s son. You are Kelly’s trusted canine companion. You are my “baby boy.”


I hope and pray that you feel all the way to your bones how devoted I am to you. I hope and pray that you trust that I will be here for you 'til your last breath. I hope and pray that when you look at me, you think to yourself, “Mommy loves me. Mommy loves me so much.”

Love,

Mom

Letter from Tony's mom, Cybele Javier-Manlapaz

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