Oh, my little darling, Cooper.
I don’t know how it’s possible. I truly don’t. Today, you turn 3.
This birthday of yours is seriously making me feel like time is flashing before my very eyes. Wasn’t it just yesterday I tucked you into my sweater because the rainy October weather was too darn cold for your peach fuzz?
Even though you started as a foster, there was almost no question we were going to keep you. Why?
Well, there was this.
And, really, you just fit.
You trailed Emmett and Lucas around until you got big enough – and brave enough – to try clobbering them. There were a couple skirmishes along the way, but you three are brothers through and through.
Now, you guys are inseparable. You still trail them around, but you’ve formed such solid, unique relationships with both of them. Lucas is your buddy. Your pal. You two rip around the yard, wrestle, bitey-face, and just have FUN. Emmett, on the other hand, is the yin to your yang. You watch what he does in everything. Where he’s calm, you’re crazy! Where he’s diligent, you’re spastic. But you still watch his every move. You stick by him as much as you possibly can… whether he likes it or not!
You’ve presented us with some unique training challenges because, without your brothers, all your confidence evaporates. Our forays into agility went well, at least as far as learning what to do – you are one smart cookie – but you were so nervous the whole time.
You probably don’t remember – but I will never forget – how every single day, after I had my infusion at the start of cancer treatment, I curled up in bed. You stopped whatever you were doing, followed me up to bed, and laid at my feet. Sometimes you slept, but mostly you just watched. Cooper, you were my guardian. You made me feel warm and secure when I was sicker than sick. Someone would have to come and physically get you to go to the bathroom or to eat your dinner because you just wanted to be there with me.
That experience bonded us, little bean, more than I could have imagined. Now, you rarely (ever?) leave my side. Well, unless you need to chase a possum out of our yard…
Between you and me, Coop, let’s keep this one our little secret: I love that you’re my shadow. Honestly, there’s no greater feeling than knowing that you don’t want to be anywhere other than with me (and your brothers, too, obvi). You’re under my desk, under foot, outside the bathroom door (if you’re not quick enough to scoot in before I close the door), curled up with me in bed, on my lap while we read or watch TV. You’re my little Velcro-dog… and even though sometimes I seem annoyed that I can’t take three steps without tripping over you, I really do love it.
Anyway, today you turn 3, which I guess makes you a grown up! It’s sad to see those puppy years in the rearview, but I know you and I have a lot of good walks ahead of us. We have some serious trick training to do, too, which I know is your favorite. And, for the first time ever, you’re experiencing a little role reversal: We’re counting on you to help show Lucas how to be calm around Newt!
Happy, happy birthday, Cooper! I’d make you a steak… but you’re allergic!
I love you, little baby!