Ah, the holidaze. Time for the beautiful cards, postcards and letters telling friends and family how wonderful Madeline and Jackson are. Winsome photos of beautiful couples and lovely families show up in those not-so-personal envelopes from Shutterfly and Tiny Prints. I secretly LOATHED receiving those envelopes from 2003-2007.
Obviously, those were the years we wanted children, but they were not forthcoming.
In 2004, we decided to take a photo with our surrogate child: our Corgi. We adopted our Corgi as a puppy in 2003, when we first moved back from London.
I am not a very religious person, although I did try throughout my childhood to be so. I grew up in a conservative church which preached that girls who were the victims at the age of 9 of incest should still become mothers. I was taught that women who had been raped, women who were going to die if they bore a child should still bear that child, even if they both died. I fought with my pastor about these policies: I am proud I did so. But I was taught that my attitude was wrong, evil even. It turned me off organized religion, probably forever.
But I believe in one thing and that is the power of luck. I think that holiday cards tempt fate for me. I will never, ever send one out.
Why is this?
Well, in 2004, after I had suffered from and recovered from a debilitating illness, and when we were trying very hard to make a baby and it wasn’t happening, we decided to send out a card of us and our dog. Our Corgi, which we had bought from a reputable breeder and assiduously trained at the Humane Society. This dog was our child, we thought. Our surrogate child, in lieu of the human baby we were unable to produce. We took a lovely picture of our “family”.
Luck did not enjoy our family card. As soon as it was sent, I noticed an unusual presence of black crows in our back yard. I had never seen any before 2004, and suddenly I saw them everywhere and that continued until 2006. Also, after that card was sent, our dog changed his behavior. Before a cuddly and friendly and reassuring presence, our beloved dog started growling at us and our extended family. It grew worse and worse until he bit my brother-in-law hard enough to break his skin. I took him to several behaviorists until one told us that our dog was the most aggressive dog she’d ever seen in her long career. She told me there was no way that he was going to change, he was only to get worse until he caused serious harm.
I did not accept her answer. Our dog was the one bright light in my life: to have him become dangerous was inconceivable. I asked for all her advice, and gave him lots of love and discipline as recommended: training him (again) to heel on walks, that I was his master by treat-training him. Helping our dog became my whole life.
Until the day Darcy went out of town and the dog attacked me. As part of the training, I could never allow him to enter a door before me because then he would know he was the Alpha Dog. Well, I was on the phone, and not paying attention that he was trailing me down the hallway. He sprinted ahead of me, entered a door before me, and attacked me. His form of attack was to relentlessly bite my ankles until I collapsed onto the floor, and then he began attacking my stomach, by biting me. It was a ruthless attack. I somehow dropped the phone, got up, ran into the pantry and slammed the door behind me. I then used the phone in there to call the breeder, who took the attack very seriously.
She came that day (drove from several hours away) to assess the situation. I stayed in the pantry until she arrived. Once she arrived, she decided that the dog was aggressive beyond what a normal person could handle. She took away the dog.
And there began a new sort of hell. In the addition to my infertility, I was also a failure to my dog, whom I loved more than most things on earth.
And the crows circled my back yard, cawing, triumphant. They proclaimed my ineptitude. I wanted a dog I could love. Not even that was going to be allowed.
And I crawled into the fetal position. And stayed there for a weekend.
It was all because of that holiday card. Never again would I want to proclaim any type of domestic bliss of any kind. Because the black crows of doom still linger. This morning, early, I saw them landing one by one, in our back yard.
I grabbed the broom out of our pantry and I chased those crows away. Never again will I let them linger on my property, cawing that I don’t deserve happiness. But nor will I flaunt any happiness. Because if I do, they will circle our home, overjoyed at my hubris.
Do you believe in bad luck? Do you think that flaunting happiness can lead to hubris?