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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: All I Asked For Was a Dog
By Debbie Roppolo


When I was a teenager, I had my life planned out. I’d drive a sports car, be a vet, and own my own horse racing stable. I never planned to be a mother.

Mama thought differently. “Embrace motherhood,” she’d say, ‘it’s your destiny and it’s so rewarding.”

I disagreed. I didn’t believe waking up all hours of the night and wearing a permanent badge of spit-up made me a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize. And I never saw game show contestants elated over a year’s supply of dirty diapers.

If given the choice, I’d have chosen a puppy over a kid any day. Dogs didn’t need to be burped after every meal (ever try to throw a Doberman over your shoulder?), dressed in fancy clothes (I tried that once and my Husky ran off wearing my undies), and could be put outside when they were unruly.

Children were just noisy small people who got their way by throwing fits in public. I tried that once when I was twenty-one and a posh, member’s only club denied me access. The only thing I gained by screaming and rolling around on the ground was dirty clothes and a brief stint in the back of a patrol car.

I married when I was twenty-two. One by one, my childhood dreams disappeared. I drove a Nissan Sentra, my job was at a local clothing store, and the closest thing I got to a racetrack was watching local children ride the plastic horses outside the Kroger supermarket.

After only a month of marriage, I felt empty and unsettled. There had to be more to life than scrubbing toilets and yelling at TV talk show hosts. I asked my husband Joe for a puppy, believing that would fill the void. Something must have been lost in translation because three months later I was pregnant and still dogless.

I didn’t radiate beauty like most soon to be mothers. Morning sickness left me feeling like road kill, and the toilet and I became best friends.

Month by month, I watched, horrified, as my size seven body began to resemble a cow’s. By the third trimester, I’d given up on ever seeing my feet again. For all I knew, they’d run away (in protest of the weight gain) and I was left to traipse around on two aching nubs.

Finally, the day arrived when our precious son, Travis was born. His arm wavering like an overcooked noodle, he reached out his tiny hand, touching my cheek and my heart. I blinked back tears as I stared at the bubble gum-pink colored bundle cradled in my arms. He looked like ET’s cousin, but I adored him. Kids weren’t so bad after all.

Eight years after Travis was born, I again felt unsettled and empty, and again I asked Joe for a puppy. Nine months later, I had my second son, Cameron.

Cameron is a preschooler now and some of his greatest joys are chasing cars and trying to eat kibble spilled on supermarket floors. At least this time I got a little closer to getting what I asked for.

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This article has been read 701 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jason Swiney05/01/08
Your title caught my eye, and your words kept me the rest of the way. I actually read it twice. Wonderful work, I loved it. Great humor and perfect ending.
Shirley McClay 05/01/08
Too funny! I loved the last part about getting closer to what you asked for. There were some spots that you could choose a different/word phrase rather than repeating what you have already used.. ie... i tried that once. I think my favorite was the third to last paragraph.. LOL funny! Nice job.
Sheri Gordon05/01/08
Love the title, and the voice. I could totally relate to your MC. Nice job with the topic.
Beth LaBuff 05/01/08
Your title in relation to your entry is great! This is so humorous. I love "wearing a permanent badge of spitup" and "three months later I was pregnant and still dogless." Then your words are beautiful, "he reached out his tiny hand, touching my cheek and my heart." This was so enjoyable to read.
Betsy Markman05/01/08
Wonderful! I especially loved the images of the Doberman thrown over the shoulder, and the husky in underpants.
Tesiri Moweta05/02/08
Really loved this story,it made me laugh!Well done.
Dolores Stohler05/04/08
This is cute and funny. Glad you finally came to realize how precious these little ones are. Give you a hint--grandkids are the treasures of old age. Look forward to this stage when you can just laugh at everything they do and enjoy them without rancor. It's wonderful!
c clemons05/04/08
The humor of this piece finally came out in the last sentence, before that it was more like a tirade against children,(which I'm sure you didn't mean). The writing was good so keep doing it.
Emily Gibson05/04/08
Very enjoyable read and such a great sense of humor you show!
Phyllis Inniss05/05/08
Will you still ask for a dog? I like the humour which we might have missed if you had got your dog. Well done.
Tessy Fuller05/06/08
Thank you for the refreshing, real-life look into motherhood. I laughed out loud when I read "permanent badge of spit-up" So many entries have been nice and sweet memoirs, which have their place, but for me, who is a fairly young mother, I wanted to cheer outloud and say - Yes, motherhood is hardwork, a definite blessing, but I am glad someone recognized my permanent badge of spit-up.
Holly Westefeld05/09/08
Thank you, Debbie, for this fun story with lots of chuckles.