• Mathura Hawley


Updated: Aug 2, 2021

I have no children. All I know of being a father, I have learned from Luke. "

Luke is curled and pushed up next to me in the comforter I just pulled from the dryer. He beat me to bed tonight after cuddling with me through a thunderstorm he didn’t seem to mind. I left all the doors and windows open while the wind blew through the yard, and he wasn’t afraid this time, watching out the doors with me and liking the sudden drop of temperature after a hot day. Earlier we took a ride to Petco where he is allowed inside, and we walked to the toy aisle where I chose the one that I knew he will like, a hedgehog with a loud squawk and rings wrapped around it he will be able to pull off. Then he smelled his way to the rawhides, where I grabbed his favorite ones before he jumped up on the checkout counter and waited for his treat. Our trips to this place are special to us, and he now gets excited once we pull into the parking lot. For the last two years, Luke and I have learned to care for each other, including a 3000 mile drive across country together to begin a new life. I try to take him everywhere. He does anything I ask. He has taught me to be calmer and less reactive as I have seen how deeply my anxiety affects him. He has taught me forgiveness, and, even when I have neglected him for reasons of my own weakness or selfishness, he comes to me and pushes his warm body against me after. When I am sad, or cry, or sometimes relive the recent past in sobs of pain or loneliness, he gets up from wherever he is, and finds me, his ears back and his paw out. Often he climbs up onto my shoulders and holds me tightly. This is the connection we share. I have no children. All I know of being a father, I have learned from Luke. What I know of true responsibility - doing something you wouldn’t have to do for yourself for someone you love — I learned from caring for Luke. He has taught me how to forgive, with his big brown eyes and his unconditional kisses. He has taught me to get up and keep going when I would have given up because his spirit only knows forward. People have come and gone from our life, professing deep and eternal love to us they did not mean. It’s fine. In the end, it is just the two of us. When I see his picture on my phone, my heart swells. When I see his face watching out the window as I walk up the stone path to my front door after work each evening, I get a lump in my throat. It is the best relationship I have ever had. Luke is my son. And on this day, and every day, I am his father.

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