stability

hello, little ones.

it has been an incredibly tumultuous, difficult, amazing, stressful, and beautiful month.

the end of november, we were in a car accident. all four of us were in the car, none of us was hurt. your moms fairly new car was a total loss due to the extensive damage.

i was driving.

there are so many shoulds and wishes i made in the minutes and hours after the accident. fears of hurting the three of you, putting you in danger in the first place, and knowing it could have been avoided somehow. i did that to you. and i had a lot of trouble handling it. i never want you to hurt. i never want you to be afraid. i never want to be the cause of your pain in any form. and here i was, delivering it personally.

your mama is an absolute master of protecting you and ensuring you two are kept in your own special bubbles against the world. once i got elizas door open and then pulled ben from his car seat she ushered you two away to a calm, quiet place and gave you comfort, kindness, love, and stability in a very unstable situation. while i dealt with all the people and phone calls that come with this unfortunate issue, mama was painting a world of color and laughter with you despite her own shock and soreness. the place the three of you went was the front porch of a house not too far away, and the owners were home. they offered every comfort, begged mama to let you guys come in and relax but she wanted to keep you two safe, even in those moments.

your uncle alex, aunt katie, and aunt julia were all there within half an hour, ready to help. they helped us get you two into your uncles truck and got us home while mama and your aunts took an uber home together. in an absolutely unstable time your aunts, uncle, and mama all showed just how strong this family is and made sure we found stability immediately.

this happened exactly one week before we boarded a plane to Disney World.

its hard to imagine in the moments after the crash even thinking about vacation. panic sets in, and immediate concerns take front seat and vacation becomes extraneous. your mom would have none of it. hell or high water we had already paid 100% of the trip, booked airfare months prior, and had built everyone up for your first trip to see The Mouse.

mama took me aside that night, my face in her hands, and demanded i acknowledge everyone was ok, she was not angry with me, and that i didnt deserve what i was putting myself through. we deserved to keep our plans, to see the bright days ahead, and enjoy what we’ve worked so hard to make happen. we needed stability.

so, we did.

we spent one of the most exhausting and incredibly fulfilling weeks walking double digit miles around Disney World finding every last princess your little heart could name, Eliza. you met so many wonderful people in and out of costume, learned to ride a bus, held cinderellas glass slipper, and so so much more. and your mama and i got to fulfill a promise we made to ourselves almost two years ago.

when covid lockdowns began, mama was in the hospital to give birth to a premature ben. grandma and grandpap came down to be with you for the two weeks mama needed to be there, and once ben was able to come home we joined you. the next several months into the next year were fraught with worries, danger, loss, and limited access to everything. one day while browsing youtube, a video of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party flashed on the television and you asked for it to play. at this point you didnt really know who Mickey Mouse was – you were still in the throes of CoCoMelon and Disney princesses. when i say you were hooked from that moment, i mean you were hooked.

you watched that christmas parade from so many viewpoints so many times and never got enough. your mama and i agreed that the first chance we got, you were going to be there. you were going to see that parade, you were going to be in the moment, not watching someone else’s. so, in february 2022 mama and i felt the time was right, and we booked the trip specifically during Disney’s christmas celebration. you were going to be there, hell or high water. we owed it to you after the last almost three years you endured so graciously. you deserved it. with how special this trip was to us, we invited your grandma and grandpap to join us in that magic, to see your faces the moment you met your heroes during your favorite time of the year – Christmas.

this trip allowed us to give you a sense of normalcy you were far too young to appreciate or remember pre-covid. your brother had never seen that type of normalcy; covid protocol is all he’s ever known. the two of you were finally able to explore, learn new things, see people’s faces, be outside in a beautiful place, and do things every child deserves. we were able to provide not just the veil of normalcy, but true normalcy, true stability in your roles as kids.

when the week ended, we boarded our plane home, and returned home in the rental car insurance covered so we could get around.

eliza, your first words walking to our front door were,

” oh…we’re back..”

and were accompanied by a sigh and defeated tone that conveyed the utmost disappointment. in that moment, we understood just how magical that week was for you. that week was your highlight, your memories, your wish fulfilled. not the week before. not the three years prior. the environment your mama, your family provide even in the worst of times kept you and your brother in such a state of stable happiness and love. nothing got in the way of you experiencing, appreciating, and internalizing every musical note, colorful light bulb, every ride with grandma and grandpap, and the bubbles from your bubble wand toys.

because thats what families do – they quiet the seas, put out the flame, and shield you from the wind. when life happens and we feel like we’re falling all alone, they’re there. your family can be counted on no matter what because at some moment we all will need to receive that which we all so strongly seek to provide and maintain for one another: stability.

Advertisement

school

hello, little ones.

eliza, we’ve gotten word that you’ll be starting preschool this fall. this news is as joyous as it is heartbreaking- we’re so excited for this opportunity for you to grow and learn and experience new things and crestfallen that you’ve grown so much and learned so much already that you’re ready to expand beyond the walls of home.

growth never comes from the avoidance of opportunity – we have to seek out that which we want and face the possibility of success and failure. you will do both in your life just like everyone else, and that journey starts here. your autonomy and independence show through every day, eliza. you are your own girl, and will eventually be your own woman, your own professional, your own everything.

i just always wished you’d stay little forever, i guess. i love the person you’re becoming and absolutely am excited for who you develop into; this must be what parents always meant by ‘time flies by’. we’ve gotten to hoard your every laugh, giggle, and exploratory discovery until now. in following my own guidance to you, growth never happens with the avoidance of opportunity and i have to be ok with sharing you with the world.

the world will never deserve you or your brother but you deserve the world and everything beautiful it has to offer.

learning is the single most amazing and essential means to experience the world and expand who you are to come closer to who you want to be. school is the conduit by which we achieve who we want to be – be it college, trade school, apprenticeships, or otherwise. learn all you can, dont limit yourself to anything. we will support you in everything you do that enriches you, your life, and your dreams. i may not always agree on your direction or priorities- i will always respect them.

i was raised in a retroactive ‘i told you so’ sort of way that only guided once the damage had been done. when you come to a crossroads, a crevasse, or roadblock it will be my honor to walk you through, teach you how to manage, or carry you over it. should i do anything to ever damage that please hold me accountable and hold me to my promises.

all i will ever want is the best of everything for you and your brother – the best of who you are forged by the best opportunities provided by our best efforts to raise and guide you. i’ll never pretend to know i know better than you or negate your needs. i very much look forward to valuing your journey, your learning, and your hearts while earning the right to guide you with my actions and words.

we cannot teach or lead without listening; we cannot learn or listen without using our voice and teaching those around us what we need.

love.

freedom

hello, little ones

we’ve been having so much fun going on your first family vacation now that your dad’s been able to take time off instead of mama going it alone. we went to the beach – eliza you were a little mermaid just motoring around in the waves like the big girl you’ve always wanted to be. ben – you kicked and splashed like the little shark you are.

the highlights were very much the smiles you brought to your grandparents faces when ben, you spiked the snacks you didnt want into the sand before accepting the ones you did want, and eliza your love of digging pools in the sand and collecting mermaid treasure shells.

we saw a pirate dinner theater show that the two of you loved and proudly represented your being members of the crimson crew with flags and yelling your little hearts out with cannon fire and swords.

we got ice cream late one night and you guys ate it like it was the first time ever, delighting everyone around you. every moment the two of you got to experience something was the best moment of my life.

since we’ve come back, lots of things have changed. laws have been changed that will sadly impact you, eliza a lot more than your brother. women’s health is still such an abstract concept and for the first time in a hundred years females have less rights than their mothers. ben, though this change doesn’t impact you as a male directly, it’s our hope that you always see beyond your own needs to represent, respect, and fight to keep and expand the rights of those around you and the women in your life. we hope to live our lives to enrich and respect the lives, needs, and dreams of those around us especially those who might not have as ready access as you or me.

we’ve also had changes in access to vaccinations for covid-19, and actually today we’re taking both of you to get your first round of them after three years of fear. we’ve all contracted covid and gone through it once already, and the vaccine will help make sure any potential exposures might be limited in its impact into the future.

anything we do to protect ourselves we need to also do for those around us as soon as possible, in all things. never forget whether or not it impacts you directly we are all equal and deserve the same freedoms regardless. fight for those who have less or face losing equality and equity and trust those around you will also in kind. you two are peas in a pod and deserve all the best always.

neither of you deserve any less rights or opportunity than the other and will always complement the best parts of one another. respect everyone who respects you, and never stop fighting for the rights of all those around you. a society is only as good as it treats the least of its members just like we as people are only as good as we treat those around us without debit, demand, or expected repayment. we aren’t free until we are all free.

love.

office

hello, little ones.

im writing this to you from my office in the basement, which coincidentally has been my residence the last few days. unfortunately our luck ran out and myself, your uncle alex, and grandpap tested positive for covid this week. so far we’re all ok and the vaccines we’ve received have done their job to keep us safe from extreme symptoms. its impossibly hard to see you on video calls and have you literally eight feet away from me upstairs. mommy, grandma, your aunts, and yourselves are thankfully all still safe from the virus.

likely we contracted it at a family function or hockey game from whatever source, coming together to celebrate your grandpaps birthday. its unfortunate but a risk worth taking given all of our precautions and need for connection and celebration with family.

i spend a lot of time in here working, and love to leave when the day is over and come upstairs to you, your brother, and mama to have dinner and spend time playing before bed every night. its only been a few days but each and every moment im kept away from you hits with ferocity. in short time I’ll be able to rejoin you and truly explore your valentines bouquet brother and I got you, and smell mama’s peonies she got for valentines day. i want you to know what to expect from any man in your life when it comes to thoughtfulness and kindness, and just how much you deserve. being your dad has made me such a better person , always reminding me to be an example of the man (or woman) I hope to see you share your life with someday.

i feel slightly stupid having contracted the virus, but the knowledge I hadn’t infected you, brother, or mama gives me some comfort. seeing you still happy and healthy brings my heart so much joy, and i’d gladly go through this every day to keep you guys safe. not that i’d want to, but I also wouldn’t hesitate.

i love you.

zoo

hello, little ones.

eliza, you turned three this week. three years of being your father, your dad, and you my lovely, strong, hurricane-force daughter with the golden giggles and angelic voice. we celebrated in fine style for days on end, starting with your favorite foods to your favorite things, and your favorite people.

these days you’re really into dinosaurs and sharks. not just baby shark, but sharks. and i couldnt be more smitten. your love of science, biology, nature, and the world around you in general is so refreshing and intriguing. youre so curious and daring in many ways, and such a shy little girl in others.

for the first time in your life, we went to the zoo. with the ongoing pandemic it’s been far too risky but we wagered it wouldnt be too crowded and given your love of animals large and small, it was worth the risk. you got the opportunity to meet some of your all time favorite animals – elephants, giraffes, rhinos, lions, tigers (zebra cats?), gorillas, monkeys, fish, sharks, and butterflies.

watching you experience so many new things in one day gave me such a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale world of monotony; the routines weve fallen into, the precautions we’ve become accustomed to observing, all to keep you safe; but inadvertently keeps you secluded. seeing you be a kid and openly do what you wanted with a little direction and caution reminded me of exactly what parenthood and childhood were meant to be – exploration and experience.

your eyes glowed when we saw the first elephant, your words coming out like fireworks primed and wishing for their chance to fly. the lions and their resemblance to Simba left you awestruck with excitement, but the sharks- those evolutionary killing machines that elicit fear from all who encounter them, you absolutely adored. at times quietly singing Baby Shark to yourself, others reciting lines from the Little Mermaid, you soaked it all in and watched it cut through the water above you. your amazement at being so close to this creature was immediately apparent, with just a hint of daring; daring the creature to come after you the same way it came after Flounder and Ariel.

after, you and your brother took a well earned nap before the next stage of celebrations – cake and pizza from the pizza oven outside. the cake, adorned with fondant stars and a large crescent moon hit its mark dead on, bringing forth a chorus of your favorite song ‘ twinkle twinkle little star’ and wild amazement at the edible art being presented to you. I never could imagine so much love and excitement being contained within one little body, but eliza you truly redefined expectations.

right along side you every step of the way was the robin to your batman, the thunder to your lightning, the buzz to your woody, Ben. every moment of these days was reflected in his eyes and every sentiment shared and reiterated. the love you two share in pretty much everything is inspiring. every moment we celebrate you, eliza, ben is right there celebrating with you and wanting ever more to see you happy.

we’ve loved celebrating your special day, eliza, and having the opportunity to give you some reprieve from all these restrictions even as short as it might have been. this next year has so much promise and so many changes on the horizon for you – with my entire heart hoping and wishing you never lose that same wonderment for exploration and curiosity for the world around you. i hope and wish you never feel the weight of this world, any danger around you, and always always always show no fear in the presence of sharks.

privilege

Hello, Little Ones.

We’ve had incredible fortune these past six months since I’ve written to you- none of us have contracted covid-19, we all remain happy and healthy. We’ve lost loved ones, had fears of losing others, and continue to struggle with our new truth with this pandemic.

aside from the day to day pandemic worries, there’s been an ongoing struggle within our world for hundreds of years that is now hopefully starting to change- inequity, racism, and the weaponization of privilege.

now, privilege is not a bad thing in and of itself- mama and i have worked extremely hard to give you the lives we want you to have, and never have to suffer or go without like i had to. privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. privilege is something whose definition changes depending on your lot in life- meaning, if youre born rich, everything is a privilege; if youre born poor, having food every day and a warm bed is a privilege. if youre born homeless, having a night inside is a privilege. rather than seeing our privilege as a means to help one another, society itself often uses privilege as a way of establishing that ‘us versus them’ mentality we’ve discussed so many times before as toxic and hurtful.

its a fairly universal truth that those with privilege seek to keep it; those without privilege seek to earn it. this can create a power struggle within many established societies that demographically and statistically places different races on distinct sides of that struggle: non-white people and white people. this doesnt mean youre doomed to be hated or deserve less than what you have at all. what this means, is that as white people we inherently have privilege in certain ways- societal prejudices often dont apply by default the way they do with people of color. we statistically are far less likely to be accosted or killed by police, to be of lower income, and far more likely to finish school, go to college or trade school, and own a home. that’s without factoring in your work ethic, your willingness to earn- just statistically the scales are tipped that far in your favor as a white person by default.

now, that can be hard to grapple with. how can i, without ever doing anything to bring this inequity about, do anything to help change it? first off, people dont want charity. people dont want to be seen as needing a handout or given sympathy. people need a fair shot- if a white boy and a black boy are born rich or poor, the white boy is twice as likely as the black boy to remain rich, or simply end up not poor. this doesnt mean people of color are less capable or willing- what it means is accepting that hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, and systemic racism in america exists and has always existed in various forms. it is impossible for many people of color to break through these barriers given the tremendous obstacles placed in their path from top to bottom. what we can do as allies and people of this country is actively rise up and do something. protest against inequalities and inequities, support politicians whose message seeks to right these wrongs, and never be afraid to challenge the loud voice of the oppressors no matter how red or orange they may get in the face while spewing their garbage.

black boys are as many as six times more likely to be shot and killed by police, not factoring in that they’re also ten times as likely to be shot and killed as the result of violent crime in their communities. these statistics vary in ways but always turn out the same- systemically people of color are impacted by their environment, access to education, and lack of systemic inclusion in much different and unacceptably detrimental ways than white people.

racism isn’t always clear- there are many historical cases where it was open and apparent, but even more cases where racism exists due to indirect actions meant to impact people of color ‘indirectly’ but cannot be proven due to a ‘lack of intent’; meaning you cant prove that was the intended outcome, because the stated intended outcome was this other thing. terms like ‘gerrymandering’, ‘red tape’, and ‘white nationalism’ are often ways to describe systematic racism that cannot be clearly defined and proven as such, but have the same outcomes as direct racist actions regardless. when oppressors’ power is threatened, you see this in action- when voters choose to go against the oppressors, often laws are changed and more people marginalized to silence their voices and try to get power back to the oppressors. the oppressors seem like they have the power, but there’s power in numbers, and those of us who seek equality and equity for all have more numbers and there’s much more power in unity than ever will be in divisiveness.

above all, respect people for who they are and what they do. good people dont hate other people. good people dont seek to harm others because it benefits them. holding others back for your own gain is against all teachings of man and gods. if you have a voice, use it. if you have an opportunity, use it. if you have a chance to address it, do it. if you do it, do it well and always. if you breathe, you can love.

privilege isnt having guilt for having what you have- privilege is being thankful for what you have and earn, and using it to do what you can to help those around you and especially those worse off than you. we dont better ourselves by hurting others and keeping them down; we better our world by helping those in need move upward and forward. when in doubt, do more than you think you need.

all lives cant matter until black lives matter.

if you feel guilty for having privilege, youre not doing enough.

character matters

hello, little ones.

it’s been forever.

Ben, you’re now eight months old, and Eliza, you’re more than two years old. This year feels as though it’s been its own lifetime by now, and watching the two of you grow has made every moment of it so complete.

one aspect of this year marred by virus and global pandemic is our presidential election. for four years we’ve had a president who [arguably] ran on a platform of ‘us versus them’ and amplified the differences among peoples rather than unite them. A man whose life is riddled with racism, sexism, bigotry, and bullying. America elected him president in an unprecedented election in 2016 and has been a global embarrassment ever since. The idea of rational discussion and debate was thrown out the window, instead favoring fearmongering and making the truth whatever he wanted it to be.

In 2020, America showed its soul and defeated that man, electing a man with morals, principles, and honor. America showed the world we are not a nation of ‘us versus them’ but a nation of people capable of respecting one another’s differences and uniting under a common goal of decency, love, and caring for the least capable of us within society. America is not the land of the strong abusing the weak, the rich abusing their power, and the people propping up oligarchs; America is a land where everyone’s voice matters. Every single American who voted matters. Regardless of how they voted- in the mail, in person, or otherwise, every single voice matters. Record numbers of people voted this year to defeat bigoted simpletons incapable of seeing past their own interests. Millions of people turned out and stood in lines despite a pandemic to have their voice heard and push back against the tide of indecency and refused to be represented by this man.

some day, you’ll understand politics, and the many different viewpoints people have, and the hopefully respectable, evidence driven stances they have on our economy, social issues, etc. don’t rush into it, there’s no going back and it has been a mess. hopefully by the time you can read these and make your own political decisions America really will be a much better place to be.

No matter who you grow up to be, or how much you make, or where you go in this world, character matters.

mutual

hello, little ones.

the world has been so busy these last few months, and so have you. eliza, you continue to blow us away every day with your vocabulary, your smile, and your penchant for loving the world around you. ben, you are growing so fast- your little roars, your hand-eye coordination, and best of all your ability to sleep through the night are astounding.

 

the world is still battling covid-19, the same virus that originated in China as far as we know and traveled so fast because of how interconnected we are. it shows this sort of problem isn’t just a problem for others, its our problem as humans. this brings me to my thoughts for you two today – the word mutual. 

Webster’s dictionary defines mutual as:


mutual

1adirected by each toward the other or the others; mutual affection
bhaving the same feelings one for the other ‘they had long been mutual enemies’
cshared in common; ‘enjoying their mutual hobby’
d: joint; their mutual advantage
2characterized by intimacy; mutual contacts
3of or relating to a plan whereby the members of an organization share in the profits and expenses

     all in all, mutual means together, relying on each other. everyone is a member, but each person has responsibilities along with the benefits of working together. today, we are being asked to wear masks, not go out to stores or restaurants, and limit the people we talk to. It can be really hard, but wearing masks can dramatically reduce the risk of infection by 70%. That means when two people wear masks, even if one person is infected they have a much, much less chance of being infected thanks to mutual respect and protection of one another. Thats because each persons mask doesnt protect themselves- it protects the other person. when only one person wears a mask, both are still at high risk of infection. it takes mutual respect for one another for the reduction to work, and thankfully most people are doing it and are willing to protect one another.
     mutual means we give, and we take. we give back to those who give to us, and take what we need. we give respect, and receive respect in turn. the system only works if the exchange is mutual; theres no room to be selfish, no room for seeing yourself as more important than anyone else.
     so, when you see these days in videos or in history books, thats why so many people are wearing masks; not because our masks protect us from the virus itself, but because together our masks help everyone around us stay safe just in case we’re exposed. a mutual respect for one another to stay safe despite how uncomfortable it can be to wear a mask, especially in the summer. 
     there are lots of other things that are mutually beneficial to us and our people, like hand washing. Washing our hands gets all the stickies and dirties off our hands and helps us feel clean, but it also protects our people too. Underneath all those stickies and dirties can be germs and viruses we pick up from surfaces like door handles, shopping carts, money, etc. Not to worry, most of them are harmless. the rest we can usually take care of by washing our hands! good soap and warm water takes care of almost all of those germs and whatnot very effectively, protecting ourselves and our people around us. the same way wearing a mask works. if only one of us washes our hands, we’re both at risk.
     we love you, little ones. your dad just got tested for covid19 yesterday and will be tested again tomorrow to see if a recent exposure at work will impact you. im so sorry youre going through this, and can only hope you dont remember any of it. your futures are so bright, so warm, and so full of love.
     these days will end and well have gotten through it together, mutually.

socialization

hello, little ones.

one day youll read about this past month and the coming months and see a few words over and over again; infection, virus, and socialization are a few of the most common.

we talked a bit about infection, and viruses a bit before but we havent talked about socialization itself too much. Socialization is when we connect with others and share words, space, and ideas. currently were being asked to limit our socialization and stay away from one another as much as we can to keep the virus from spreading to people that can avoid it. its recommended we stay six feet (thats one whole daddy length) away from one another. of course you dont know that right now,so no one can blame you for wanting to cuddle in tight and give all the best kisses.

ben, you havent met your great grandparents, or aunts and uncles yet because of this, and eliza you havent hugged much of your family in a while but were getting along well. no one is sick, and were all working to keep it that way. grandma and grandpap are home due to schools being closed down to keep kids safe, gigi and papa are staying at home to keep themselves safe, and your uncle and aunts are doing their part to keep themselves safe and not get us sick by accident.

you dont understand any of this right now, and you dont need to. you have so many people that love you so much and do their best to keep you safe. mama is working to keep your house safe, and spending time with you guys so you dont miss out on anything. im working from home and doing some things at the crisis center a few nights a week, and grandma and pappap are working from our house too. no matter how difficult or scary things can seem youre never alone. not only do you have us, but you now have each other.

since the day you met ben, youve loved him so much, eliza. youve taken every chance to kiss, hug, touch, and ‘aww’ at him. you look at him with such adoration and unfettered love. he is so little, so helpless, and defenseless and you approach him with such tender care. weve now seen your first hug, your first kisses, and your first time saying hello to your little brother, and him learning you, your face, and your voice.

ive seen the first, now i cant wait for the next 9,999.

 

infectious

hello, little one.

throughout your life, people will use a lot of confusing terms in a lot of ways. terms like “killer” which inherently means awful and murderous, but is used to say something is really intriguing.

one of these such terms has really been used a lot lately, and i thought i would clarify with you and explain a little. the term ‘infectious’ has a very defined meaning but totally different uses depending on what it’s defining; a disease can be infectious the same way your smile is infectious- the same meaning but two very different uses. an infectious disease is very negative, whereas an infectious smile is so positive it can hardly be avoided.

right now, our world is going through a lot of the negative infectious words. something called a virus (another word for a sickness as far as were concerned) started somewhere far away but spread all across the world. sounds scary, right? it can be. when we look at it, this virus spread through people being with one another – people talking, hugging, playing, working, laughing, traveling; it spread because of how many people come together every day to accomplish goals and work together.

when people get sick from this virus, it can be really hard to breathe, and sometimes people need extra help to breathe. if they dont get that help they can sometimes die. the good news is all those good people who work together in hospitals are still working and taking care of the sick people to help them get better. people who arent sick are giving everyone else extra space to try and keep from getting sick. if we give everyone else extra space, the chances of the virus spreading goes way down. so far, mommy and daddy, you, grandma and grandpap, uncle alex and aunt katie and aunt julia are all safe and healthy.

you may learn about this years from now and as scary as things can sound, there are still happy things happening – right now mama is in the hospital keeping herself healthy so she can give birth to your baby brother. mama fell one night and he decided to come but hes a little too early so were waiting as long as we can before he comes to make sure hes healthy and strong like you. he’ll spend some time in the hospital before coming home so he can get stronger before meeting you and olive and franklin. until then, youre spending so much good time with grandma and grandpap at your house running, talking, and reading.

it can be scary but there are so many good things, so many good people, and so many sunny days we cant forget to enjoy- if we only look for the bad we will only see the bad. if we look for the good, we will see the good. if we cant see the good, be the good.

you are the light of my life, little one. you use your love to light the way for everyone around you, and your infectious smile spreads joy in every direction.

you give your mama so much strength every moment she sees you.

because i promised her a dachshund