It wasn't until late last night while snuggled on the couch that it occurred to me that PadLo's birthday was sometime in October. I checked out ohpadlo.com and realized not only was I correct, but I was in the waning hours of his very birthday! Considering I was pushing the boundaries of my bedtime I promised we'd celebrate today--which we did: tacos and cupcakes all around!
PadLo came into our lives as gift to Ken from our family in California. (And created by a very talented friend of the family.) Ken and PadLo bonded immediately. It didn't take long for Ken to build the website, detailing his and PadLo's adventures. PadLo accompanied us to all of Ken's chemo and radiation appointments. Once after arriving at the Cancer Center, I followed Ken with our gear to a recliner in the Infusion Room where he'd receive his treatment. We passed another "regular" on the way who greeted Ken warmly (as they always did) and asked "where's your friend?" Without hesitating, Ken motioned to me and said "he's right there." "No," the man said, "not him." We immediately realized he was referring to PadLo--who had become a familiar plaid face around there. In my haste to pack up for a day there, he was the one thing that still sat on the counter, waiting to be picked up--and he was. As they set Ken up for infusion, I drove home as if I'd left a small child home alone in a room full of razor blades and loaded firearms. He meant so much to Ken and I wanted him to be snuggled tightly next to him as soon as humanly possible.
In many ways PadLo filled some of the gap that had been left after our Chow Chow Quantum died in late 2009. We imbued PadLo with many of the same mischievous traits that we inferred from Q's unique and intelligent personality. Ken had been Q's papa for the entire sixteen years of her life, and losing her was more than difficult. Last year PadLo was a welcome addition to our family, and a wonderful vessel for Ken's limitless imagination.
Likewise, PadLo symbolized Ken's spirit of heart, his bravery and his whimsy--which is what he continues to represent for me. I haven't yet worked up the gumption to create a "PadLo Adventure", but when I'm home he's usually never far from me. He sleeps with me on occasion and has accompanied me to my bereavement support group, several coffee shops and even a weekend spent at my folks. There are plenty more travels in PadLo's future.
He's a treasured friend, and sometimes I feel guilty because he doesn't get the kind of attention from me that he reveled in with Ken. But it's a perfect metaphor for how we learn to adapt and keep moving forward even though things are different--and remember to uphold family traditions (even if it is one day late!) No, I didn't make the cupcakes, but I did sing "Happy Birthday".
Whimsy still lives in my house.