Mottled coloring of black and white can occur at any age. It might merely bespeak of youth with interesting coloration, or just the natural morphing of color with the graying of age. But this mottling is on a tiny little dachshund, a fairly young one, with a pattern that reminds me of the common markings on harbor seals. Was this young, loving dog marked this way to show that she already has the wisdom that comes with age? Perhaps, I like to think so, anyway. I adore her, and this is how the term of endearment, “my little harbor seal” was born.
David teased me that I called his little dog Pepper by this name. He said that I had quite the imagination, but he could see my obvious love of his sleek seal-marked pup. One night, as we all relaxed after enjoying another of Gina’s savory meals, I asked how long did they think it would take before I could call my new husband (yet to be) by the loving term “my little harbor seal”? We all laughed at this proposition and decided that it was one phrase that might have to wait awhile to make sure it was understood properly. I looked down at my little harbor seal sleeping curled on the couch next to me, and with my eyes and heart full of love I made a silent wish for that future moment.
A few days later, I was working late at the kitchen table writing and furiously formatting documents for a print deadline. David came up the stairs with Pepper and teased me that he had brought my little harbor seal to keep me company. He opened the fridge to grab a bottle of wine. He poured a glass for himself and for Gina, and one for me too. As he handed me the glass of wine, he teased me again for calling his dachshund a little harbor seal, to which I playfully replied back with these words, “David, you will know the day that you really, really, really love your wife when you call her your little harbor seal”. He paused in his stride, like he had something to say but decided not to, then he vanished down the stairs with their glasses of wine.
The next morning when I went upstairs to snag a cup of tea, David had already left for work. Gina was still puttering around the kitchen and told me that I would never believe what he had said to her that morning. The light from the seeded glass on the new hutch had cast a mottled pattern of light on her as she walked from the bathroom, and David had called her his little harbor seal. I broke into a smile as deep as the ocean and as expansive as the stars, then I shared the conversation I had with David the night before.
A cozy feeling of the most incredible joy washed through me, and I asked her to come give me a hug for this was a very special day, and we should rejoice. I gazed at Gina in my wonderment of the impact our words can have on those we share them with, and I asked her if she realized just how much her husband truly loved her. For he had taken my words to heart after all, and not even twenty-four hours later he had used them to express his great love for her.
I have retold this story many times now, and everyone gleefully embraces my new term for the love of one’s life. So, the next time you can’t find your own words to express your feelings of true love, you can use mine. And in this charming way, touching one heart at a time, the world will learn about my silly-sweet term of endearment, the loving phrase, “my little harbor seal”.