Love goes beyond the label

By Mir
October 22, 2009

I’ve had labels on the brain, this week. Go figure.

The irony is that we all seem to believe that labels = organization, and when I married Otto we gained a fancy electronic labelmaker that the kids seem to think is some wondrous hybrid of the Wii and the circus. There is never a happier day than when Otto lets them take out the labelmaker and label something.

So I’ve been noticing our labels on things. Bread flour. Wrenches. 2007 Taxes. They’re everywhere. They’re usually very illustrative. They add order to our world. They’re supposed to make things make sense.

I’m cute when I get all literal and ponderous over simple stuff, aren’t I?

When Licorice came home, the kids begged to make a label for her crate. “Why?” I asked them. “It’s not like we have OTHER dogs in here—or like dogs can read—or that we might forget that crate’s her special space and accidentally, I don’t know, put groceries in there.”

But they insisted, and there’s no harm in it, so I relented.

Chickadee typed and printed and now this is where Licorice sleeps:


It tickles me every morning when I let her out, and every night when I put her to bed. It’s not just Licorice’s crate, it’s LICORICE LAND! Destination of all things Licorice! A kingdom where the Milkbones flow freely and there are always plates to be licked and squirrels to chase!

And yet, despite the (humorous) label, there’s so much it doesn’t say.

It doesn’t tell you that inside the crate, Licorice curls up with the fuzzy Elmo blankie Chickadee loved as a toddler, that I couldn’t quite bear to part with even after she’d long since outgrown it. Or that she she brought it downstairs and got nose-to-nose with the dog and told her to take good care of it.

It doesn’t tell you that Otto still cracks jokes about how we need to get rid of one of the kids because the deal was only two small creatures in the house at a time, but when he thinks no one is looking, he picks her up and rubs her ears.

It doesn’t tell you that I often skip the after-lunch romp outside with the dog so that I can make gosh-I’m-so-busy eyebrows at Monkey when he gets home from school and beg him to please “do me a favor” and “just take the dog for a short walk, she’s dying to go out and I haven’t had time.” It doesn’t tell you how he gently leans down and attaches her leash, then squares his shoulders to this important task, and marches up the driveway looking happier and more self-confident than he’s been in months.

Viva la Licorice Land! If it wasn’t so corny, I’d totally make a second label that reads, “So much more than a label” and slap it on there, too.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Label it whatever you like, but I still believe love is the question, the answer, and the reason.


  1. dad

    You could mass produce labels that simply state “loved” and plaster to them on everyone and to everything in your house!

    Well, maybe not the itinerent palmetto bug.

  2. Nicki

    You always know how to end a post. And it’s so true…love is the question, the answer, and the reason.

    Happy Love Thursday, Mir! This (as always) is just what I needed.

  3. Megan

    Licorice Land: The Dogtor is In.

    It’s okay, I totally rolled my eyes at myself for the terrible pun. Really. But, for truth, there is magic in furry medicine isn’t there? I know it works for me!

  4. Jamie


  5. Patricia

    “It doesn’t tell you that Otto still cracks jokes about how we need to get rid of one of the kids because the deal was only two small creature in the house at a time, but when he thinks no one is looking, he picks her up and rubs her ears.”

    How does Chickadee feel about being picked up and having her ears rubbed?

  6. Sarahtoo

    I love Love Thursday. The image of Monkey squaring his shoulders to do this important task made me tear up. Awesome.

  7. Ann from Minnesota

    Very nice! I love sharing my life with a dog who is both brilliant and dumb as a post. It always keeps me guessing which one will show up at any given time. However, the unconditional love is priceless…

  8. Dave

    Just… be careful with that thing. You’ll know you’re in trouble when you start to feel the urge to label labels.

  9. MomCat

    Label me content. Nice posting!

  10. elaine

    i gotta tell you, this post made my day.

  11. Anna Marie

    Thanks for this – and I always love reading your dad’s comments. He knows how to get to the heart of things!

  12. Beth R

    Labels DO have their place – and I’d say labeling Licorice Land is one of them!

    Hugs to all the mammals in the house!

  13. Katie in MA

    Awwwww! If you won’t add a label tagline that says “More than just a label,” then would you consider adding a pre-label label that says “Viva la”?

    (And wow, did I just make a mess of my punctuation.)

  14. bob

    so then – how appropriate that the very 1st global TV broadcast was of the Beatles performing “All You Need Is Love”.

  15. Randi

    Awww, how awesome was this! So cute – Licorice Land. My house would be “The animals have taken over world”!

  16. Patty @ Why Not Start Now?

    Hi – Just discovered your site. Lovely writing. Just wonderful how you captured those moments between your family and Licorice. Thanks!

  17. Rebecca


  18. Heather

    aw :)

  19. Jane

    Thanks for the reminder of things small. Also, I love that your Dad got the first comment.

  20. susie

    Licorice is one lucky dog!

  21. Chris

    You always make my awful days awesome! For this I thank you!!!

  22. Karen

    And you know…a dog can be wonderful therapy for Aspergers. But you probably already knew that cause you’re smart like that!

  23. Libby

    This is so sweet Mir! I am just catching up and I just wanted to say that I think you are a great Mother, Monkey is a great Monkey and that I know that he will get better very soon. Add me to the Monkey fan club!

  24. Debbi

    very sweet :-) As always!

  25. Scottsdale Girl

    Just when I think I have this magnificent vocabulary….I had to go look up “itinerent”. Thanks for giving me my one new thing to learn today “Dad”!

    and awwwwwwww…

  26. Shauna

    I have to add mine too: Awwwwwww :)

    When my husband, John & I got our first dog, we could hardly bear to leave the house for too long because heaven forbid Mickey would be there too long & HOW CAN YOU LEAVE A PUPPY FOR VERY LONG when you might miss some cute?! And then I begged and cajoled and told my husband that we NEEDED another dog because it wasn’t fair to poor Mickey because the little guy LOVED dogs and, and, and.

    And John said “No.”

    And then we got our second dog, Kayloo, & the way John melts when he is around her makes picking up all the extra crap (and oh is there extra) worth it.

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