-(3434)-(809)-(7483)-(1457) -(14632) -(1363)-(913)-(1438)-(451)-(1065)-(47672) -(912)-(14524) -(4268)-(17799)-(1338)-(13644)-(11121)-(55)-(373)-(8427)-(374)-(1642)-(23702)-(16968)-(1700)-(12668)-(24684)-(15423)-(506)-(11852) -(3308)-(5571)-(1312)-(7869)-(5454)-(1369)-(2801)-(97182)-(8706)-(18388)-(3217)-(10668) -(299)-(6455)-(42831)-(4793)-(5050)-(2929)-(1568)-(3942)-(17015)-(26596)-(22929)-(12095)-(9961)-(8441)-(4623)-(12629)-(1492) -(1748)

Dalmatian in the next block, has she?

Is Jenny, anyway? She hasnt run off with that

More wrestling on the floor? And where exactly

What happened to the morning walks? Why no

Life wasnt completely bleak for Marley. On the

bright side, I had quickly reverted to my premar-

riage (read: slovenly) lifestyle. By the power

vested in me as the only adult in the house, I sus-

pended the Married Couple Domesticity Act and

proclaimed the once banished Bachelor Rules to

be the law of the land. While Jenny was in the

hospital, shirts would be worn twice, even three

times, barring obvious mustard stains, between

washes; milk could be drunk directly from the

John Grogan

carton, and toilet seats would remain in the up-

right position unless being sat on. Much to Mar-

leys delight, I instituted a 24/7 open-door policy

for the bathroom. After all, it was just us guys.

This gave Marley yet a new opportunity for close-

ness in a confined space. From there, it only made

sense to let him start drinking from the bathtub

tap. Jenny would have been appalled, but the way

I saw it, it sure beat the toilet. Now that the Seat-

Up Policy was firmly in place (and thus, by defini-

tion, the Lid-Up Policy, too), I needed to offer

Marley a viable alternative to that attractive

porcelain pool of water just begging him to play

submarine with his snout.

I got into the habit of turning the bathtub

faucet on at a trickle while I was in the bathroom

so Marley could lap up some cool, fresh water.

The dog could not have been more thrilled had I

built him an exact replica of Splash Mountain. He

would twist his head up under the faucet and lap

away, tail banging the sink behind him. His thirst

had no bounds, and I became convinced he had

been a camel in an earlier life. I soon realized I had

created a bathtub monster; pretty soon Marley be-

gan going into the bathroom alone without me and

standing there, staring forlornly at the faucet,

licking at it for any lingering drop, flicking the

drain knob with his nose until I couldnt stand it

Marley & Me

any longer and would come in and turn it on for

him. Suddenly the water in his bowl was somehow

beneath him.

The next step on our descent into barbarity

came when I was showering. Marley figured out

he could shove his head past the shower curtain

and get not just a trickle but a whole waterfall. Id

be lathering up and without warning his big tawny

head would pop in and hed begin lapping at the

shower spray. Just dont tell Mom, I said.

I tried to fool Jenny into thinking I had every-

thing effortlessly under control. Oh, were totally

fine, I told her, and then, turning to Patrick, I

would add, arent we, partner? To which he

would give his standard reply: Dada! and then,

pointing at the ceiling fan: Fannnnn! She knew

better. One day when I arrived with Patrick for

our daily visit, she stared at us in disbelief and

asked, What in Gods name did you do to him?

What do you mean, what did I do to him? I

replied. Hes great. Youre great, arent you?

Dada! Fannnn!

His outfit, she said. How on earth

Only then did I see. Something was amiss with

Patricks snap-on one-piece, or onesie as we

manly dads like to call it. His chubby thighs, I now

realized, were squeezed into the armholes, which

were so tight they must have been cutting off his

John Grogan

circulation. The collared neck hung between his

legs like an udder. Up top, Patricks head stuck

out through the unsnapped crotch, and his arms

were lost somewhere in the billowing pant legs. It

was quite a look.

You goof, she said. Youve got it on him up-

side down.

Thats your opinion, I said.

But the game was up. Jenny began working the

phone from her hospital bed, and a couple of days

later my sweet, dear aunt Anita, a retired nurse

who had come to America from Ireland as a

teenager and now lived across the state from us,

magically appeared, suitcase in hand, and cheer-

fully went about restoring order. The Bachelor

Rules were history.

When her doctors finally let Jenny come home, it

was with the strictest of orders. If she wanted to

deliver a healthy baby, she was to remain in bed, as

still as possible. The only time she was allowed on

her feet was to go to the bathroom. She could take

one quick shower a day, then back into bed. No

cooking, no changing diapers, no walking out for

the mail, no lifting anything heavier than a

toothbrushand that meant her baby, a stipula-

tion that nearly killed her. Complete bed rest, no

Marley & Me

cheating. Jennys doctors had successfully shut

down the early labor; their goal now was to keep it

shut down for the next twelve weeks minimum.

By then the baby would be thirty-five weeks

along, still a little puny but fully developed and

able to meet the outside world on its own terms.

That meant keeping Jenny as still as a glacier. Aunt

Anita, bless her charitable soul, settled in for the

long haul. Marley was tickled to have a new play-

mate. Pretty soon he had Aunt Anita trained, too,

to turn on the bathtub faucet for him.

A hospital technician came to our home and in-

serted a catheter into Jennys thigh; this she at-

tached to a small battery-powered pump that

strapped to Jennys leg and delivered a continuous

trickle of labor-inhibiting drugs into her blood-

stream. As if that werent enough, she rigged

Jenny with a monitoring system that looked like a

torture devicean oversized suction cup attached

to a tangle of wires that hooked into the tele-

phone. The suction cup attached to Jennys belly

with an elastic band and registered the babys

heartbeat and any contractions, sending them via

phone line three times a day to a nurse who

watched for the first hint of trouble. I ran down to

the bookstore and returned with a small fortune in

reading materials, which Jenny devoured in the

first three days. She was trying to keep her spirits

John Grogan

up, but the boredom, the tedium, the hourly un-

certainty about the health of her unborn child,

were conspiring to drag her down. Worst of all,

she was a mother with a fifteen-month-old son

whom she was not allowed to lift, to run to, to feed

when he was hungry, to bathe when he was dirty,

to scoop up and kiss when he was sad. I would

drop him on top of her on the bed, where he

would pull her hair and stick his fingers into her

mouth. Hed point to the whirling paddles above

the bed, and say, Mama! Fannnnn! It made her

smile, but it wasnt the same. She was slowly going


Her constant companion through it all, of

course, was Marley. He set up camp on the floor

beside her, surrounding himself with a wide as-

sortment of chew toys and rawhide bones just in

case Jenny changed her mind and decided to jump

out of bed and engage in a little spur-of-the-

moment tug-of-war. There he held vigil, day and

night. I would come home from work and find

Aunt Anita in the kitchen cooking dinner, Patrick

in his bouncy seat beside her. Then I would walk

into the bedroom to find Marley standing beside

the bed, chin on the mattress, tail wagging, nose

nuzzled into Jennys neck as she read or snoozed

or merely stared at the ceiling, her arm draped

over his back. I marked off each day on the calen-

Marley & Me

dar to help her track her progress, but it only

served as a reminder of how slowly each minute,

each hour, passed. Some people are content to

spend their lives in idle recline; Jenny was not one

of them. She was born to bustle, and the forced

idleness dragged her down by imperceptible de-

grees, a little more each day. She was like a sailor

caught in the doldrums, waiting with increasing

desperation for the faintest hint of a breeze to fill

the sails and let the journey continue. I tried to be

encouraging, saying things like A year from now

were going to look back on this and laugh, but I

could tell part of her was slipping from me. Some

days her eyes were very far away.

When Jenny had a full month of bed rest still to

go, Aunt Anita packed her suitcase and kissed us

good-bye. She had stayed as long as she could, in

fact extending her visit several times, but she had

a husband at home who she only half jokingly

fretted was quite possibly turning feral as he sur-

vived alone on TV dinners and ESPN. Once again,

we were on our own.

I did my best to keep the ship afloat, rising at

dawn to bathe and dress Patrick, feed him oatmeal

and puréed carrots, and take him and Marley for

at least a short walk. Then I would drop Patrick at

John Grogan

Sandys house for the day while I worked, picking

him up again in the evening. I would come home

on my lunch hour to make Jenny her lunch, bring

her the mailthe highlight of her daythrow

sticks to Marley, and straighten up the house,

which was slowly taking on a patina of neglect.

The grass went uncut, the laundry unwashed, and

the screen on the back porch remained unrepaired

after Marley crashed through it, cartoon-style, in

pursuit of a squirrel. For weeks the shredded

screen flapped in the breeze, becoming a de facto

doggie door that allowed Marley to come and go as

he pleased between the backyard and house dur-

ing the long hours home alone with the bedridden

Jenny. Im going to fix it, I promised her. Its

on the list. But I could see dismay in her eyes. It

took all of her self-control not to jump out of bed

and whip her home back into shape. I grocery-

shopped after Patrick was asleep for the night,

sometimes walking the aisles at midnight. We sur-

vived on carry-outs, Cheerios, and pots of pasta.

The journal I had faithfully kept for years

abruptly went silent. There was simply no time

and less energy. In the last brief entry, I wrote

only: Life is a little overwhelming right now.

Then one day, as we approached Jennys thirty-

fifth week of pregnancy, the hospital technician

arrived at our door and said, Congratulations,

Marley & Me

girl, youve made it. Youre free again. She un-

hooked the medicine pump, removed the catheter,

packed up the fetal monitor, and went over the

doctors written orders. Jenny was free to return

to her regular lifestyle. No restrictions. No more

medications. We could even have sex again. The

baby was fully viable now. Labor would come

when it would come. Have fun, she said. You

deserve it.

Jenny tossed Patrick over her head, romped

with Marley in the backyard, tore into the house-

work. That night we celebrated by going out for

Indian food and catching a show at a local comedy

club. The next day the three of us continued the

festivities by having lunch at a Greek restaurant.

Before the gyros ever made it to our table, how-

ever, Jenny was in full-blown labor. The cramps

had begun the night before as she ate curried

lamb, but she had ignored them. She wasnt going

to let a few contractions interrupt her hard-earned

night on the town. Now each contraction nearly

doubled her over. We raced home, where Sandy

was on standby to take Patrick and keep an eye on

Marley. Jenny waited in the car, puffing her way

through the pain with sharp, shallow breaths as I

grabbed her overnight bag. By the time we got to

the hospital and checked into a room, Jenny was

dilated to seven centimeters. Less than an hour

John Grogan

later, I held our new son in my arms. Jenny

counted his fingers and toes. His eyes were open

and alert, his cheeks blushed.

You did it, Dr. Sherman declared. Hes


Conor Richard Grogan, five pounds and thir-

teen ounces, was born October 10, 1993. I was so

happy I barely gave a second thought to the cruel

irony that for this pregnancy we had rated one of

the luxury suites but had hardly a moment to en-

joy it. If the delivery had been any quicker, Jenny

would have given birth in the parking lot of the

Texaco station. I hadnt even had time to stretch

out on the Dad Couch.

Considering what we had been through to bring

him safely into this world, we thought the birth of

our son was big newsbut not so big that the lo-

cal news media would turn out for it. Below our

window, though, a crush of television news trucks

gathered in the parking lot, their satellite dishes

poking into the sky. I could see reporters with mi-

crophones doing their stand-ups in front of the

cameras. Hey, honey, I said, the paparazzi

have turned out for you.

A nurse, who was in the room attending to the

baby, said, Can you believe it? Donald Trump is

right down the hall.

Marley & Me

Donald Trump? Jenny asked. I didnt know

he was pregnant.

The real estate tycoon had caused quite a stir

when he moved to Palm Beach several years ear-

lier, setting up house in the sprawling former

mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the late

cereal heiress. The estate was named Mar-a-Lago,

meaning Sea to Lake, and as the name implied,

the property stretched for seventeen acres from

the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway

and included a nine-hole golf course. From the

foot of our street we could look across the water

and see the fifty-eight-bedroom mansions

Moorish-influenced spires rising above the palm

trees. The Trumps and the Grogans were practi-

cally neighbors.

I flicked on the TV and learned that The Don-

ald and girlfriend Marla Maples were the proud

parents of a girl, appropriately named Tiffany,

who was born not long after Jenny delivered

Conor. Well have to invite them over for a play-

date, Jenny said.

We watched from the window as the television

crews swarmed in to catch the Trumps leaving the

hospital with their new baby to return to their es-

tate. Marla smiled demurely as she held her new-

born for the cameras to capture; Donald waved

John Grogan

and gave a jaunty wink. I feel great! he told the

cameras. Then they were off in a chauffeured


The next morning when our turn came to leave for

home, a pleasant retiree who volunteered at the

hospital guided Jenny and baby Conor through the

lobby in a wheelchair and out the automatic doors

into the sunshine. There were no camera crews,

no satellite trucks, no sound bites, no live reports.

It was just us and our senior volunteer. Not that

anyone was asking, but I felt great, too. Donald

Trump was not the only one bursting with pride

over his progeny.

The volunteer waited with Jenny and the baby

while I pulled the car up to the curb. Before buck-

ling my newborn son into his car seat, I lifted him

high above my head for the whole world to see,

had anyone been looking, and said, Conor Gro-

gan, you are every bit as special as Tiffany Trump,

and dont you ever forget it.

C H A P T E R 1 5

A Postpartum Ultimatum

These should have been the happiest days of

our lives, and in many ways they were. We

had two sons now, a toddler and a newborn, just

seventeen months apart. The joy they brought us

was profound. Yet the darkness that had de-

scended over Jenny while she was on forced bed

rest persisted. Some weeks she was fine, cheerfully

tackling the challenges of being responsible for

two lives completely dependent on her for every

need. Other weeks, without warning, she would

turn glum and defeated, locked in a blue fog that

sometimes would not lift for days. We were both

exhausted and sleep deprived. Patrick was still

waking us at least once in the night, and Conor

was up several more times, crying to be nursed or

changed. Seldom did we get more than two hours

of uninterrupted sleep at a stretch. Some nights

John Grogan

we were like zombies, moving silently past each

other with glazed eyes, Jenny to one baby and I to

the other. We were up at midnight and at two and

at three-thirty and again at five. Then the sun

would rise and with it another day, bringing re-

newed hope and a bone-aching weariness as we

began the cycle over again. From down the hall

would come Patricks sweet, cheery, wide-awake

voiceMama! Dada! Fannnn!and as much as

we tried to will it otherwise, we knew sleep, what

there had been of it, was behind us for another

day. I began making the coffee stronger and show-

ing up at work with shirts wrinkled and baby spit-

up on my ties. One morning in my newsroom, I

caught the young, attractive editorial assistant

staring intently at me. Flattered, I smiled at her.

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