48 hours ago, I brought home a mini-goldendoodle pup. Let’s just say it has been an enlightening weekend. Through the process of being responsible for another living thing, I’ve learned so much about myself.
First of all, it has taught me about my control issues. If you know me at all, you know that I don’t care what other people think. But deep down, I realized that there is this lingering concern (at least in this situation) over the opinion of others that I had to let go of.
See, before I brought my puppy home, I had images in my head of how absolutely perfect he would be. I met him for the first time and he was flawless. Everything I had dreamed of and more. A tiny little bundle of pure preciousness. He slept nestled against my chest for hours. I had to leave him because he was too little to bring home and I counted down the days until I would keep him for good.
Fast forward a few weeks to our first night home. Everything is seemingly wonderful. Then came day one together. On the very first day, I realized this wasn’t exactly going to go as planned. Believe it or not, he wasn’t perfect. He needed training. He needed to be taught. Shaped. Molded. As I began to see his puppy-like tendencies unfold, I began to panic. “Oh my gosh, I cannot have a dog that does this. I cannot. What will people think? I’ll have him in public and people will say to themselves, ‘Control your dog’.” He wasn’t even bad, ya’ll. Not even close. He is the sweetest thing you’ve ever come in contact with. He just wasn’t my perfect expectation. He needed a bit of guidance.
As silly and ridiculous as it seems, I’m learning about grace. For him and for me. That it really doesn’t matter what other people think and we’re both in the process of growing.
I’ve only really had to discipline him about twice. While it was miserable for me, I know that it is for his good and the good of everyone who will interact with him.
Tough love is vital to healthy living.
The Core of Parenting
I knew I had anxiety, but man oh man. Every. Single. Thing. He. Does. Makes. Me. End. Up. On. Google. I cannot imagine myself parenting a human. Seriously, you are constantly watching them making sure they’re adjusting to their new surroundings okay. That they’re not overwhelmed and they’re digesting their food and they get enough play time in. You over-analyze because you want to do the best you can. Their welfare is on you. And when they miss the mark, it makes you feel like a failure. (Okay, so we’re on day two of potty training. It’s honestly not going that bad. Still, there’s a good point here.)
Back to the parenting a human thing…after experiencing parenting an animal, it was hard to imagine parenting a human being with anxiety until I realized this: Maybe I’m over-concerned because I care so much. Maybe my anxiety will actually make me a better parent. Not because worrying helps anything, but because my intentionality runs deep.
Caring for someone else 24/7, I’m learning the deeper parts of who I am and how to deal with that.
I’ve also become the person I swore I’d never be and am putting my dog in a scarf that has his name on it. Whatever.
So, here’s to you, Boaz Archer, for all the things I’ve learned so far and all that’s yet to come.