Who I Need to Be

I’ve written before about how helpful the boys are when I am struggling with anxiety and depression. I don’t write publicly about it often but tonight I felt the need. My boys mean more to me than I could ever express through written word. Part of that is because I don’t share the less happy stuff. People have enough to deal with in their own lives. Most people would rather read about the happy, silly, guess-what-my-weird-dog-did-this-time ramblings.

Tonight, I need the dogs. To be truthful to myself, I have needed them quite often lately. I even tried to sneak a visit with one of our counselor’s handsome therapy dog. Unfortunately for me, he was out of the office. As always, I will make it. Self-doubt, irrational fears, feelings of inadequacy, and various personal demons are always there and I have enough tools to get by. I am blessed in that I can function and the horrendous days are rare. The dogs help me be who I need to be.

It still amazes me, even after all these years of having dogs, how loving and helpful they can be. I’m sure they are responding to unconscious body language and aren’t actually reading my mind. They are sticking even closer than normal lately. Percy keeps an eye on me and it is rare for me to be seated and not have physical contact with at least one of these furry friends. I love them even more for that.

They don’t expect me to be happy and energetic. Sure, a good game of fetch and catch is a highlight but they also seem happy to kiss my face and just sit for a chin scratch. As I sit and write tonight, I have either Drake or Percy right in my face and have received multiple kisses. I won’t even fight to keep Haas in his own bed tonight because I know I will rest better with him there and feel better tomorrow. They are here. They accept me as I am. To me, this is beautiful. This is worth cleaning up another puked up sock or a destroyed set of blinds. It’s worth holding a 95 pound dog down to apply eye drops or find a new way to trick picky eaters to take a heart worm pill. It’s worth the terrible because I have the terrific when I need it.

I hope you get to experience this same selfless affection from a dog, cat, or hyper-aware goldfish. If you are struggling, I hope you feel better soon. I appreciate you and I know you are a pretty swell person, whether you know it or not.

This picture of Haas sulking after being forced to come in out of the snow makes me smile.

I’m still standing…

Some weeks are hard. Last week went beyond hard and bordered on laborious. No, that’s not the right word. It was laborious in terms of work and tasks but gut wrenching for the emotions as well. It’s fine. Days keep on passing and sometimes there is comfort in that. I find my biggest comfort in humor. That’s part of why I love my boys. They do weird stuff that makes me laugh.

As a worrier by nature, my job can be an amazing opportunity to feed that nature even while trying to fight it. Kids can have rough lives they can’t just leave at the door. I do all I can to help my kids be better than I am. If, in some minuscule way, I can help them learn how to form positive relationships, manage stress, believe in their inherent value, and see the possibilities, maybe they can avoid some of the challenges I face and they can make a difference in the world. (That sounds super self righteous but good intentions are in there somewhere)

So–how do the dogs fit in? This is supposed to be a dog blog and not just aimless ramblings by a strange old lady. How do three ginormous, blanket-eating fuzz faces fit in to this self-indulgent pity party? They are actually the good guys here. I may struggle to teach them to “down in motion” or “shake” or “potatoes aren’t toys”, but they teach me to love more and try to be less self-centered.

They don’t let me sit around feeling unloved for too long. There is always fetch to play, balls to catch, chins to scratch, and dog vomit to clean up. Tonight, Percy knows I need him. He can’t speak my preferred love language. He can’t perform acts of service for me or cook dinner. He can give dog kisses and snuggles. I know he wouldn’t have bonded with me if I hadn’t fed him and worked with him and shown him love first. He’s a payoff I may never get elsewhere, which is perfectly fine.

My kids, take-home and school, may not ever speak the same love languages I do. They are all different and have their own lives. I don’t even expect them to love me as I love them. At some point, they’ll all have to go off and leave me behind which is exactly as it should be. They all have such amazing potential to change what is wrong in our world and expand on what is right. I can’t fix the world. I can’t fix my kids, and I can’t fix myself. Someday, I’ll accept that. In the meantime, I am going to ice my sprained knee, think about the grading I should be doing, and scratch a dog or three.

Thank you for indulging me this evening. Wallow time is over now. It’s time to catalogue the trio’s tribulations for next week. I hope to talk to you next week and wish you lots of love and laughter.