Give it Time
I’ve recently adopted a pet. A puppy, to be more specific. He is a very good looking fellow and he is the third dog in my household. Part Plott Hound and part Wimerwiner. Ty is now the younger brother to Trooper and Simon. Ty was in need of a foster home. He was pulled from the shelter by a rescue the same day he was scheduled to be euthanized because they didn’t have enough room for him. My best friend sent me his picture to ask if we would be interested in fostering.
My husband and I had been discussing getting another puppy as a playmate for my other 2 dogs, but mostly Simon, who was only four and a half and bursting with energy. Trooper, my oldest, turned thirteen this past November and is really slowing down. So we agreed to foster Ty, with the idea we would really adopt him into our family.
I was anticipating needing to properly introduce Ty to the two older guys, slowly and letting them get used to each other and the new routine. I’ve always had to properly introduce all of my dogs to other dogs, especially Trooper. So that wasn’t surprising. What was a bit surprising is that Trooper seemed more accepting than Simon. Simon was a little unsure. Well, more than a little. Simon hadn’t been introduced to many other dogs, and I think he wasn’t sure of how to react. But, I really had it set in my mind that we were going to adopt Ty, so it would need to be ok. Plus, the idea of acclimating Simon to another dog seemed unappealing, mostly because I have nervousness about it.
Next thing we knew, we had to bring Ty to the emergency vet! He had blood coming out of both ends of him. Luckily, he was negative for some really serious stuff and ended up with a diagnosis of tapeworm and hookworm, both of which he probably picked up on his journey to us. Plus the stress of being in a new environment and new food (really, eating food at all seemed to be new to Ty, as he was severely underweight when he arrived with us), his stomach and digestion were a mess.
But, we were staying the course that we were adopting Ty. There had been a couple scuffles between the puppies, but I was noticing that Simon was appearing to get more comfortable and playing with Ty. Trooper was a bit of a grumpy man at times, but I was hopeful. There were some really tough days, emotionally, because I couldn’t imagine not adopting Ty at this point. Through some of my tears, I would ask my husband if he thought it was going to work out, and why can’t they just get along all the time? I really, really want them to love each other and be brothers, etc. I kept asking and hoping for them all to get along all of the time and love each other. And I would find myself upset at the times when there was a scuffle and a problem; I’d be worried that this wasn’t going to work out between the puppies, and why was it was taking so long??
I think this situation that I’m currently in can be translated to many everyday situations. How many times have you wanted results now or wonder why this just won’t work into my schedule without a bunch of other issues arising? You’re not the only one! I think for so many of us, giving something time is a difficult concept. There are definitely situations that we know will not happen overnight, like when you plant a garden. We know that when we wake up the next day, we aren’t going to able to pick from our garden we just planted. So, not everything is going to have the same time frame. It seems an unreasonable idea to have unlimited patience. Who has time for that? :)
I think what we need to realize is that things are meant to happen in their own time. Some people would call this divine timing. There is likely to be some sort of lesson in the waiting period. That time we are so eager to pass away at a quick pace. In the situation above with my puppies, I think part of my lesson is the recognition that I need to give certain situations time and that I can’t expect results overnight. I’ve been lucky with my dogs and them getting along and loving each other. But if I really think about it, every time we add a new dog to our family, there has been an adjustment period for the dog that has already been part of our family AND for the dog that is entering our family. This is the first time I have had 3 dogs at the same time and this isn’t the same situation as adding just a second dog. Perhaps that’s part of the lesson as well. While the situation may be similar, it’s not the same and I can’t expect the same results.
Ty has been officially adopted for several weeks now. There are still some instances that get me worried or where I need to be stern about their behavior towards each other. But since I have recognized my impatience with giving them time to adjust to each other, I don’t feel quite the same concern or worriment about them getting along. I know they will have their moments of scuffles or irritation with each other. Hey, what brothers don’t? But now I feel much more relaxed about it. And I know they will love each other and enjoy all their time together. The secret was to give it time.
This is the blog I have been afraid to write. Seems pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? Well, in my head, it sort of is. I don’t even recognize my life anymore. Everything is different. New baby, new business. It’s all great changes, all positive, yet still leaves quite an impression on my personal wellbeing.
I’ve learned in psychology class that every change brings about another change. This change can be good or bad, doesn’t matter. Either way, there will be a cause and effect. It’s the Butterfly Effect; if a butterfly flaps its wings on one continent, the effects can be felt clear across the world. Well, all of these changes I’ve made are bigger than a butterfly flapping its wings and clearly the impact is much more local (as in happening in my living room and everyday life).
So why am I afraid to write about this? Because I don’t want anyone to think I’m ungrateful for all of these wonderful life changes. These were all good decisions, and I’m happy to bring it all into my life. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I have second guessed any of these choices.
But the reality is that I bet a lot of people go through the same emotional and logistical roller coaster that I am experiencing. I feel like what I used to know as “my life” and “my routine” has been stripped down to some bare bones model and replaced with features that are very foreign to me. My schedule is no longer really “my” schedule, and a little being has been inserted into my already busy daily calendar.
Yes, yes, yes. Before you judge me – I understand that I signed up for all of this. Yes, I know parenting is challenging. Yes, I understand my child comes before me. I get it. All of it. I’m not asking that it be any different.
But I am trying to recognize my life. When do I eat? Shower? Sleep? These were the original struggles of the first couple of months. In terms of hierarchical needs, we are talking about someone who was nearing the top of Maslow’s chart of self-actualization, being bumped down quite a few rungs to the bottom, survival mode. And when I say bumped, I mean crashing down each level square on my butt, like sliding ungracefully down a set of stairs. Being part of an interstate adoption meant that we were physically displaced from our home for 2 weeks – with a newborn – our first born. We clearly had a learning curve. It was a shock to the system.
Time has now passed, and we are in a new season. I’ve now (re)evolved to eating more than just take out or snacks that I cobbled together as a meal. Showering is now a regular occurrence again. Sleeping is still suspect, but this department has improved. So, all back to normal then??
Not so much. Now comes the questions – how do I get the things that I require for ME back into my life? Workouts, cooking healthy meals, meditation, a massage, reading a book, writing…. None of it seems to fit anymore. I can see how parents just put themselves on the back burner – all the time. Frankly, it’s pretty hard to figure it all out, and while I make a plan to incorporate even a few of these things in my routine, if they actually happen is a whole other level of accomplishment.
I feel as if the struggle becomes even more intense because I’m unwilling to give up on the idea that I, too, can have a balanced life. Even with a kid. It’s a mind blowing concept. I’m still working through how to do this, and I mentally crash and reload on a daily basis. But, I feel as though if I’ve learned anything over the past several years, it’s that I matter. My health does matter. My needs are important. Not in a selfish way; in a “I’m not invisible” and “I have a purpose here” (beyond being a mom) kind of way.
This concept hit home when a dear friend of mine sent me a care package a couple of months after the baby was born. When this amazing box of food and treats arrived at my doorstep, I was in awe. Wide eyed, I wasn’t sure what to do other than stare at it in sheer joy, as if I’ve never seen a gift basket before. Then I read the card. My friend writes that she waited a bit to send her gift, until we were home and more settled. She then added that she was quite sure we probably had enough 0-3 outfits to last till our child turned 10 (she was correct), and this gift was for the new parents. She was confident that we were meeting the needs of our newborn (of course we were), but wanted to help us meet our own.
I started to cry. She was right. Of course we taking care of our baby, with everything we had emotionally, financially, and physically. We would have it no other way. But, in doing that, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves.
She was right. And I love her for that. I love her for pointing it out to me before too much time had passed to the point where I would, too, feel like throwing in the towel on my own personal life journey (or maybe just putting it on hold for 18 years?).
So, while it’s really, really hard most days to wade through where I fit into this new life I’ve created, I’m not giving up. I do it because I love myself. I love my son. I love my family. If I don’t do these things for me, I cannot be there for them. If don’t do these things for me, I will look back and regret losing myself along the way. If I don’t do these things for me, I’m not honoring my own value system and my own journey here in this dimension.
Just as we’ve already experienced, seasons change. I’m confident things will become “easier” again… then harder… then downright-hair-pulling- challenging. It’s the ebb and flow of life. I’m okay riding this wave, so long as I’m on top of it, and not drowning under it. That climb to the top is tough. It’s hard to balance up there, and surfing has never been my sport. But, darn it, I’m going to learn how to get good at it.
Thinking of movement…
Our challenge this month is to post pictures or videos of yourself in motion on our facebook page!
Don’t over think this!
Do you have a dog to walk? Do you go to a gym? Do you like to hike? Do you walk around your neighborhood? Have you been to a playground with the kids…or alone (no judgment)? Do you purposely take the stairs at work?
Honestly, we wouldn’t even know if you’re telling us the truth! So grab that water bottle splash some water on your face and fake sweating your ass off all over our facebook page!
You could win a massage at Aspire Wellness or $25 towards a massage in your neck of the woods!