It’s official; I’ve crossed to the other side. Some of my friends are concerned; some just shake their head and wonder what has happened. It used to be easy to find common ground because it’s perfectly normal to have 2 kids, no matter their age. Now as I embrace the passing of time and each of the kids discovering their own exciting direction, it’s a little more difficult to find common ground since it is not very common to have two dogs the size of young adults.
For years, my primary source of preoccupation had been my kids. I drove carpools, volunteered in classrooms, organized team activities and celebrations and basically sacrificed the bulk of my free time to taking care of their needs. Those days are over! My children have both graduated high school and are well on their way of discovering the different paths of their future. It’s exciting, rewarding and a little bit sad to embrace the changes in our family dynamic but I can’t run away from the fact that my kids are out of the house for more months of the year than they are at home. Of course I still worry, a lot, but I can no longer fix their biggest concerns with a hug or kiss. I’m here for them when they need me, but they are now in charge of their own happiness. There has been a lot of stress and worry this year for each of them, but they have both managed it beautifully and I am so proud of them.
Last January, after Thomas returned to college we adopted Annie. She needed a lot of attention and it took a tremendous amount of time and patience to gain her trust. She had come from a terrible situation and before her rescue she didn’t have any reason to know that she could have a positive experience with her owner. I dedicated all of my extra time to her and I found patience that I never knew I had. Slowly, she began to trust me and we began to form the type of bond that I think she craved all of her life. The fact that she needed so much of my time easily allowed me to refocus my attention from my kids to her rehabilitation. Once again, I was able to fix a concern with a hug and kiss and she has changed so much. I have filled my need to nurture by helping this sweet dog. So that leads to the change in my priorities. Of course my kids are still the most important people in my life, but they aren’t here every day and it is appropriate for all of us to embrace the change in our relationship. So now, I focus a lot of my attention on my dogs and I love it!
Last week we went to our first Newfie party and had a wonderful time. I’ve connected with a group of Newfoundland owners in the Chicago area and they get together every now and then. On this day, a facility was reserved that had a pool for the dogs and a large play area. It was so fun to see all of these large dogs playing together and to be a part of a group of owners who don’t think I’m nuts for having these 2 huge dogs in my life. Everyone there loves the breed, isn’t fazed by flying drool or a smear on the leg after being nuzzled by a big head. I’m always so sensitive to the feelings of my friends when they come to my house and in this group there was no need to apologize for anything that some people might find to be a nuisance. It was such a relief to just enjoy the gorgeous dogs around me. I wasn’t worrying about anyone else and I had such a great time. I look forward to the next meet-up!