My husband made a comment today that has led to some thinking that I hadn’t bargained for. We’re always sharing stories of cute things the dogs do that make our lives much more happy. We have a lot of dog-related memories that still make us smile and that we’ll never forget even after that dog has left our lives. DH said something to the effect: It’s your attitude toward the things that the dogs do that make them so enjoyable. You choose to view them in positive and amusing ways when others may not see them that way, and that is a big part of why we have so many of the memories we have. I remarked that I wish I’d been this kind of mother when I was raising my children because it sure would have made their lives better.
Since then I’ve thought back to why things are different now and then. When I was raising my children I was surviving the effects of an abusive childhood, abandonment, childhood emotional and sexual abuse, and rape. I had no tools to work with in the aftermath of the abuses. I didn’t know how to handle the fear, shame, anger and loss I lived with every day. I tried to do the best I could with my children and to give them a better life than I’d had. What mother doesn’t want her child to have a better life? Since I had no positive role models I couldn’t come to terms with my past life. There were times I was angry and my children became the scapegoats. There were times I was preoccupied and distant to my kids. I was unreasonable, excitable and hard to understand. I didn’t know what normal was but I was trying to model it for my children. I failed miserably but fortunately both of my adult children are responsible, loving people who have also survived their childhoods.
Once they were grown and on their own, I received the opportunity to work through my issues and try to learn to live my life differently, lovingly, calmly and openly. I’m nowhere near any kind of perfection and I learn new things every day, but I took that chance at recovery to learn to love and be loved. Eventually I adopted a little rescue dog named Sassie, who taught me about unconditional love. The rest is my life today.
I love my dogs unconditionally every day, and they love me (us). I’ve had the chance to foster and rescue many animals over the past 16 years. Each one has taught me new lessons. Each one I’ve loved. Each one is/has been a part of who I am.
So, when I came home and found 2 tiny Chihuahua puppies standing proudly in the kitchen amid the aftermath of destroying 2 doggie pads, I could have been upset. But seeing how very proud they were of their accomplishments changed my perspective immediately. I ran for the camera and took photographs which I shared with everyone with the caption: It snowed in Dickinson!!!!!!!!! It’s become one of our most precious memories when it could have ended in a sulk instead. I wish this was what I had modeled for my children…..