Our sweet Walter was born in 2004 and has been a faithful friend and companion to our family all of these years. He was my very first “baby” and now he’s the first “elderly loved one” fully in my care. As he’s getting older, we’re navigating the changes that increasing age brings for pets and the ones who love them.
If you’ve been here, you know.
We’re giving him about 12 pills a day, which keep him living his best life. I’m washing diapers on the daily. When his legs aren’t strong enough to hold him, I’m scooping him up to carry him wherever he needs to go. He’s lost his hearing, but his eyes are on high alert. If Hartley jumps up to bark at the window, he howls along from his perch in his bed. If she runs to get a treat, he’s making his way as fast as he possibly can. (which of course, isn’t very fast) That all works out alright, except it becomes a problem when you’re carrying something and expect him to move out of your path, but he never hears you coming. (Dog-tripping is a legitimate health hazard!) When we go on family walks, I can’t bear to look at his eyes and leave him home alone. So this is his carriage and he LOVES the ride.
Most folks laugh, but I love him enough to take him anyway.
Last night we went to a class at our school about parenting teenagers through the technology years with Dr. Ken Wilgus . Rather than the focus being solely the steps to take to parent kids well, his focus was more on the importance of seeing the journey of parenting is an invitation to personal growth. Especially in the teenage years, it’s less about controlling and more about learning to release control. With each new challenge, parents are presented an opportunity to grow in love and mercy. Parenting is uncharted territory with very unique individuals that no one else is raising but you. It’s a journey of learning to love. Most folks won’t understand all your choices and that’s okay.
Love them enough to do it anyway.
If it’s true with our pets. It’s true with our kids. We all know it’s true in our friendships. It’s most definitely true in our marriages.
It’s true in all relationships.
If you can look at your interpersonal challenges (or interanimal challenges, as the case may be) with perspective that they’re a direct invitation for you to grow, it changes the dynamic entirely. It shifts the relationship from feeling like a burden to bear, to becoming an important lesson on the journey of learning to love.
Today, release the need to feel in control of it all.
Rest in the encouragement that you’re simply here on this journey, of learning to love.
to more love,