Sometimes I’ll snap a picture of the kids and a certain pose will remind me of a picture from when they were just newborns. Other times I’ll snap a picture of Husband and a certain quirk of his smile or a certain goofy pose will bring back memories of us from when we were dating years ago.
This time my picture was of Remmy. Surprisingly, the picture stirred more than just memories; it stirred forgotten feelings as well. This picture suddenly reminded me of a picture I took of him as a seven-week-old puppy. Husband and I had just bought a house in November, We bought Remmy in January and I was due in February. Most everyone told us it was a bad idea. It really bothered me. Why didn’t they believe in me? I felt like I had to prove to everyone that we could, and would, make it work out just fine.
I remember when this need to prove myself started.
I was shopping with my MIL before husband and I were married. We saw one of her acquaintances and stopped to say hi and she happily announced that Husband and I were engaged. The acquaintance chuckled and said to me, “You don’t look pregnant!” I knew he was joking around but it still really offended me. Without skipping a beat I replied, “Nah. We’re doing it for Love.” I smiled but deep down it had really hurt me. Was it really so unbelievable that a 21 year old wanted to marry for all the right reasons? Why did he have to assume the worst?
From there I felt I had to prove myself to anyone that questioned my motives. I felt undervalued and misjudged every time someone told me I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, do something. Did they think I just came to rash decisions on a whim? Why did everyone question my decisions?
Husband and I were happily married at 21/22 years old while a number of people “supportively” telling us it would be wise to wait. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of support during those big decisions as well. And I know many of the nay-sayers were doing it out of love or worry. But still, it bothered me. Didn’t they know by now that we don’t make big decisions lightly?
The truth is that when we do come to a final decision we’ve always talked it out for days, weeks and sometimes months on end. This is what we did when we finally decided to get Remmy. We had talked about it nearly every single night for a few months while I was pregnant. We weighed the pros and cons every day. In the end, despite everyone saying that it wasn’t the right time to get a dog, we decided it was the perfect time for us.
One day I was having a slow day at work and decided to search the employer’s special employee-only ‘ebay’ knockoff website to see if there were any puppies for sale. (I really really miss that website!)
Low and behold, I came across this picture.
He was a Golden Retriever – Springer Spaniel mix. He was a hybrid called a Spangold Retriever. I thought about it, both of those breeds are amazing family dogs and both breeds are athletic and energetic. I grew up with a Golden and my Aunt had a Springer. I knew for a fact both breeds were amazing family dogs. This was perfect!!!
I ignored all clients and dashed to the phone to call husband and tell him I emailed him a picture of our new puppy.
The next day we picked him up. We fell in love with him immediately and worked with him every day to train him and housebreak him before the baby came. He was perfect. When Buddy came he welcomed him with big kisses and snuggles and immediately became his protector. We were a family and he was 100% a part of it. He was just as much our baby as Buddy was.
I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult. It definitely was. Especially when he got older and more active. He’s still a handful today. But it’s what we wanted. We knew what we were getting ourselves into and we happily took on the extra baggage. He was worth it.
Finally. Finally the nay-sayers began admitting at this point that maybe we could handle it all. I secretly fist-pumped every time. *Finally! Validation!*
Now I find myself looking back and remembering these feelings when we first bought our home and started expanding our family. I have a different view of it all now. I had so much to prove to the world. I desperately wanted to prove to everyone that I could be a good homeowner, dog owner, mother and wife, but we didn’t have anything to show for ourselves besides what looked like rash decisions. It’s ironic that in my rush to prove to everyone that I was ‘all growed up’ and could make my own decisions, it only made me look more immature.
Now I can understand people’s apprehensions for us when we announced marriage, home ownership, a baby and then a puppy on top of that. I don’t regret anything we did, but I can understand and appreciate the other point of view now. In spite of our rush to get our lives moving, I also hope that our well-intended nay-sayers have seen all that we have accomplished since then and truly believe that we are a strong and capable family.
As I reminisced on old feelings, I compared the two pictures further and realized something else. I noticed how completely Remmy reflects my feelings in the two pictures. At seven weeks old he’s practically pleading to be acknowledged, loved and trusted. In the picture from today he still looks young, but he looks much more comfortable, capable and confident.
Now I see that Remmy isn’t the scared little puppy pleading for affection that he used to be and I’m not the new wife and mother I used to be. We’ve both still got a lot of growing up and “proving up” to do. But we’ve both earned enough to look back at our “puppy days” and appreciate how far we’ve already come.