Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Grass is Always Greener

My kids are getting older and it makes me feel so old. I remember my reaction when people would say “Oh, my son is in high school” and I would think “Wow, they are older than I thought.” Now I suspect people are saying that about me. I hope that’s the case rather than “Well, that’s not surprising”.

As the kids get older, they are not home as much, which, let’s be honest, as parents we have been looking forward to this moment for what feels like a lifetime. However, once it arrives, it’s a little off-putting. You aren’t quite sure what to do with yourself.
Recently I found myself looking for a dog to adopt. Not a crazy young puppy, but an older dog that just needed some love. The puppies are the first to be adopted but there are so many wonderful older dogs out there looking for love. Growing up we always had a ton of animals. My uncle managed an animal shelter and he was always bringing home some crazy dog, little kitten, or one day, even a duckling (which unfortunately was eaten by a neighbor’s dog after I spent 4 hours making a pen and pond for it. Scarred for life? You betcha.) My point being that I love animals. We have a regular barn going on at the house with a turtle, 2 fish, a bunny, and 2 cats. Tim is not down with adding any more animal cages/tanks to clean or listening to me constantly say to the kids “Has anyone fed the (insert type of pet) today?!”

I’ll be honest, I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. I love dogs. I really do. They are sweet, have tons of personality, and give a lot of love to you. But I don’t love their breath, or how they smell when they get wet, or getting up at 5 am in the freezing cold to take them out….just to name a few things.  And we travel a ton so finding someone to feed the brood we have is challenging enough, never mind finding someone to take the dog because he/she can’t stay home for a long weekend by themselves like the others can. It just adds a level of complexity that I’m not sure I want to undertake.
It hit me the other day that with the kids being more independent and needing me less that maybe this whole sudden dog thing is a result of me wanting someone to need me more not need me less. Ugh. I hate when reality slaps me in the face. I am not a needy person at all. It’s just that after years of being needed so much that it’s hard to move to the next phase. When your self-identity shifts, it’s just hard to get used to. Don’t get me wrong…they still need me…and I know they will need me in different ways throughout life but this first transition part is foreign to me.

I emailed a friend yesterday and she said “Can’t respond right now…holding 2 kids!” I know that if she were to read this right now she would love to be in my position. And in two years, I’ll be wishing my kids needed me as much as they do now. Grass is always greener right?

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