A few weeks back, I pondered if I was ready for a dog. Eldest had come back from a dog sledding trip positively bursting to get a dog. I did not say no; I suggested some further investigation was in order.
When his uncle and aunt had a baby a few weeks ago, Eldest suggested that, as a shower gift, he would look after their dog for a week. I thought it a great plan: a chance to help out and a chance for a trial run with a dog.
Well, I am thrilled to report that Eldest knocked it out of the park. He got up at 6 every morning this week to walk the dog. He came straight home from school to walk him. He fed him dinner promptly at 6. He took him for an abundance of walks. He lavished him with attention. The dog slept in his room each night, so none of the rest of us had a moment of disturbed sleep.
All three boys are so happy to share his company. The dog herds the youngest two to school, and he is reluctant to leave them there, staring longingly at the doors after the bell has gone. There is much joy and rejoicing on the occasion of every reunion. We went for a lovely long walk with him after dinner last night, and when Middlest gave me a dandelion clock to make a wish on, I wished for more nights exactly like that one. I am extraordinarily proud of Eldest, who demonstrated absolute readiness to take on the responsibility of a dog.
His mother, however….. His mother is. Just. Not. Ready.
Even with Eldest’s excellent performance, and the abundance of joy in our house, and a dog with the friendliest, most relaxed temperament, I have found it so very draining to have another dependent living being on my radar. I am on edge. I feel like I have not been able to recharge my batteries all week. I cannot really account for it based on how low stress a dog this is, but there is no arguing with the spike in my anxiety. I had no idea I was so close to the edge of my limit, but the dog has shown me that this whole time that I have been operating with the sense that I am on top of things, I’m still basically a hair’s breadth from a meltdown.
It has been a huge disappointment to discover my limits this week, especially since Eldest did all we could reasonably require (and more) in terms of demonstrating his maturity and responsibility.
But this is what trial runs are for: exploring, experimenting, testing our limits.