Thursday, January 20, 2011
For most of my adult life, I've been afraid: afraid that I don't have the patience to parent. I'm not sure where it came from. I also don't think it's strange. I mean I'm not eating household cleanser (hat tip to "My Strange Addiction" on TLC).
Even fostering a dog, the thought of it, gave me the jitters. Anxiety. Didn't sleep the first night. Thought I might do it wrong. Things are nice, neat and orderly. Manageable. Safe and routine.
And then Daphne arrived, and part of me thinks, for all the aforementioned thought bubbles, it's just the right time. I told my mom today that even after day four, it's pushing my limits. Testing my abilities, with an animal that has ultimate forgiveness.
Truthfully, no one in this condo was more nervous than her.
So I have to lead and be willing to make mistakes, like I did today. Crossing Wabash, I stepped on her paw. She screamed. Daph has been abused, neglected, left for dead; you get the picture. My heart sank. I stepped on her paw because she walked right in front of me, it's cold, we're moving quick. And I scolded her.
She sulked. I lost my patience; felt sad. Wondered if she would ever enjoy walks again (it took a couple days for her to hold her tail up while we strolled). We'd come so far (in four days). Things got tragic. Quick.
And then I came home and sat with her and thought: this will happen. I will make mistakes and I will evolve with this dog and maybe another in the future. I will learn to forgive myself for those mistakes (I should have kept the leash on a shorter lead; had her next to me). Otherwise, I'll never find patience. And Daphne will always forgive me.
I write this with her, in a puddle of black and a red sweater, by my side on the couch. Just breathing. And loving.
For now, I'll follow her lead.