When I was in labour with both of my children, there was this palpable feeling of nervousness mixed in with anticipation, culminated with this brave (or naive?) feeling that "we can get through this", which helped me get to the hospital with focused determination, even with severe labour pains.
Last weekend, I had that same feeling. My palms were not sweaty, but slightly clammy. Although it was only a 30 minute drive, I don't think I noticed too much other than the humming of the tires as we drove on the highway, and the whizzing sound of the cars speeding by me. Small conversation was made between my husband and the kids, but I don't think any of us spoke too many words. We were focused.
We arrived at this beautiful Victorian style home, and I barely put the car in park when the kids darted to the front door. My husband and I took a deep breath, the same way we did when we first arrived at the hospital so many years ago, and followed the kids.
We were greeted with smiles as we entered the house. This was the day we brought our new puppy home.
A few weeks ago, after we chose this puppy, we spent hours reading about about raising and training a dog. My daughter spoke endlessly about our pup, and counted the sleeps until we could pick him up. When we first met the puppy litter (and the parents), it was a joyful dreamy time, like a baby shower, where all you can think of is the fun and sweetness of a newborn entering the home. How wonderful our lives will change. And we felt prepared.
The day we actually brought the puppy home was a different story...the conversation was different, and we weren't sure if we were really prepared. Do we have everything? Are we ready for the sleepless nights? Will everything turn out alright? Will this puppy fit into our family and lifestyle? My son asked, "Are we really ready for this?"
I didn't say much during our payment exchange...just the usual health and vet questions. Before we left, I guess I had that "what do we do now...we can't turn back" look on my face. The breeder looked at me knowingly, and before we left he said "Don't worry. If there are any questions, ANY questions...we're HERE. Call me". He looked at my kids cautiously playing and protecting our new puppy, then said "They'll be great parents...things will turn out great!". Right then I realized that they were experiencing what I did when I first brought them home from the hospital.
When we took our new pup home, the kids played with, hugged and kissed our new puppy for hours and hours. At dinner, they said our lives are now changed forever, and although it is a lot of work, getting this dog is one of the best things that has ever happened to us. They said this dog is "so right for our family...it's like WE'RE parents now!"
I looked at how happy they were, and how much maturity they've gained even in just a short time since that day we brought our pup home. I've never seen our daughter get up so early on her own and get ready for school just so she has extra time to help me feed and train the dog! And our son is learning about the dynamics of "alpha dogs" and setting behavioural precedence. They're learning so much about responsibility...that it's not just about being responsible for their own behaviour, but also understanding their influence on their "little baby".
Maybe this is a glimpse of what I'll witness as a grandparent someday. Ok...I'm getting ahead of myself way too quickly. If bringing a dog into our home brings my kids the same joy as I have (and will always have) raising them in our world, then maybe the breeder is right...things will turn out great.