I have a friend who has a tiny poodle named Isadore. When I last visited her, she complained that he is spoiled rotten. He wants to be held all the time. She said Isadore drips water from his chin when he drinks and so the floor is always a mess. She sighed in exasperation.
I have another friend who had two small, fluffy, white dogs. One is over ten and one is just a year old. The one-year-old constantly badgered the older dog who wanted nothing to do with romping and wrestling. My friend felt that she needed to provide a playmate for the one-year-old. She bought a third small, white, fluffy dog. This one is a puppy just a few weeks old.
I was at her home last week and she said, “Two was OK. But now I need a third hand. I just can’t keep up with them all.” Later she was telling me that the one-year-old was very jealous of the new puppy. She related how weary she gets by the end of the day making sure the puppy is safe while the one-year-old dog gets accustomed to the new family member. And housebreaking the puppy, we aren’t even going to talk about that stress! She complained that now that there are three dogs there is a lot more mess, toys, noise, and chaos.
Doesn’t that sound like your life?
Recently my daughter had a baby. When Clark was just weeks old her daughter, who is seven, came and sat on her lap. “Mom, I’m feeling sad. I liked being the youngest.”
Matilda had slept on a small bed in her parents’ room since she was born. Now she’s in a regular bed, in a room with her sister. Clark is in a crib in the parents’ bedroom. I watched as her parents tried to deal with the situation. They were finding it a bit of a challenge. To help with the transition my son-in-law slept on the floor by her bed for a week!
You see, it doesn’t matter if we have a family of dogs or children. Filling needs which constantly change is a challenge. Getting everything done is a challenge. Managing the needs of everyone we’re responsible for is a challenge. Life is a challenge.
But take it from me, having people or animals you love in your life is worth the work. So, smile. Laugh. Find moments of joy. Despite the challenges, savor it. Life with your family is brief and tender.