Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poodle on My Foot

Emily had a very difficult year, too. The fact is, we brought her home when the twins were toddlers and Max was still being homeschooled. She was raised to believe that her pack would be with her most hours of the day. It wasn't an unreasonable expectation, based on how things went for the first few years of her life. Then Max went off to school during weekdays three years ago. Ben and Milo were gone for the morning three days a week. It was worrisome, but I was still working from home, so she took up residence under my desk while I wrote and she trusted me to go get the puppies and bring them home again.

When I first started at the law office, I worked up to 30 hours in a week, but those weeks were fewer than you might think. If I picked up a freelance writing project, then I subtracted the hours from the law office. It wasn't unusual for me to only be gone 15 hours in a week. All three boys were in all-day school now, but at least I was still there. And then Chris's job stuff went south and he was around, too. This pleased Emily, frankly.

Then in June, Chris was gone all day again. And the combination of school and work for me suddenly meant I was pretty much gone all day during the week, too.

And Emily has not been happy about it. I'm embarrassed to admit that it took most of the last 10 months for me to finally ask the vet about Emily's gradually worsening behavior. Turns out she likely has separation anxiety. Right now she's happy because she's sleeping on my feet. She gets my feet and a corner of the warm, wool blanket my aunt knit for Chris and I. It's a good life, but it's not like it was.

I totally get it. Some days I have separation anxiety, too. I know Chris does. If it was up to him, we'd meet every weekday for lunch at one of downtown State College's many fun places to eat and plot and plan and marvel again at how much more mentally challenging it is to parent a teenager than a baby. I mean, assuming you're trying to give the kid every possible shot at good outcomes. I'm not talking about getting the kid into the right extracurriculars so he'll get into a good college. I'm talking about providing input, while he's still talking to us, in the hopes that when he makes decisions without consulting us, they'll be ones that move him in positive directions.

It's an incredibly wet week. I'm kind of grateful for it because I really need to do a LOT of yard work and garden prep, and I also need to get some work done on a project for one of the professors I work with, and the downpour scheduled for tomorrow makes the decision for me. Still, I wish I had already gotten the dirt spread out in the areas sinking in our lawn and put down the new seed. This would have been great for that.

Chris should be home from playing raquetball soon. I'm going to go start dinner and then try to make some progress on a knitted lace shawl. My goal is to either fall asleep (hopefully without dropping stitches) and let Chris put the kids to be while I grab and extra-long night of sleep, or to finish 20 rows. I'd be okay with it going either way.

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