The new puppy has been, up to now, easier to care for than my older Miniature Australian Shepherd was as a pup. I credit the older Shepherd and my Pomeranian for part of this. I also credit my son and the things he taught me about guiding my dog to better behavior.
It is about that dreaded noun – consistency. I don’t always embody it very well.
My son was consistent and disciplined. As he grew to be a man he took suggestions well. He would weigh them, analyze them and decide if he needed to apply the suggestion. Exercise-both mental and physical were important to him.
Yet he liked the silly, frivolous, playful too. He would eat a dominantly vegetarian diet and then beg me to go find some of the most worthless types of candy in the world. My daughter and I discussed how much he would have enjoyed receiving “Bumpy Nerd Jelly Beans” this year. He liked a big box of Nerds.
He liked to play “Legend of Zelda” and enjoyed online gaming. He had a collection of comic books and was an early reader of “Calvin and Hobbs” and “The Far Side.” He liked music and sometimes the less popular and more eclectic “Atonal” music.
He had a list of books and movies and ideas he thought I should explore. It was not that he expected me to embrace or agree with anything I read or saw, he simply wanted to share.
My son would come to my studio while I painting. He would stand a good distance from me, in respect of my space. When I was at a stopping point he would comment. His sense of balance and design was very good. He would chide me every time I included a “red barn”.
Outdoors he walked with such confidence. He was comfortable on the steep paths, undaunted by the rocks and boulders. His stamina allowed him to run up trails that left me and others panting from the walk.
My son was protective, fiercely so, toward me , his dad and sister. Even if he did not agree with us he would protect our right to think as we did. He might discuss the need to change our mind at some point – but like in the studio he respected our space and gave us room to grow.
He gave me confidence. I felt safe with him both in what I did and what I said. He got me. His love for me, his dad and sister was palpable. I know all of us frustrated him at times as he did us. Yet, even with that, what stands out for me with him, his sister and their dad, is the love we have for each other.
My mother always said “actions speak louder than words” and in our relationship as a family – love sings.
The puppy is at my feet. His posture at rest, sleeping so relaxed and vulnerable, trusting me as he does to not move, kick him or crush him.
I think that is what family does if it is lucky – it relaxes, it rests and it exposes its vulnerability because of the mutual bond. It took a while to develop and learn from each other, encouraging the best parts of the individual for the common good of the whole.
Missing my son is a way of life now. Having my daughter and her husband home for the Easter holiday was good. Always when my daughter is home she has to overcome the feelings it kindles as do we.
Our loved one is missing. He added as much as everyone here added and his absence is apparent. We don’t shove our “missing him” in each other’s face, but we can read it in each other’s moods. Unspoken so many times is the longing to have things as they used to be.
I would love for my son to meet this new canine member of the family. I would appreciate his observations and advice. As it is, I am afraid, sometimes I am tempted to hug this little one much too tight and attribute understanding to him that he does not have.
I will continue to practice the things taught me. Especially to love honestly and to give love room to grow.