Changes

Three weeks ago, Max’s world was rocked a little. My wife and I came home with our newborn baby and Max became an older dog-brother.

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In all the changes that have suddenly happened within those three weeks, Max has been a champ and has taught me a lot about adaptability.

The first week we were actually back home was tough. The humans had no clue what we were doing and I’m sure Max knew we had no clue what we were doing. He was of course happy to have us back after a couple days at the hospital, but was not sure why we returned with a crying, screaming, attention-hogging addition.

Max had to be flexible even before we all returned home. Other family members and I checked on Max through the hospital time, but it made for a drastic change in his normal routine. He had to walk and eat at whatever random times I was able to get away for a while.

And despite all that upheaval of routine, he was always excited to see me and ready to do whatever was happening. I’m sure he was sad that I was gone more than normal, but he still appreciated what he was able to do with me.

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Then, the baby came home and the real upheaval began. Our baby is thankfully rather calm so far, but she’s still a baby and so she has moments of crying throughout the day. I remember seeing Max during one of those first crying fits at home and he looked so confused. Glad we were back but probably not glad about all the extra noise.

And then at 4am, as I was doing very little to help feed the baby, I noticed that look on Max again – why are you up and what is going on?

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And then day after day, he was happy we were home but clearly concerned that he was no longer receiving all our attention.

But in all that change and disruption, Max taught me about adaptability and patience. I am amazed at how well Max is able to adapt to a whole different schedule and a whole different structure of life with this baby. I wish I could say I was handling it that well, but I am still figuring out how to embrace a totally new way of life.

I don’t know that I’ve fully learned how Max is able to be so flexible and patient, but I have learned that since he is, he is able to be more present. As he rolls along with whatever is happening, he is able to embrace not only what is going on, but also the people working through all that change. He is focused much more on the family than on the disrupted patterns of life.

I noticed Max’s ability to focus on his connection to us even while adapting to new things the other day when I was watching the baby do some “tummy time”. Max came in the room, probably to try to steal away some attention. But as he stayed, he found a place to lay down and be close to us in a new way.

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Maybe that’s how Max stays so adaptable – by focusing on his connection with the people going through the change and allowing those connections to sustain him through any disruptions to what was normal. Max has taught me to hold fast to the relationships with those around me and trust in that enduring love to guide me through whatever comes next – whether it is 4am cries or new opportunities to get close to one another on the floor.

So, thank you Max for being so flexible in all these life and home changes we are putting you through. And thank you for teaching me to hold fast to the people (and dogs) around me to help guide me through those changes.

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