Sunday, July 15, 2012

Parenting lessons from a trip to the vet

Finnegan, our "rejected" Guiding Eyes for the Blind "glab" (part Golden/part Lab!)
It was a hot, HOT Friday.  The thermometer on the car read 105.  I returned from work to discover our dog with an oozing head wound.  The kids were hot and bothered.  So was the dog.  So was I.  The husband was nowhere to be found.  Apparently his golf game ran long.  I wasn’t sure if I should pity him for being out in the horrid heat or be pissed that he was somewhere, anywhere but home, leaving me to deal with four whining kids (thankfully one was on a playdate!) and one injured dog.

A quick consult with a neighbor and call to the vet confirmed my suspicions; our loving family pet Finn was in need of some medical attention.  So, while the sun beat down and the kids whined on, I loaded three 3-year olds, one five year old and one ninety pound dog into the minivan and over to the vet.

There we stayed for almost two hours.  TWO hours!  Admittedly, that is inclusive of transport time but still, I spent 5:30-7:30 Friday evening surrounded by furry things and clingy children rather than enjoying the cool glass of wine I had envisioned on the porch.  You know what though?  It actually wasn’t so bad.  In fact, it was kinda fun. 

I love furry things.  I love our kids.  And, I don’t often afford them the opportunity to be clingy.  I was totally surprised, as I often am, by the twists and turns of motherhood.  For a night that started out hot and bothered, it ended with the realization that these unexpected detours are often a good thing.  A very good thing.  Here’s why if it happened all over again, I just might choose the trip to the vet over that glass of wine…

  • The vet has air conditioning. Our porch does not.  For that matter, neither does our house.
  • There are dogs at the vet. I love dogs. My kids love dogs. My dog loves dogs. The vet is actually is fun for all!
  • There are cats, fish and a bird at the vet.  All provide ongoing entertainment for the kids and none will have a place in our home anytime soon; a visit to the vet is a great way for everyone to get their "fix" of other creatures - creatures that I am very fond of but just can't care for at the moment!
  • I get to brag about Finn at the vet. “What a beautiful dog,” they say. “And so good with kids! Where did you get him?”  This is a story I like to tell.  Finn is a reject from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  They “rejected” him at eight weeks, claiming he lacked confidence.  I’ve always thought he just didn’t want to work for a living.  He seems extremely confident when he jumps on our bed every morning! And, lounges on the couch, as pictured above!
  • Perhaps most significantly, I got to see and appreciate just how good my kids really are.  They ask before petting other people’s pets.  They listen when they are told to stop tapping on the fish tank or heckling the bird.  They want to know what the vet is doing. Why? Why? Why? They ask.  And as their questions are answered, I find that I learn something too… I learn once again how precious the time with our kids actually is and that there is delight to be found in even the most mundane of tasks – including taking the dog to the vet!

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