a cute dog sleeping on a wooden floor

Loving and Learning

I was chatting with another parent at a party the other night. Let’s call her Casey, because, well, that’s her name. Casey was telling me about spending the night prior sleeping on the floor next to their new puppy’s crate. Since I was fresh off of sleeping on the couch for my puppy when he was getting adjusted a month ago, I was nodding along.

Then Casey said that a friend of hers told her she had made a mistake by getting a puppy. The opinion was logical: she laid out all the plans Casey had said she wanted to do like rebuilding her acupuncture practice in a new location and thought the puppy was not conducive to Casey’s goals.

Hmm, is love ever directly conducive to our goals?

Perhaps when it is the goal itself but from my experience, love is the big disruptor that often interrupts our progress on the things we can measure.

I’m thinking of this past weekend when my four-year-old son wanted to sit on my lap as I was writing a post so I switched to typing one-handed.

Or the time 20 years ago when I screwed up a work presentation because my new love wanted to spend time and so I forgot to practice.

And the swollen eyes I had for weeks after I had to say goodbye to my last dog, making it nearly impossible to concentrate or pull myself together.

And yet:

My four-year-old has been bounding out of bed in the morning to say “hi” to the puppy. I find my son with his arm around the dog or the cat as he tries to broker peace for his new best friend. And having a puppy has also made him more organized to keep track of his Bun Bun stuffy so that it stays out of the dog’s sharp teeth.

My eight-year-old has a new way to make friends. We stood outside the school gate this afternoon letting kid after kid pet the puppy while she proudly showed them how she’s trained him to sit. And the puppy is also making her grow up because she’s having to find her inner discipline in order to deliver clear commands to him.

I feel the rumbling at my feet of puppy snores as I type this and feel less alone. I’m also feeling the exhaustion that comes with the extra discernment, communication, and enthusiasm I’m expending to train my kids to train the puppy.

We’re loving and learning. I’m not sure there is anything more conducive to my parenting goals than that. I’ve lost sleep for far less worthy reasons!

What do you think is worth losing sleep for?

I’ve published a companion post on my personal blog: Do You Listen to Your Pain?

I also post on Mondays at the Heart of the Matter blog, a great shared blog of personal storytelling. My book about my journey to find what fueled my dad’s indelible spark and twinkle can be found on Amazon: Finding My Father’s Faith.

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @wynneleon

(featured photo from Pexels)

37 thoughts on “Loving and Learning

  1. “We’re loving and learning. I’m not sure there is anything more conducive to my parenting goals than that. I’ve lost sleep for far less worthy reasons!” So wise Wynne. Life would probably be a lot easier without puppies and even kids . . . I suspect it wold mean amazing sleep, less stress, more $$$, but I tend to think that’s exactly some really great things in life come from. Love it Wynne.

    1. I love this comment, Brian. Yes, it would be easier, wouldn’t it? You got exactly where I was going and didn’t realize. It is in this struggle that we grow and do meaningful things. Yes!

      1. I’m admittedly in a different spot. A quieter stage. When I look back on some of the decisions we made … I realize now that we could have made different decisions (kids and dogs are 2 of the bigger ones), but I thank God daily that we did. The struggle is real. You’re not imagining it. There’s no question. But the payoff is pretty amazing too. Hope that helps.

  2. I’m with Julia. A heart full of love…and the imagery of “puppy snores” at your feet brings me such joy. I can picture that…and almost feel that sweet rumble from Cooper. xo! 🥰

  3. This reminds me of when I met my husband. I was just too busy and involved with work to make time for relationship. As you might guess, love prevailed.

  4. Wynne, I am glad the puppy is settling in. Having pets is a very positive experience. Wonderful to hear about your daughter gaining responsibility because of the puppy. Even a snoring puppy is good company! I enjoyed reading this!

  5. You reminded me of the years I had our yellow lab snoring at my feet while the kids were in school and my husband was at work. Some of my favorite memories of writing exactly where I wanted to be with my loving companion.

  6. Love this, Wynne! I think kids and puppies are definitely worth losing sleep over. Something else I’d add to the list would be the joy and anticipation of a new experience, or the adrenaline surge from doing something you love that makes it hard to settle into sleep. Something I would not put on my list is work, although it’s inevitable that our jobs give us the odd sleepless night.

    1. I love that you’ve broken this down into two lists. You are so right. Then we can remember when we have that odd work-related sleepless night that it’s not on that list! 🙂

  7. Well, love and cuteness trumps all. I don’t want to live in a world without puppies and kittens. They make all the rest of the stuff worth the pain and bother.

  8. The commodification and corporatization of *everything* has made us poorer as human beings. Get in your pod and stop smelling those roses immediately!

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