The list of Pettigrew’s triggers (see What’s a Trigger) has blissfully shrunken. FedEx? UPS? They now pass by unremarked and unmolested. Pettigrew saves his ire for the mail carrier. Yes, those foolish, foolish USPS workers wear the same, easily identifiable uniform. Plus, there are still some of the old trucks rumbling on the roads and causing us problems (see Thank You USPS).
Now sharing this sign of growth with a dog trainer friend, she suggested all kinds of alternate (read unromantic) interpretations. Rather than Pettigrew picking his battles, she hypothesized that perhaps it hurts his aging body to lunge, so he does it less frequently. Or, perhaps, his eyesight isn’t as keen, so he doesn’t perceive the nuisances that used to transform him into a growling, pulling mad dog. Maybe, she opined, his hearing is going, and he doesn’t even hear them coming.
Yes, undeniably, this may be true for many dogs. But not my ‘Grew. I prefer to believe that as he grows older he’s applying his hard-won wisdom toward making better decisions. The mail carrier is the only one who persists in visiting our home on an almost daily basis. Clearly this individual is the biggest threat and worth Pettigrew’s attention.
Me, well, I’m doing my best to follow Pettigrew’s fine example.
The other day one of my guys came home from band practice in a foul mood. Practice had not gone well. At all. And, he made it clear, that was all he was going to share with his mother.
Instantly my momma bear ears pricked and my claws unsheathed. Did his band mates know how much he did for the band? How he helped organize the practices and how he rolled with it when the other guys flaked and didn’t show? And what about his skill? He’s a musician, my son. An asset to the band. How dare they…. But I … didn’t say any of this. I quietly sheathed my claws and flattened my ears.
He didn’t want to talk about it. He could handle it. And I could let that happen.
And my other son? Last year the two of us spent a large chunk of New Year’s Eve on a marathon, mother-son, baking-bonding adventure. We followed his French teacher’s recipe for a Bouche de Noel. It was delicious, but much more involved than either of us had appreciated. Yet a few weeks ago, we started reminiscing and making plans for our second attempt.
But yesterday, he told me he’d decided to attend a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I’m happy, right? I smiled and thanked him for letting me know.
Just like Pettigrew, I’m choosing my moments. I’m doing OK with this growing up thing as long as no one is reading my mind and seeing the momma bear straining to protect her cubs.