In the most recent episode of The Rambling Devil, I touched on where I've been the last week, but there was one thing I left out because it didn't effect me recording anything. That thing is- we got a puppy.
Last summer, my eldest kids did an outstanding job taking care of the chickens, and as a reward, my wife and I decided to get a puppy. I've wanted one for a while- well, I've wanted a dog and the promise was for a dog- so we got one. And to be honest, it's a real chore. Not that I didn't expect a new animal to be a chore, but suffice to say raising a puppy is a brand new headache for me and my wife.
The little stinker (Honor Harrington is her name, though we stick with Honor) is nippy (as puppy's are) and the kids aren't all cool with that. Teaching them how to interact with the puppy and the puppy to interact with them is fun, if challenging sometimes. We got a good book to help us along the way after a work friend referred it to us, and discovered that we got the puppy at the exact right time developmentally.
All this to say that my wife- who swore we'd never have a dog in the house- had to relent and let the puppy live in the house. She's too young to be outside yet and she needs training before we can safely let her be given our proximity to the road (I'm speaking of honor, not my wife). The plans with regards to the dog changed just before she got here, and for the most part things have been going smoothly.
Except she hasn't picked a spot on the floor to go tinkle, which left me chasing puddles for fifteen minutes while trying to make a snack while exporting today's episode- then eye drops for my PRK recovery. Been a hectic morning- and it's not even 11 yet. Not that this is a bad thing- it's just a thing we have to move through. Another test in life that will have great benefits should we pass it.
And that's kind of where I wanted to take this post today- those tests in life we routinely have to deal with. Another test I'm facing is a son and daughter slamming into puberty at the speed of time. The hormones and the exasperating emotional swings that come along with that are yet another layer on the onion of my life that I have to weather. And I will- even if it does leave me with slightly less hair on my head, and a few holes in my intestinal lining.
Small prices to pay for the potential rewards.
At least, that's what I think, though this doesn't square with what others say to me- especially when they find out I have five kids. One guy actually said to me, "That's seven more than I want to have." Which, in a way, means he wants to kill two kids, but I'm pretty sure he was being hyperbolic. Then again, he was fired for sexual harassment... But I digress.
The point is that there is a whole class of people out there who are either afraid of or indifferent to having any kids, let alone a fire-team reinforced. Makes me wonder if these people actually hate the idea of having kids, or that the test involved is more than they want to take on.
Either reason saddens me to a degree. Sure, having a family and the associated responsibilities are hard and can be taxing some days, but the rewards that are involved when it goes right are enormous compared to any potential downfalls. With great risk comes great reward, and it's only in assuming that risk that we can ever achieve the reward that is on the other side. I won't ever be a Great Grandpa if I don't take the risk of being a Great Dad.
But who am I to speak? I too have failed some of those tests of which I speak. I haven't bought investment real estate, haven't run for office, haven't truly applied "up" when seeking a job, haven't really put myself out there. I too fail in this very thing I speak of more often than I would like. Part of it is the cost associated with failure (ironically) and part of it is the cost associated with success.
Is it the same for others? Being an average man of average (or even below average) standing, I can only assume that this is the case. So why is it that the small risk of having kids is so, for lack of a better term, terrifying to others? That I can't answer. And I won't really try. The intentions within the hearts of others are only things that I can speculate on at best, and judge at worst. And the small amount of speculating that I have done is already more than I dare.
But I do wonder, and that wondering makes me question my own reasons for doing and not doing things. Hopefully, in the end, this pondering allows me to assume the tests I must, and pass them with some level of proficiency that will give my words weight, and balance my naivety with some proportionate level of wisdom.
In the end, it's the best I can hope for. That, and well adjusted and confident progeny that can pay for a nice old folks home (or a perpetual cruise someplace nice). You know, should I earn it and they feel it's worth it.
A man can dream, can't he.
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