I’m feeling called to write more about connection. Is it a calling? I’m not certain, but it’s 4:30am and I’m at my computer after putting it off for an hour. Rolling over several times attempting to go back to sleep I began to realize that maybe I was awake for a purpose, and maybe that purpose is to write another post about connection. Additionally, a new connection and friend in my life, Evelyn, essentially got the ball rolling for me (thank you).
Later this morning I will take our oldest dog in to the vet for what will be maybe his fourth surgery in the ten years he has been a part of this family. He came to us in April 2006 at what was guessed to be a year old at the time. He’s the sweetest and friendliest Min-pin anyone has ever met, as I’m told this every single time we have an appointment, which is a lot.
I’ve struggled a little with how I identify him in our family. He is a pet. He is a member of the family and household. He is a dog. He is expensive. He is trying at times. He is not a child, but he is like a child- a child who doesn’t listen when I want him to. He is a snuggle-bug. He is a scorpion killer. He is stinky- even after a bath. He is a landscaper…well, he is a born digger and has eaten most sections of the irrigation system in our yard while creating massive holes.
His name is Rocky. Rocka pocka. Rockstar. Rocky Two Toes.
Several years ago he developed a tumor on his left hind food. It was cancer and two of his toes had to be removed. That I struggled with. How far do you go when the vet is discussing cancer treatment for a dog? At the time cancer treatment was not very advanced for dogs and a small percentage benefitted from long term treatment. Luckily his cancer was not the movin’ and shakin’ kind and stayed local to his foot.
So the Queen of Hearts declared, “Off with his toes!” Oh wait, different story. Though sometimes I feel like we’ve fallen down a rabbit hole with Rocky…or a Rocky hole because he’s the digger in the family. Oh, the never ending holes!!
So, back to the surgery. In about two hours I will drop him off for surgery. This time around he’s got two tumors on two different feet. We’re hoping that he will remain Rocky Two Toes and not become Rocky No Toes. Fingers crossed, prayers sent, hopeful.
And now, back to connection. It would seem that making connections with living, breathing, beings would be easiest, wouldn’t it? You both are actively participating in the connection. Though as I write that last sentence I realize that just because one is actively participating in the connection does not mean they are actively participating in STRENGTHENING that connection.
In the case of Rocky, he is an active participant. He benefits from a strong connection with my husband and me. He actively participates in strengthening the connection. He alerts me when there is someone at the door. He whines when I take too long to feed him, or pet him, or give him treats, or walk him…When I’m excited and dancing around, he’s right there hopping alongside me. He snuggles up next to my husband or me when we are working at the computer or watching TV.
I’m considering now how I strengthen the connections I have with others- people specifically. I can identify those actions and thoughts I engage in. I know that I’ve gotten better at it- the quality of connecting. The quantity, well, that’s another story because at the same time I’m strengthening the connection with myself. You must give to yourself first before you can give to others, or you risk finding yourself empty.
As an adult, quality of connection is more important than quantity. For children, however, both are important. Children need high quality connections on a consistent basis to build a foundation for social and emotional competence. As they get older the foundation built in the early years continues to support them as the quantity of connections lessens and hopefully the quality increases.
Do you have thoughts on this topic? Let’s talk about it. Post your comments below.
My husband, Kevin, and Rocky snuggling.