Biggest had an assignment this week from school in which he had to interview himself and three other people – one of the questions was “what do you want?” As an interviewee, I responded “peace” without hesitation. It felt authentic and trite all at once leading me to wonder if there was an expectation in this category – should it be something simple? Something you could be given? Something someone could make or buy for you? Should you be able to get if for yourself? Rather than overanalyze (or at least not beyond my internal dialogue) I decided to ask for a reference point.
His own answer to the question was, “a dog.” This was a response to which I could totally relate, having shared the story of my long-awaited childhood dog-acquisition finally happening at 11. Now one year beyond that hopeful age for biggest, he is still in love as ever with canines, doting on his growing collection of stuffed dogs, but clearly unsatisfied with the lack of the real thing. To the best of my knowledge, the main stopper of my dog ownership was the allergic response of my siblings, limiting the ability to have a pet in the house. Through the generosity of my aunt and uncle who made both their home and dog mine, I had a pup in my personal life from six years old and, in my final year of sibling cohabitation in my childhood home, I was granted the great privilege of a puppy. She was with me for the next 17 years, with a few spent in the extended care of my mom and another aunt, through the arrival of oldest in fact, though her passing came before he remembered her much more than through pictures.
We tried twice to acquire puppies, both times resulting in a flare of asthma for biggest and the grave concern that, as these were “hypoallergenic” breeds, he might in-fact be allergic to dog saliva, rendering us unable to welcome a dog into our home.]
After the heartbreaking second failed attempt at puppies, we paused for a good long while, until the 11thbirthday of oldest. Reflecting on my own youth timeline, observing seeming reduction in his allergic response to animals, having met a most lovable pup named Einstein and having stated out loud that if his parents were ever to have a litter, that would be the dog I’d choose, we found ourselves on the list for a sheepadoodle puppy. As fate, or perhaps more accurately the infinite wisdom of the universe, would have it, this turned out to be a false pregnancy and no puppy was to be had. Looking at the timeline of an arrival in July and the insanely chaotic summer and school year of transitions that has ensued, we most certainly were not puppy-ready at that time. And so here we are, one year later. Him still wanting a puppy. Me seeking peace.
Allergies have prevented me in my own childhood and now as the parent of children from having a dog in my home. The forced pause and distance created from the animal obsession of my youth has awakened me to the notable work, potential mess and added logistics that a pet can add to the already busy and unconventional life we lead. I also understand so acutely the deep desire, the love and joy that are part of the experience. To have something so dear to your heart beyond your control and outside the realm of current possibility. I am sure the path will be revealed – for now, I listen for the infinite wisdom of the universe and help tend to the 13-strong stuffed canine collection and the heart of my 12-year old.
I reflect with him on the challenge of the wanting, feeling the pangs of the child and the mother in the experience and stand by my own response to the question – extending the possibility on both the micro and macro, local and global scales and to his heart, seeking peace in acceptance of that which we cannot control.
I choose peace for me – within – stillness and calm in my soul, listening, loving, accepting myself just as I am with gratitude for the limitless potential for what, who and how I can be.
I embrace peace in my family – harmony composed of the uniquely beautiful chords that come from the notes of biggest, middlest, littlest and their caring father, practicing daily, fine tuning and listening carefully to each other to find balance in volume, tone, character and rhythm.
I honor peace in my community – goodwill and generosity of friends, sharing the tasks of daily life, offering encouragement, support, giving and receiving with open hearts adding love to the human experience.
I reflect peace in the world – seeing and being the good in humanity – asking and listening, sharing and understanding, helping and accepting, learning and teaching – stewarding the responsibility and privilege of creating our thoughts, feelings and actions and actively seeking to cultivate them from a soul nurtured and nourished in the foundation of serenity.
May we answer with authenticity the question of our wants, make possible that which we can, make peace with that which we cannot and see, seek and seem the serenity the world holds for us all.