our family trek

I have never really been much of a dog person. Not much of an animal person at all, really. But on a recent trip to the vet with Asher, our 14-year-old pit that I inherited when I took my wedding vows, something within me shifted. I spotted a woman with a litter of 5-day-old miniature schnauzers, and I got a lump in my throat. I knew that one of those puppies was meant to be ours. He was going to change our lives. 

I don't know what I was thinking. 

Actually, maybe I do.

In the weeks and months (lets face it--years) leading up to this moment, our son has been asking for a brother. And with the wait times increasing in Ethiopia and feeling like things were sort of standing still with our adoption process, this puppy seemed like the perfect distraction for our family. In an effort to keep Jude from insisting we name his future brother Trek involve Jude in the ownership of this dog, we let him name him "Trek" (if you have a small child, you may recognize this as the name of the younger, annoying brother on Jude's favorite Nick Jr. show, Dino Dan). The meaning of names has always been important to me, so when I came across the definition of Trek, I just knew this puppy was going to be the answer to our family's wilting patience during this adoption journey:


 intransitive verb \ˈtrek\: to go on a long and often difficult journey

He was going to be Jude's "puppy brother," I told him. I feel embarrassed even typing those absurd words now, because the truth is that my son has been living on our countertops since we brought this puppy home two weeks ago.

If you know me at all, you know that I am always looking for the silver lining in any situation. And as I whip out my paper towels and antibacterial spray every 30 minutes during this puppy potty-training process, I find that this situation is no exception. I can see my son peering over me from the refuge of our kitchen counter as I wipe another accident off the floor and I think to myself, "my floors are going to be so much cleaner now that we have this dog; if he hadn't peed here, I wouldn't be spot-cleaning my kitchen floor right now."

I wasn't entirely wrong in thinking that this dog was going to change our lives. He absolutely has. I now find it difficult to be away from my home for more than 3-4 hours because I feel badly about leaving Trek in his crate. I have to get up a little earlier before work so that I can take him outside to run around and feed him before I leave. I have to keep every valuable item off of the floor and out of his reach so that it doesn't get destroyed by sharp puppy teeth. I have to stalk him to keep him from sneaking off like a ninja to poop on my favorite jute rug. And the first week with these new experiences reduced me to tears. The silver lining in all of this?

Trek has made me realize what a wimp I am.

I didn't realize how comfortable I'd gotten as a mom to one well-behaved, toilet trained 4-year-old. What was wrong with me that I would crack under the pressure of caring for this 3 lb. adorable ball of fur? Maybe it's a stretch, but I believe God is using this experience to remind me to be thankful for this calm and easy season of life as a family of 3. He is reminding me that (as all of my friends to 2+ children have told me) we are not guaranteed an easy child or an easy transition when we become a family of 4 or possibly 5. And I have got to learn to muster a lot more patience and a greater dependence on God between now and then if I'm going to make it : ).

As for Trek? Poor little buddy...I put a lot of pressure on him to be the answer to all of our family's issues, huh? Well, he is starting to grow on us. Can you see why?

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