You did it!
There is no feeling compared to the pride and joy a mother feels watching her child reach an achievement after long hours, days or years of hard work. On a very simple level, I feel this gratification even with the dogs. Fifty pound nine month old puppies are still puppies learning commands and house rules. There are many “teaching moments” taking place when I am reminded that the training practice is essential to good behavior. In other words, they will chew on the arm of the sofa if I do not correct them and divert their attention to the more suitable chew toys in their basket. Those are not proud mama moments at all. I am thinking about the times when I am out on a walk in the neighborhood with both dogs staying side by side just a step in front of me trotting along without pulling at the leashes. Any onlooker would see this and think, “Look at those two cute black doodles, so well behaved!” At least that is the mama bear pride I am feeling inside. It is because I know how far we have come from the early days of taking walks which felt more like bronco busting, each pup pulling wildly against the tangled tether attached to my frustrated fingers. It took many lessons, treats, steps, sits, and more treats to be able to get to where walking the dogs was fun. Not only do I look forward to seeing their heads held high, taking in all the smells and sounds of the neighborhood, I relish in the joy of our accomplishment.
Parenthood starts with the first smile, the first step and even the words we get them to repeat. Our encouragement is rewarded when they finally get to what we are working on. She did it! She put the cheerio in her mouth with her little pointy finger and thumb! That same child will be on the volleyball court sixteen years later and I will be jumping out of my seat in the bleachers screaming as she hits the ball, “Nice kill!” My mama bear pride may have evolved from gentle words of reassurance, “You can do it, come on, give it a try,” to passionate invigoration of a loud whooping, “You got this, go for it!” I believe in my children, and I love the role of supporting them in their journeys toward their dreams. Whether it is earning a spot on a Division 1 college football roster, getting into graduate school, or starting their own business, I could not be prouder of the people they are. I may have bathed, fed, and dressed them, read to them and taught them to share and be kind. But these young adults are where they are because of their own hard work, in the classroom, on the field, in the office and in their communities. Like any parent who has been there to kiss a skinned knee or hug a crying teenager, I stand by ready and willing to be there for them when things hit a rough spot. It’s up to them to fix the problem, but I am eager to share my tools I have acquired over my 53 years on this planet. They can count on me to believe in them and remind them, “You can do it!”
I am confident that Koda and Summer will eventually learn the good manners of not jumping up on our guests who enter the house. It is a challenge to teach because they are puppies who have a lot of energy and love to express their affection. They are giant sized and don’t realize it. They mean well but are unaware of people’s dislike of being clobbered walking in the door. We have some work to do, but I believe we will get there. “Summer, Koda, greet people on all four legs, you can do it!”