What do you want to be when you grow up?
Alrighty ladies . . . who played with Barbie dolls when you were a kid.? A show of hands, now. No, it’s ok, nobody can actually see your admission here. Oh hey, remember those GI Joe’s we had in the 70’s? They were the same scale as Barbies and were all manly in their fatigues. These guys sported a fuzzy low fro and absolutely wicked facial scar. Ok, now who had a GI Joe instead of a foppish Ken to marry your Barbie? Oh yeah, it’s this kind of stuff that made us the women we are today.
|Hubba, says Barbie.
Yeah, I’d have his baby.
I actually recall that life changing moment when I realized Barbie’s ridiculous proportions. Stubby tween fingers are fumbling with the tiny snap on her mod pink and orange paisley miniskirt, when it occurs to me that I’ve never met a women who looks like this. With her big perky girls casting a shadow over that wasp waist, she had us believing in something that would never develop.
Not my mom, her friends, my teachers. Not even those cute girls on Hee-Haw. No woman alive looks like this. And that means I won’t have a body like this either. Curse you and your sweater-stretching bosom, Barbie. You betrayed us all.
I don’t remember crying over this coming of age knowledge; this loss of innocence. But I did realize that there would have to be some rework on that trophy wife career plan. Yep, better crack open that pre-algebra text book after all
I still think about what I want to be when I grow up. I no longer wish for Barbie’s impossible proportions as much as I just want clothes that don’t hurt when I sit down. Oh, and I want to be taller. And thinner, too. Definitely thinner. Ah, if wishes were horses . . . oh yeah, and I want a horse. A friesian. [sigh]
We can plan all we want and maybe even try to get a preview of our destiny. At ten years old, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t someday be shaped like my statuesque Barbie doll. At fifteen years old, it became clear I would never reach more than a couple inches over five feet tall. Married at twenty, survival was the word of the day, not college. Those romantic dreams of an exotic career turned into an office job in finance. Yet today, as I slip into what is likely the second half of my life (yikes!), I feel like destiny has been kind to me.
I’m not exactly where I thought I would be. But right here? It’s good. And you know, I rather like it right here.
Yaxley changes his career path
|On matriculation day|
So our little Lord Yaxley decided after a month at Advanced Training at Canine Companions for Independence that this career as an assistance dog is just not for him. He said his passion is to be a family dog. I’m really good at cuddling, he says. And I’m pretty handy with little kids, too. I think maybe I could be a nanny like that dog in Peter Pan.
A dear friend and co-worker has adopted Yaxley. A young family with a little boy that Yaxley can have for his very own. It’s a beautiful arrangement that seems to fit together so very naturally. He’s moving in pre-loved as she has been close to Yaxley as he grew up in the office.
When Luke cries in his crib, she says, Yaxley goes into his room and lies next to the bed. He gets there before we do.
So he doesn’t try to avoid the crying and all the noise? I ask.
No, she says. Yax is by the crib with a concerned look on his face. Like, what took me to long to get there?
But, she adds, he does steal the binkies that Luke drops. Sometimes I find one in the backyard.
The little stinker. Well, that’s just Dog Rules, right? If it’s on the floor, it’s mine. I know, I know. A service dog would retrieve the binkie and give it back with only a hint of dog slobber. But now he’s a beloved pet. We’re back to fundamental Dog Rules.
Micron and I are happy to see Yax on the days he comes into the office. The two fellas started right back up where they left off. Hogging attention and stealing chew toys from each other, the stuff of best friends.
So today Yaxley isn’t exactly where I thought he would be. This wasn’t the destiny I had envisioned. But now that this is where he is? It is perfection. It is peace of mind. It is right.
Yaxley is indeed right where he belongs.
Somehow they seem to find their own happy self-place. Good for Yaxley!
When I picked up my first pup our Puppy Program Manager told us that the dogs choose, basically they decide if they are cut out for service work or not. Dave and I were devastated when our second pup didn't graduate. We knew it would be best for her to find a family she could have to herself when she came home. Oh my goodness!! She knew what she was doing all along, she knew that since this perfect family that she has now wasn't going to come to AT she would have to come to them. When you think about it – next to being a working CCI pup is there really any better job than being the pup that a child grows up with? Nope didn't think so. So Yax, let your mom know that I don't look like Barbie either (darn it), that while I have a great life it wasn't the one Barbie Ken and I planned, but it isn't one that I wouldn't trade for the world. I am thinking you and Lacinda are thinking the same thing, not the life we picked for you, but one you wouldn't trade for the world!
I greatly admire your attitude towards Yaxely's career change. If (more like when) I go through a career change experience someday, I'd be utterly heartbroken. I will think back to this post, and it will remind me that a change of career just means a dog ending up exactly where they belong. I'm nearly sure you feel/felt at least a little of the heartbroken part, but it is so admirable that you can be so positive and happy about where Yaxley is. Yaxely sounds like a wonderful pet dog. He is precisely where he needs to be.
Thank you for a new perspective.
You know, I can truthfully say that every CCI dog and partner I've met is a perfect match. Whether a working dog or a change-of-career, no exception. I just adore Yaxley and he'll always live in that special corner of my heart. We had an amazing ride together. But he is exactly where he's supposed to be.
Every kid should have a dog, I always say. Especially a good dog that provides comfort, companionship and that special blessing of unconditional love. Now little Luke will have this. Yaxley has a job to do and he'll be a natural at it.
Our PPM said pretty much the same thing. With the first pup she prepared us for the what-ifs. We knew what we were getting ourselves into. But it's all worth it in the end. Well, it must be cuz we're going to do it all over again with pup #4. I can't wait.
Ugh, the range of emotions that I went through after that phone call from CCI. Shock that it was soon into advanced training, then disappointment that my dream for him had changed. And the heartbreak that I knew it would be best for Yaxley to have a home of his own where he wouldn't have to compete for the attention he deserves.
You know the part that grounds me, though? Puppy raisers don't do this gig for themselves. Well, kind of maybe. I have a blast doing it. But it's not about us, it's about doing the right thing. And sometimes the process of doing the right thing is hard to live through. The reward comes afterwards when you step back and look at it all.
I see the happiness that he brings to his new family. How they love him dearly and he gives it right back. How a little boy will know the companionship of a dog of his own. I know this is the right thing and it brings me peace of mind.
It is so tough to change the dream that we have for them, but they have their own ideas about what they want to do! You have a wonderful way of writing and dealing with it. 😎 I still have my fingers crossed for Jam who is in for training. I think he does possess that desire to work. We'll see….
Donna, I am sure you were heartbroken but, I truly believe that all things happen for a reason…so maybe Yaxley isn't a CCI dog, but he has the job of friend and protector of that sweet little boy and that is ONE important job!!
I am sorry, but I am so glad that Yaxley found his PERFECT forever family!