Some Assuredness

How do you know if you are making the right decision? How do you ever really know? I remember my former self (pre-kids) as someone with confidence. I made declarative statements throwing them around like frisbees for someone to catch and not caring where they landed. I was self-assured and didn’t second guess things. Having kids changed that for me. I can cite losing my assuredness as the single biggest change when I became a mother. Suddenly I wasn’t sure of anything.

I often say that becoming a mom softened up the rough edges of my personality. It made me quicker to observe and slower to judge. It made it harder to make decisions because I analyzed and criticized my own intuition. I miss my confident, former self that wore a suit and managed a $62 million dollar account for a high-tech company in my late 20’s. But I’ve come to appreciate seeing the world with a broader lens and getting to know myself in the process.

This past month has been very difficult. After much discussion and research we adopted a dog Paige on February 22nd. We believed this would be a wonderful addition to our family and provide companionship for our dog Quincy. We were right and for a week everything exceeded our expectations. The dogs were happy and playful and our family felt more complete. That came crashing to an end the following week when Quincy incited a fight with Paige and hurt her so badly I thought she had killed her. She endured an emergency surgery of ten stitches from her left ear to her collar. The violence of that fight still replays in my head and I struggle to understand it. Painful as it is Paige called our attention to a problem we hadn’t been seeing clearly with Quincy. She had been exhibiting increasing aggression towards dogs whether they were walking by our house or we were out on a walk. Much discussion and many tears later we made the heart wrenching decision to place her with another owner.

The day that Quincy left for her new home I was beside myself with doubt and grief. I went into the living room for something and noticed a single bloom on my Christmas Cactus plant. It is called a Christmas Cactus because it flowers at Christmas time. This bloom in mid March is inexplicable on any rational level. The flower wasn’t there the day before and then suddenly it was. I took it for a sign from God. I’ll never know for sure if I made the right decision about Quincy and I miss her terribly but this little miracle of a flower brings me some peace of mind and some assuredness.