Mother’s Day

I’m a few days past Mother’s Day, that all consuming Hallmark holiday that causes more stress than almost any other in the year.  So many conflicted relationships all come down to the reality of being guilted into choosing the words some card writer feels captures the overwhelming, all consuming love that we are supposed to have for the mothers we got (or didn’t get)

I have a lot of empathy for my clients at this time of year.  I am among them.  I hated being faced with the triple aisle of Mother’s Day cards at the store that said things I could not bring myself to endorse.

When my mother died after a long struggle with bone cancer, I was relieved for her.  I didn’t think that anybody should suffer like that.  But I don’t miss her, really.  What I have realized over the years is that she fundamentally didn’t have the emotional equipment to be a mother and took all of her insecurities and sadnesses and tossed them onto me.

Many people face the same issues and they struggle to reconcile that cultural norm that moms are special, loving and loved with the harsh reality that they just weren’t.

People who don’t have relationships with parents have often spent years being made to feel that it’s their fault that conflict exists.  I mean, who doesn’t love their mom? In fact, not everyone is cut out to be a parent and they can make a pretty good mess of it.  If you say to someone that you don’t have a good relationship with your parent, one of two things may happen.

  1.  The someone you tell thinks that’s weird and wrong.
  2. You find out you are not alone.

It’s complicated and it is a journey in and of itself to find your own way through what you didn’t get from a pivotal person in your life to being your own pivotal person.  Learn what you need to learn, make the changes you need to make.  Get help with it.  Forgive yourself.  Work on forgiving them, but in a way that prevents further damage.

The journey is to design the reality you really want to embody for yourself and for those who rely on you for the amazing truth that they are loved, honored and precious.

That’s what touches the future.

And, it’s okay not to give a card.






He was on Craigslist.

He looked at the camera with quiet dignity and posed with his paws crossed, as Labradors like to do.  Such a face. An old expression for such a young dog.

The family is moving to an apartment, can’t take the two adult dogs and their two puppies.  We asked what the relationship was between the adults and the man said she was his “wife”.  I immediately thought I was a home wrecker, and breaking up the band.  But we thought we’d go meet him.

His name was Max.

He came right up to me in the house and gave me a lick and said to my heart “I’m the one you want.”

He was a terrible walker.  So excited to be outside, sniffing like crazy and taking his 85 pound body in any direction he wanted.  I could see he was just overwhelmed.

We saw the female and she was just all kinds of awful energy.  Kind of frenetic and jumpy.  She wanted to be inside where he was and I could just tell she wasn’t a good fit.  So she stayed and Max (soon to be Pax, but he didn’t know that yet) left Orange County to be relocated in San Diego.  He didn’t know how to get in the car.  He sat in my lap all the way home.

He didn’t know how to go up the stairs to the house, and he peed everywhere when he got in.  I forgot about boy dogs.  The reality closed in. I started work the next morning at nine, and here he was peeing on stuff.  What was going to happen?

Well, Pax was about to interview for his position.

In came the 9 am client, a lovely fire captain who was game to test drive the boy, and see what happened.

Pax walked up to him, put his paw on his knee (apparently his signature move, I was to find out), looked up at him with liquid sincerity (if you’ve ever gotten the full blast of a Labrador’s expressive eyes, you know of which I speak!) and then laid down.

So it was, and so it shall be!

Aside from a little preventative collar holding when the gate opened and shut, and some barking when he was put inside and was offended that he was missing all the fun, he has been to the manor born.  He loves his people, greets them, and send them on their way with his blessing all day, every day.  He sneaks toys in the office throughout the day so by closing time there are always a few of his favorites hidden around the room.  He knows where his treats are stored.  Anytime he’s on the porch, he wants to be sure no one is in the office in case he misses them, even on the weekend.

This dog is my gift.

I needed him.

My clients needed him.

He had a mission in life and he needed out of that unfortunate back yard where his mission was not being fulfilled or even considered.  He has a job to do.

He lives up to his name, which means ‘peace’ in Latin, unless of course he is insulted by a mean, yappy  little dog and then he tries to look fierce and puffed up, but he’s really quite a chicken.

He makes me laugh, and he has nothing to give but love.  We should all be so generous with ourselves to each other.

Welcome to our lives, sweet boy!