Change is challenging for me.
Even positive changes - including changes where I emerge the undisputed victor - are difficult for my brain to process. I am wired for stability, to which change is a threat.
At the end of 2012, I decided that 2013 would be my Year Of Change. Rather than run away, or bury my head in the sand, I would wholeheartedly embrace change and the emotions that accompanied it.
Overall, it was a grand experiment and a net success. Change remains challenging (I suspect it always will be) but I created a catalogue in my head of all the times my world did not end when something changed. It is very useful for panicky moments.
On December 20, my husband bundled me into the car and we drove off to behold my Christmas surprise. We do not give a lot of gifts, but we each try for one grand gesture a year, because memories last longer than things. My grand gesture was to catalogue and file his DVD collection, and shift it from many shelves to one tidy binder.
His grand gesture was to adopt a rescue dog. A puppy, to be precise.
[Mise-en-scene: We were already co-habitating with one dog. Aiden is a delightful Shiba Inu, and by delightful I mean handsomely exasperating. We love him beyond love. We also live with two cats, Miles and Ivan, who are not small and wrestle like the Greeks of old. Finally, our house is not large.]
Suffice to say, my entire notion of calm in the face of change was thoroughly challenged during Christmas 2013. I wish I could say I handled the transition from one dog to two dogs, during the holidays and medical appointments, gracefully and with optimism; sadly, I cannot, as my pants would immediately combust.
There were some bad moments. There were some frustrating moments. There were some lovely moments. At the center of it I clung to my chosen belief that change is not bad. Slowly but surely, we worked through the animal integration, the family visits, the meeting of yet another doctor, the lack of sleep. Things changed, so we changed too.
And, lo, now there is much rejoicing.
Leia is the princess I never expected to rescue. Her arrival on the darkest day of the year will always mean a great deal to me. We hoped for a playmate for Aiden for a few years now, and though I would not have chosen to do it this way, I am pleased that 2013 ended with such a change. It felt like sitting for my final exams: stressful then, triumphant now.
It helps that Leia is utterly delightful, loving and smart. If you choose to adopt a pet, please adopt rescue pets. They have so much love to give.