If you knew me in my younger years, I think you would agree with me that my parents were rather strict on me and my siblings. I thought they were crazy for keeping such a tight reign on us all of those years, but now that I have my own children, I see the importance of keeping your children reeled in. But their strictness was a little more extreme than most of my friends. For instance, I moved away to go to school in Nashville during college. When I returned home, my father kept my 10 p.m. curfew. As in, even on date nights, nights out with friends, going to the movies... none of that mattered. In his words, “Nothing good happens after 10 p.m.” So I was the only 20 year old who still had to be inside of the house by 10 p.m. Just to let you know, being in the driveway didn’t count as being home, you had to physically be standing in the living room for the stopwatch to quit.
So that gives you a taste of life with my father. He was also full of great advise for his children. I specifically remember him warning us, “If you ever get arrested, don’t waste your one phone call on me. I’ll just tell you to tell them to let you rot in there.”
Yep, he was strict and I love him to pieces for it.
Now, let’s fast-forward about 15 years. He is now a missionaries who spends a good portion of his year in India. He is also a pet owner... you can probably see where this is going.
When my parents are doing their mission work in India, I have become the soul provider for their little dog, Tide.
They got Tide last year, just a couple of months before they left for India. So for five months I was left to raise their little puppy. He chewed on everything, pottied all throughout my house, broke his foot the first week (so there was a cast period of time that wasn’t too pretty), cried and barked all night and caused more issues than any four-legged friend should be allowed to cause.
Upon my parents return to America last year, I happily handed over Tide and informed them that I would never, ever, ever take care of their “mangy mutt” again. There was a small part of me that loved that dog, but to be honest, he had caused so many problems I didn’t want to be in the same room with him.
So you can see my situation worsening as my parents started planning their journey this year with time closing in to their departure, they still had no one to take care of ole Tide.
My husband had, rather sternly, reminded me of how our lives were with Tide in our care and he expressed his lack of love for him. He was standing by his position to never, ever, ever take care of that dog again. But apparently I have turned soft through the years, and a couple of weeks before they left, I told them that we would take care of him again.
Tide had matured a good bit over the past year and we had mended our broken relationship to a rather cordial state.
The second night we had Tide he barked every second of the night until 4 a.m. That sentence is no exaggeration, at all. I was talking my husband out of killing him, while plotting how I could help him wander open fields with wild flowers hundreds of miles from here.
We made it through the first week and he really settled in to his new surroundings.
He was actually starting to feel like a productive part of our family. The girls loved playing with him in the mornings and they know it’s time for bed when Tide starts to wind down for the night.
Everything was going well until Sunday morning of this week.
I was scurrying around, getting ready for church and making sure the girls were doing the same when I looked out the window. It was 60 degrees outside and there was snow covering my front lawn. Oh wait, that’s not snow, that’s the stuffing of my patio furniture pillow. I was out of time and disgusted with that dog. He got put in his pen and we left without any further complications.
Everything seemed okay again until Tuesday evening. Upon arriving home after a rather grueling day of work, I saw my patio furniture cushion destroyed and scattered across the porch.
That’s it; case closed. This dog was a bad dog and I needed to count to 10 before I walked into the house.
I posted pictures of the debacle on Facebook so that my parents knew that I had exercised great strengths of patience by not taking Tide to the pound.
My mom called from India with a heart full of apologies. My father on the other hand, sounded very differently.
Remember what kind of dad he had always been to his blood children? Don’t call me if you get arrested. Be home before the movie is over.
Yes, that same father calls from India to beg me not to “put that sweet puppy Tide in jail.” He informed me that it must have been a scent or something that we had done wrong for his precious Tide to have done such a horrific crime.
Ya know, I expected him to be softer when he had grandchildren, but the extent of softness with a four-legged, fur-covered mutt is almost sickening.
Am I jealous of the love that my father has for this dog? Yeah, I probably am. Do I think he is crazy for being such a softee when it comes to a dog and yet being so hard on his own children? Of course.
But I face this situation as the child in this circumstance. I can tell you right now, if I get a lap dog when my children are grown, I will make sure they know that I am softer and more loving with that dog than I ever was with them. Apparently that is what good parenting looks like.
Until then I will work on this bitterness that has worked its way into my heart through this Tide situation.