Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Seperation Anxiety

Here is a picture of Bailey-girl looking mighty sad that her dad’s suitcase is out. Yes, both of our pups suffer from mild separation anxiety and anytime we start packing, they start moping.

When we first rescued Samson, we realized early on that he would cry incessantly anytime we left the house. While we were home, he was surprisingly well-adjusted for a rescue dog (well except for his licking the wall neurosis) so realizing how stressed he was when we left him was really heartbreaking. Bailey’s separation anxiety doesn’t manifest itself quite so cutely but rather usually results in the destruction of walls, furniture, shoes, etc.

Our main form of combat for this condition has been to lather them with toys and treats anytime we leave the house. They are conditioned now to be excited rather than stressed when we leave because during their potty break I will leave an Easter egg hunt assortment of chew toys, rawhides and cheese-whiz Kongs hidden around the house. While they are gathering up the loot, I’m able to sneak off to work unnoticed while they stay occupied right up until naptime. Once we figured out this trick, solving the dogs’ separation anxiety has been simple. I wish it were that easy to cure my own.
Jonathan has had a string of out of town work gigs lately, leaving me quite mopey myself when that suitcase comes out. My cure for loneliness is similar to the dogs as I plan projects and “me” time to distract me from the fact that Jon is gone. This time my treasure hunt of treats has included an at home facial, a new valentine’s day treat recipe from Pinterest (that’s right, he was gone for V-day), two Tom Hanks movies, overdue phone dates with girlfriends and a bottle of wine from the region of South Africa where Jonathan proposed.

That might have provided the necessary remedy had Jonathan been my only good-bye this weekend. Unfortunately, I had other goodbyes on Sunday. My sister and her family are in the process of moving to Gainesville, Florida. She and her boys stopped at my parent’s lake house for the night on their drive out. I drove up to have pizza with my nephews and watch Breaking Dawn: Part 1 with my sis. They left at 8 am the next morning and it was so hard to end my goodbye hugs to each of them.

Usually I don’t say goodbye but rather “I’ll see you soon”. The only problem is that I honestly don’t know when I’ll see them again. They used to live a few hours away from Lake Conroe and so I would see them during my parents’ bi-annual U.S. trips. Now that they are in Florida, I know it won’t be so easy for them to make the trip twice a year.

To make it a bit more uncertain, Jonathan and I will be finding out in two weeks if we’ll be moving ourselves. Since he works for a very global company, we could be relocated anywhere. It’s starting to hit me that my sister will live in Florida, my brother in Texas, my parents in Nigeria, and soon Jonathan and I could possibly be in Asia, South America, Africa, Europe or even Australia. We’ve known for a while that this was a possibility, but as possibility quickly turns into reality, I’m starting to feel a smidge of separation anxiety.

It’s making me reflect a lot on my marriage vows, during which I promised to “live where you live”. Our whole wedding party giggled during that part since at the time Jonathan and I were in the process of moving to Midland, TX from our home in Louisiana, and I was not too thrilled about the change.
Looking back, the move solidified our relationship more than any other experience and it taught me that as long as I have my husband and my sweet pups, it doesn’t matter where I live. Even though it hurts and can be frustrating to be so far away from my friends and family, Jonathan is the one person that I absolutely refuse to be separated from. So if that means moving anywhere (other than Midland, TX), sign me up.

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