Today was Barry’s first day to train with Hope. Until now, he has watched me with Hope and shown her a great deal of affection, but I could feel his discomfort with the limitations surrounding his abilities to do simple things, like take her on a walk. In our marriage, Barry and I try to be supportive of each other, but we also recognize that there are some areas that get assigned to just one of us. For example, before I left last week, Barry had never once packed a lunch for the kids to take to school. I’m ok with that because I recognize that as my job now that I am a stay at home mom. Likewise, Barry doesn’t burden me with details of his difficult cases or day-to-day work stresses because he knows that I am home meeting the needs of everyone in the house. For the most part, it works for us. We are respectful of each other’s work loads and we try to give each other ample breaks.
Additionally, he is a great dad. He works to bond with the kids each at their own interest level. He plays video games or takes bike rides with Zoe, he plays catch or baseball with Lena, and he takes Gray in a jogging stroller for long runs. The problem is that Barry rarely has the opportunity to be trained by the professionals who work with Gray because the sessions fall during his work day. This results in Barry interacting with Gray to the best of his abilities, but maybe not to the best of Gray’s abilities, because Barry hasn’t witnessed all of Gray’s skills in action.
Having Kati here over the weekend and arranging for Barry to suspend his workload from Friday at noon until Monday morning is a great opportunity for Barry to feel empowered with understanding as well as hands-on experience. I know that, if he can feel comfortable with the handling of the dog, he will embrace this new aspect of our lives.
I guess I was right, because he listened to every word Kati said today. He observed me intently as I demonstrated my new handling skills and he never got frustrated or overwhelmed when the instructions felt confusing or Hope didn’t do what he expected. Watching him work with her in Target and at the park made me swoon. I am so in awe of this wonderful man who would put aside his very demanding job and spend the afternoon learning skills with the dog just to make things easier on me and our family. I am so proud of him.