Thriving with Attention


long-haired boys in white raincoats

long-haired boys in white raincoats

Twenty minutes of sunshine and fresh air (with a little pollen) and three dogs are walked. They aren’t winded even though it’s been weeks since I’ve walked them. My boys thrive with attention. They don’t ask for much more than a daily routine of caring attention. The more attention they receive the more content they appear.

My boys, Ollie and Trapper (the third is a visiting granddog Hondo, not shown in picture) have the run of a forested backyard but they’re really house dogs. Some of the attention they receive is my watching them. Trapper – the black one and alpha – really likes for me to watch him run off the deck in to the woods and he’ll stay in place looking at me and waiting for my complete attention and encouragement before he takes off.

My daughter Ellie was about six when she stood on the diving board at the pool, shouting for me to watch her. I watched and watched. Then she said ‘tell me to dive in, Mommy’. But I didn’t. I thought she would do it just out of sheer fun and adventure. Ever have an attention moment that got by you? That was one moment she and I both remember. I spent years after shouting from the sidelines of her sports events to the point where she told me to stop. I have watched her graduate from college and get married (with a more demure shout and a few tears). So now, even at 24 years old I fully support her in everything she wants – she still wants my attention. It’s different in nature and in frequency now and I have the boys to encourage to jump. She’s thriving because of a foundation of attention that I finally learned how to give.


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