Thursday, August 02, 2007

Needing Encouragement

There's NO question now. Elsie is definitely pregnant and showing. Her nipples have swollen even more, and they grow pinker each day (it seems). She's developing flank bulges on both sides when you view her from above. She's got the pregnant waddle down already.

And she's grown more needy.

She's going through so many changes right now, and I suspect they're leaving her feeling out of sorts -- not in a grumpy or irritable way, but, rather, she seems less secure. Two behaviors in particular tell me she wants and needs reassurance:

1. She follows us around all day: If I leave a room, she gets up to move to the next room with me, even if I'm only going to warm a cup of coffee. Before she got pregnant, our movement in the house didn't even make her pick up her head most times; she'd just slumber. Now it's like she can't be left alone.

2. She wants touch, or more like it, she needs touch: Elsie has always enjoyed our touch; she's been our lap dog and leaner since day one. But now her desire for physical contact seems constant. And she's more demanding about it -- pawing us, nudging her head under our arms, pushing between us, nosing her way between the other dogs to be closest to us.

She just wants to know everything's going to be all right. And understandably so; this is new to her. She's never been a mommy before.

As I've been watching Elsie the past few days, I'm reminded again how like her I am.

For the last two weeks, my day job has been difficult. Not the work itself, but the development of a new project that requires me to wear hats I'm not accustomed to wearing. I suppose I should be used wearing strange hats; I have since I started this job (hats for which I neither felt capable nor qualified). At least with those hats, everyone else knew what their jobs were, so if I wore a strange hat, I could find clarity from others who wore hats to which they were better accustomed. We had guidelines.

This project is different; it's new for all of us.

Our five-member team is developing something that could become a huge, life-changing, incredibly helpful resource for people with all kinds of struggles and from all walks of life. It's a five-DVD seminar series we're doing from scratch plus a 100-page accompanying workbook -- the content of which is powerful stuff.

As if that weren't stress enough (the stress of thinking about the series' potential and the need for a professional, well-written product), my ambiguity about roles is making me feel even more pressured. Truth be told, I'm not sure what my role is on the team (writer? editor? admin? co-trainer? designer? token female? internal team member or external consultant?) As a freelancer, I know my roles and job descriptions. I understand them and run with them. I do my freelance assignments well.

But this isn't freelance. I have bosses (or just one boss? -- even that's not clear) and co-workers (or maybe they're not really co-workers, but more like my superiors?). How I do my job (whatever it is) impacts them for better or worse. But if I don't know what my job is (where my responsibility begins and ends), I can't really know how to do it. So do I take initiative and plow ahead and risk failure, reprimand, and the possibility of doing it wrong (or unnecessarily duplicating someone else's work). Or do I sit on my hands, keep my mouth shut, and just wait to be told what to do, but then regret it later when I know I could have made a difference for good?

It's just so weird. There aren't any guidelines.

I hate (as in, abhor) being in this position. I'd rather feel competent and sure of myself, instead of feeling like a bumbling buffoon who can't do anything right or well (like I've been feeling lately). My uncertainty scares me and makes me uncomfortable. It's new territory for me.

And so I'm needing more reassurance. I'm needing those things that soothe me the way touch and our presence soothe Elsie.

Thankfully, I'm surrounded by friends and family who gently and patiently meet my need the way we meet Elsie's. They're willing to walk through my season of insecurity with me and not leave me to fend for myself.

I don't know what I'd do without them. Or without my canine kids, for that matter. They seem to know I need assurance, too, so they give back all we give to Elsie and more.

The poor, sweet, Elsie girl isn't done with her changes or discomfort, nor will she be for weeks to come. And then another season of change will follow with even more insecurity.

But we'll be here to walk with and reassure her through it all. She needs us.

And we need her (and her pack mates).

Such is the way of it with Labs.

'Til next time,


JuliaR said...

What a nice comparison about needing reassurance. I know Elsie will get what she needs from you - I hope you get what you need too!

Finn's Dad said...

Good luck with all the work! And I hope your job goes well too.