“You are such a pokey puppy,” I chided Micaela. All of three years old and she was headstrong with a mind of her own. If I heard her say ‘I’ll do it’ one more time to me in a condescending way, I thought I would probably cry. So adult-like, I know. But between demanding that she choose her outfits, most of the time mismatched, or arms folded with a pout on her face because she wanted to crawl into her car seat and buckle herself in, she was a challenging child who tested my patience. And pokey, which I felt was a terrible attribute. That and her inability to keep her room straightened (something that hasn’t changed much after all these years) despite my attempt at making it a positive experience.
“Micaela!!! We have to go now!” I would yell, holding her baby brother in my arms. She would shuffle her feet, or play with her light-up shoes, and purposefully ignore me until I would have to lift her in my arms and carry her to the destination, whether the car, her bed, or the dining room table while she screamed the whole way. To this day I cannot believe that neighbors never called the police. The way she hollered you would have thought I was beating her. But it didn’t matter what my urgency was, she didn’t care to have any urgency or to assist me in picking up her speed.
When I quit my job over five years ago to pursue my intuitive coaching career, I became enslaved to my computer and my cell phone with its constant ringing and chirping, replying to text messages and phone calls even during family time and meals. An average day, typically six days a week, consisted of me working 5-6 hours at the office, 4-5 hours doing parties and then a couple more hours catching up on emails, phone calls, writing, social media, radio shows – and I was sick and getting even more ill. I was constantly moving, rarely sleeping and on a fast track to losing my family. Albeit I would be successful and caught up on the debt I had accrued during the year plus I was out of work and receiving zilch income, but I was afraid that my time away from everybody I loved was going to make me lose everybody I loved. My husband. My kids. My friends. My furbabies. Everybody.
I sat down one evening, turned off my cell phone and laptop and looked over at my kids, now young adults and wished for a reverse button. But only for a brief moment. It was then that I thought back to the Pokey Puppy time.
The Pokey Little Puppy was first published in the 1940’s and it was often Micaela’s nighttime book of choice. Instead of following his siblings when they all sneak out to play, the Poky Little Puppy lags behind to observe other things. In the beginning, his independence is rewarded. The puppies had all dug a hole underneath the fence to escape from their yard, but only the Poky Little Puppy’s siblings are caught. The Poky Little Puppy avoids punishment because he’s off exploring as his mother scolds his siblings, and he comes home alone after everyone is asleep. The Poky Little Puppy then eats the rice pudding that the mother was planning to give all the puppies but withheld because of the fence-digging incident. This pattern then repeats itself through ought the book, but at the end the Pokey Little Puppy gets in trouble for being late because he was being pokey.
I took the concept of being pokey as a negative attribute, yet 15 years later finally realizing that pokey wasn’t bad at all. Instead it was stopping to smell the roses. Something that I wasn’t doing enough.
I decided right then to stop being a slave to my cell phone, laptop, schedule and social media and to look at the things that really mattered to me and to re-prioritize and re-balance. What happened next was surprising to me – I began to lose friends and clients. I wasn’t answering my text messages, or just sending brief texts back. I was being brief with my return emails and I was giving my friend and assistant more responsibility with returning phone calls. And I had to let go of the guilt and know that whoever stayed on in my circle, was truly on my team. But I began to feel good anyway. I began to work out at the gym with my husband and kids. I began to dream again. Create again. Be me again.
So on this day, August 11th, I have to apologize and to thank my pokey little puppy and my birthday girl– Micaela. I always said she had an old soul, but I was too busy to realize that she wasn’t trying to infuriate me (most of the time), she was teaching me.