Adulthood requires restraint

By Anita Doberman: Columnist

Opposites attract. This is true in many areas of my life and especially in my marriage, where my husband and I have different personalities. I am the more exuberant type, and he is the more coherent one. I am more fun — he may say impulsive — and he is more boring — he may say rational.

I noticed how our differences have enriched our lives when one of my childhood dreams was realized for a few short but intense hours. I have always wanted to own a German shepherd named Rex. When I was growing up in Italy I used to watch this show about a police dog named Rex who chased bad guys.

Then one morning, I opened my door and found a puppy version of Rex staring up at me. He didn’t have collar and there was no one in sight. A miracle! I couldn’t contain my excitement and ran inside the house yelling to my children I had found a new puppy named Rex.

We all rushed into the bedroom where my husband was trying to sleep after a long overnight flight, and told him that a German shepherd had magically appeared at our doorsteps, and that we had to keep him, never mind that we already had two dogs and a cat.

As a military man would do, he sprung into action and made an efficient sign —“Lost puppy, inquire within”— and called animal control, while the kids and I chased the puppy around and yelled, “Rex ,come,” “Rex, sit,” “Rex, roll over” (not that these commands meant anything to the puppy who kept running in circles).

I wanted to keep Rex. I was hoping he didn’t have an owner, so I told my husband it was simply meant to be that I found Rex. Trying to temper my excitement, my hubby told me: a) Rex was female, and b) she had an owner somewhere. But I pressed on with my dream, making only the concession I would call her Rexa.

As I watched my husband lay out a plan to find the dog’s owner, I realized we couldn’t keep the dog, and my morning excitement and ability to ignore the fact that I had to focus on finding the owner were possible because I knew my husband would be there to do the right thing.

My exuberance was tempered by his rational demeanor. I focused on the fun aspect of finding the puppy while he focused on the practical aspect of finding the owner.

When my husband is deployed I am not as carefree, but because he was there I enjoyed my childhood dream of playing with Rex – OK, Rexa.

After a couple of hours, someone knocked at our door, and the owner, a nice lady, recognized the dog, Maggie, immediately. To my dismay, the dog clearly recognized her, too.

My husband will deploy again soon, and he is clearly concerned – with some reason – that he’ll return to find a house full of puppies. More likely though, when he leaves I will have to go back to taking on full control of our home and my impulses – including all the boring rationality involved.

Hum, it’s much more fun when he’s home.