OPINION: Anger from fear and worry

Monday 23 November 2020 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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OPINION: Anger from fear and worry
Transporting dogs around Rarotonga can be hectic, writes Ruta Tangiiau Mavé. 18010110

People attack rather than embrace, and they end up with miscommunication and distrust, writes People attack rather than embrace, and they end up with miscommunication and distrust. By Ruta Tangiiau Mavé.

As the eldest of five children, the family Sunday drive was always a cacophony of chaos and quibbling. Diverse personalities, alliances made and broken, lines drawn and crossed eventuated in ultimatums from the front seat of “Stop this bickering right now, or don’t make me stop the car…” A wayward arm would fly blindly from the front and usually clip someone, who would protest it wasn’t them and in turn cause another round of WW3. 

These childhood memories are why I’m not a mother of five children. Two were enough, one for each window seat and space between, meant drives were blissfully peaceful when I sat in front driving. I haven’t applied this lesson with the dogs. Four of them, from two houses. Tipu the old one, I’d thought a euthanasia candidate has miraculously improved, with steroids and having a young female Lily keeping him company, Roxy second eldest, fluffy white Princess and Nelo, the pup, all tongue, teeth, legs, and little brain.

Taking all four in the back of Aunty’s small car is a flashback but I’m the one in the front yelling, ‘stop that fighting, don’t make me stop the car!’ I wave not my arm but a tin with stones in it to shut them up. At the beach they’re out and off, them charging ahead, me shaking my damn can to break up the fights, all in good fun they assure me.

Back at the car, up goes the hatch, in jump the dogs, then starts the puffing, panting and fighting for the window seat. I drop two dogs at Aunty’s, drive home out jumps Roxy, no pup! What? I drive to Aunty’s, ‘did she jump out there?’ I drive around the block, I drive back, nothing. I spend the rest of my weekend driving back and forth retracing my steps to the beach and back, I talk to shops, resort workers, neighbouring houses, I drive, whistle and call, I shake my can, I’m like the movie ‘Warriors, come out and play…..’ nothing.

I post on Facebook, ring SPCA and Te Are Manu. My son goes out looking, after all it’s his pup, I’m just the one who feeds, walks, trains and apparently loses it. Home’s quiet, shoes remain by the door, the dogs are on good behaviour, because ‘hey, she got rid of the pup, we could be next!’  I’m worried. At 5.30am I’m up combing the streets and Facebook, for sightings. Monday, I see a post, there’s Nelo, yay! She’s found, she’s tentative, her face says ‘Am I in trouble?’ She plays submissive to me, alpha dog and rolls onto her back, looks okay for her two nights adventure, I pat her tummy and carry her back, to a prodigal son welcome. Then peace is no longer, Nelo’s back, barking, play fighting, muddy footprints and my jandal is missing. 

Now, when our teenagers are late home, we can troll the streets, Facebook messenger, worried but when they return there’s no ‘fatted calf’ – it’s all anger from fear and worry, so we attack rather than embrace, and we end up with miscommunication and distrust. What if we welcome them as the parable says, the same as we do a lost pup? What if we show we care before we admit to our despair?

Let’s hug them first saying ‘I’m glad you’re safe’ then admit our anger is from our own fears and worry, because we do care. They are lucky because many children live with violence or non-caring parents. Then ground their sorry butts for stressing you out and adding 10 years to your hair colour.