When Jacob and I were dating, I knew I was the boss. I always got my way, and he never even challenged any decision I made. Not once did he ever say “no” to me, and it stayed that way, until we were engaged, one month away from our wedding.
*Disclaimer* I am not proud of my actions in this story. Please don’t judge me. Actually, you know what? You can judge me. I’m ok with it. I judge myself.
We were at the local mall, shopping for the wedding. Right as we were about to head out, Jacob asked if I wanted to stop in the pet shop, and snuggle some puppies. And, um, yes. Always snuggle the puppies.
So, we start by casually browsing. We quickly passed by the rabbits, because, well… rabbits. We spent a little longer gushing over the fuzzy, little kittens, and watched them sweetly tumble over each other.
We finally made our way to the main event. Each adorable fur ball had their name and birthday posted on the door of their cage. Some yapped excitedly at us as we passed, while others sleepily dozed. Much like the Grinch, my heart was tripling in size, just at the sight of the pups.
I’m sure Jacob STILL regrets this innocent question he asked five years ago, “Do you want to play with one? There are rooms in the back. Pick a puppy!”
I felt the weight of this decision instantly. I needed to pick the perfect pup. Not too hyper, not too sleepy, fluffy, and definitely tiny. Like, put it in my pocket tiny.
Then I saw him. In the window, there was an open corral, with two little fur balls running around. They looked like the same breed, maybe a Peak-a-poo? Or Chi-a-teese? Or Pug-a-neese? These aren’t real breeds, but you get it. The one in particular made my heart melt, and I pointed to him.
“I want to play with that one. Pepé.”
Cut to the playroom. Pepé cried every time I tried to place him on the ground. When I cradled him, he nuzzled right in, and I swear he whispered, “You are my mom.”
“I need this dog. I am not leaving without him.”
And then it happened. Jacob put his foot down for the first time in two years. “No. Absolutely not.”
“I don’t think you heard me right. I will not leave this store without Pepé.”
Jacob cracked the door and shouted out, “Can I get somebody back here? We’re finished playing with this dog! We have to leave!”
When the pet shop employee entered the room, I pulled out my first, and usually most effective weapon, charm. I flashed them a huge smile, “We really want to buy this little guy! Look how happy he is! Mommy’s never leaving you, isn’t that right?!”
At that point, Jacob was literally prying the dog from my grip, and handing the dog off.
“We’re just going to need a minute in here,” I smile at the employee again.
“We actually don’t need a minute. Thank you. Have a good night.” And he started walking away, winding back through the cats, coming up on the rabbits.
He can’t be serious. He is honestly saying “no?” He obviously didn’t hear that I wanted Pepé.
“I told you, I’m not leaving without Pepé.” As I yelled across the store, I threw our shopping bags on the ground, crossed my arms, and glared in Jake’s direction. At this point, everyone was staring. I didn’t care.
Jacob simply turned towards to exit and kept walking. I was shocked. Baffled. Confused. Who was this man? How dare he say no, TO ME! But, because he was really leaving, I had to swallow my pride, pick up the bags, and head after him.
When I caught up to him, I continued to push the issue. Relentlessly, I told him I wasn’t leaving the mall without my baby.
As we approached the exit, he turned to me, and very gently addressed me, “Erin. We cannot get a dog. We are getting married in a month, and buying a new house. Plus, we can’t afford it.”
I responded by taking the car keys out of my purse, and throwing them across the floor of the mall.
Once again, Jacob turned towards the exit, and walked away. And once again, I was forced to swallow my pride, and pick up the keys.
It was a long, quiet drive home.
The events of this day taught me a couple things. Buying a pet shop dog would have been a terrible decision for us, but I lose all ability to reason when someone hands me an puppy. I also realized that I am not the one who wears the pants in our relationship. Jacob just lets me think I do. All it took was a full blown, adult temper tantrum to make me see that, and it makes me love him more.