Mourning the Loss of Wisdom

I would say I’m sorry for not posting in a couple of days, but frankly, I’m just too tired for guilt. Between working and my caregiver gig the past several days, my usually snarky self is just plain pooped. But this week’s experience has inspired me to write about a subject I’ve had an issue with for a while now. Aren’t ya’ll lucky?

We’ve all seen the posts and videos made of family and friends, all doped up on pain medication after a surgical procedure.  I may be in the minority here, but I’ve never found them funny, and this week it struck me exactly why I don’t.

My daughter had all four wisdom teeth removed this past week.  Hers wasn’t an easy extraction; the way her teeth were placed – she had roots growing into her sinuses among other serious problems – required an oral surgeon.  She was under the influence of some pretty heavy medications during the procedure, and is on more medications now.

My daughter wasn’t exceptionally loopy, just very chatty. Ironic, I know given her mouth was so sore. We had joked about it prior to the procedure – the video blogging I mean. But it didn’t even cross my mind to take footage of her discomfort.  I was too concerned over her wellbeing. Then, it dawned on me; what a spectacular invasion of privacy to video someone on medication and then publish the video.  Granted, my daughter knows I write about her in my blog, but we agree on what I can and cannot publish.

No matter how loopy or goofy she had been, my cell phone would have stayed right in my pocket.  Seriously; who DOES this?  She needed me the most at that moment in time.  She needed to know that she could count on me to take care of her and especially that I would never post anything embarrassing for the world to see, for her friends and complete strangers to make fun of, or even to look back on and remember how uncomfortable – how downright painful – the day had been for her.

I suppose some of the people in these trending videos may have given permission beforehand.  If they didn’t, though, what does that say about the person videotaping?  With friends like that, who needs enemies? What about the parents gleefully posting pics of their small children all doped up?  Is this cute, or creepy? Or worse, does it show an inherent meanstreak?

Now I certainly will make a mental note of my daughter’s ramblings, and maybe even bring them up at a future date to ensure compliance in some matter or the other. (Never said I was perfect, folks!) But to post a video of it on Facebook? No thanks. The only reason to post it would be for laughs or attention. I guess I don’t really find that sort of thing funny. In fact, I find it kind of mean.

What do you all think of the trend of posting these types of videos?  Feel free to comment; as for me, I need to go.  Good old Chipmunk Cheeks is asking for some soup.

Feed Me

The overwrought parent. It’s an ageless and timeless trope that has been milked for easy jokes on dozens if not hundreds of sitcoms for decades now. The kids come home from college and the mom immediately rushes up to her son or daughter, clawing at their clothing while wailing about how they’re nothing but skin and bones. The mom then makes it her duty to whip up a hearty dinner of meat stew and potatoes to try to fatten her kids up before sending them back off to that barren wasteland known as University.

How many times have I rolled my eyes whenever I saw a mother portrayed that way? I’d think to myself, The kids are fine. Settle down. They’re 20 years old; they know how to find food for the love of God! Little did I know that I was bound for the same fate; my course having been set even before I was born, and now I have finally arrived at that echelon of motherhood teeming with irrational anxiety that for some reason my kids have lost any ability to live independently and will die without my assistance.  Whew. Okay. Breathe.

My grandmother used to always push food on us like we had been locked in the Oliver Twist orphanage for decades on end. The funny thing is that she didn’t do this to us when we were kids, only when we were full-fledged grown-ups coming to visit. I guess that as a child she figured my mom would ensure we were fed. Maybe she thought the older I got, the less likely I would be lucky enough to find someone willing to give me food (because for some reason I don’t have the ability to do it myself). So, me as an adult, I’d come by to say hello and she’d cook for me (always) and even insist that I take food home with me.

I remember she did the same thing to my mother.   A sandwich for the road…biscuits for later…a piece of that fine ham she had for dinner.  It was simply impossible to leave the house without something wrapped in foil or stuffed in Tupperware.

Then it was my mom’s turn. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but she hit a certain age and boom, she fell right in step. Sometimes when I leave her house after a visit it’s like I was just at the Whole Foods store. Balanced in my arms are loaves of bread, canned goods, sweets, and frozen meat (yes, frozen meat). Bless her heart.

Ridiculous, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought.  But the virus has taken over my brain too! My poor son. He’s 22 — a man in the eyes of the law—and has moved into his own place, but he’s still in that “new adult” stage; scraping for cash, trying to get on his own two feet. When he comes to visit I feel that it is my maternal obligation to fill his belly with as much food as I can. I constantly tell him to ransack the place, rummage through the cupboards, take anything. I’m pushing food on him like the generations of mad women before me.

Except now I understand that it’s not that we don’t have faith that our kids can live on their own…it’s just that if we know they’re fed…if we can do that one small thing for them… then we figure they can handle the rest of life on their own. And really, money does play a part in it. I would rather my son ransack my cabinets than live on only Ramen for the week. I know my mom feels the same way about me and that’s why she lets me grocery shop in her cupboards.

We can’t solve all of their problems and we can’t “fix” everything no matter how much we want to. But we can feed them. We can make sure that one primary need is filled. So we can worry about them a little less. Knowing that makes me feel a little less crazy. A little.

Lad of Sunnybank

As I’m sure most of you are aware, I kinda like animals. Shocking, right? Someone call the paper, we have a breaking story: Wendy is a Fan of Animals. I know, I know, old news. But recently, on my weekly trip to the library, I came across a book I hadn’t seen in years.  And this unexpected trip down memory lane prompted the realization that this deep, undying appreciation for animals has been a part of me, woven into my DNA one might say, ever since childhood. You see, this love didn’t come when I was a teenager and had to dissect a pig in Biology class nor did it develop after some terribly traumatic experience forced me to re-think my stance on animal protection. It has, apparently, just always been there.

How do I know? One word: Lad. When I was a kid I loved this one book about a dog named Lad — written by Albert Payson Terhune way back in the day (1929). Lad of Sunnybank. Maybe you’ve heard of it. There were several books in Terhune’s series about the dogs of Sunnybank, but this one was my favorite.  All of them were about pretty much the same thing: Lad the Collie goes on adventures, protects the estate, and spreads his canine loyalty and kindness to others in typical Collie fashion. Very heartwarming stuff and based on a real dog (even better, right!?).

Lad of Sunnybank

Lad of Sunnybank

In one of the stories, Lad finds a baby raccoon alone and hurt in the woods and takes it home to the Mistress (because she was the go-to person in times of need). The raccoon (whom the Mistress names Ramses) is tended to and rehabilitates under the care of the Mistress and Lad (aww!). Lad protects the raccoon whenever trouble rears its ugly head. Hey, it’s a kid’s story, what do you want? Pretty basic stuff here but I loved it.

Just like any story, Sunnybank had a villain. It was the next door neighbor who thought Ramses was a pest and decided that he must be done away with by any means necessary (insert evil mmmwhahahaha laugh here). Now, when I say next door neighbor, I don’t mean in an urban sprawl kind of way where your neighbor is like right there in your backyard…no, we’re talking rural, miles wide estate kind of way.  But still.  His neighbor having a pet raccoon apparently just annoyed this guy to no end. So what does he do? He puts crushed shards of glass in some chopped meat and sets it out in the woods for Ramses to find.

A little Raccoon 101 for some of you (something the evil neighbor apparently wasn’t privy to): raccoons are quite fastidious and often clean (or “douse”) their food before eating it, vigorously rubbing it between their paws or washing it in water to get off dirt and whatnot. That’s exactly what Ramses did…and it ended up cutting his hands to ribbons.

A raccoon we will call Ramses

A raccoon we will call Ramses

The whole idea just gave me a sickening ache in my stomach. Not the gore or blood so much as the cruelty. The idea that someone could hurt another living thing so badly pulled at a part of my heart unlike anything else. Add to that the confusion on the part of the animal. Ramses had no idea why all of a sudden he was bleeding, in pain, punished. There was only confusion…massive confusion… as he stared at his hands and tried to understand the reason behind pain. I think of this when I come across any story of abused animals. They have no clue why these terrible things are happening. They’re just trying to live, to eat, to be.

Even as an adult the story of Ramses disturbs me.  Maybe because I know too many real-life stories that are just as bad and worse. Seeing this book and remembering Ramses served to remind me that long before getting into the line of work I’m in now, back when I was that little girl reading Sunnybank for the first time, the thought of abused animals held a special place within me and my love for animals has only grown as the years go on.

This is Lad -- to find out more about the dogs of Sunnybank, click the photo

The real-life Lad — to find out more about the dogs of Sunnybank, click the photo