I think someone is ready for their walk. The ne’er-do-well is nothing if not impatient.
I think someone is ready for their walk. The ne’er-do-well is nothing if not impatient.
My lovely daughter is 18 years old today – no longer my baby, at least in her eyes. I would beg to differ. At any rate, this is how we roll in our house with birthdays: an Always Sunny cake and Starbucks. With chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight, and Wonder Woman on the schedule for tomorrow, life is good. Happy Birthday Sarah!
Getting old sucks. Can we all just agree on that? Joints get achier. Skin gets looser. Lines form. It’s just a big ol’ mess. Sure, it’d be tougher to run a mile now than when I was 18 (if I ran at all, that is), but getting older isn’t all bad. Whenever I get a little down about the sands of time slipping through the hourglass, I can always look at my children and know that I’ve helped mold two people I could not be more proud of. They’re tolerant, compassionate, empathetic, decent, and just all around good human beings. So at least there’s that, I say to myself as I find yet another grey hair. These two are my crowning achievements, my purpose in life.
And, goodness, how fast time does fly! My son graduated high school 7 years ago and it feels like yesterday. Now, just like that, my daughter is graduating this week. It feels like that time passed in the blink of an eye. If there’s one thing I can criticize both her and my son for (and trust me, I do), it’s that they can both be rather disobedient. I told them years ago to stop growing, to just stay little, but they refused to listen. So, here I am, once again at the threshold of another child receiving a diploma. If they would just listen to their wise ol’ mother, we wouldn’t be in this mess again. On the contrary, we’d still be happily shopping in the Garanimals section of the department store with nary an argument on color or style to be had. Alas, time waits for no man. Or mother.
On top of graduating, my daughter also turns 18 in a few days. I know, right!? How dare she!? It’s quite the milestone and I wish the world for her. Not just in a philosophical “best of luck” kind of a way. I mean literally, I want her to have the world. To explore. To see new things. To travel. To meet new people. To let life be an experience with the entire world as the garden she frolics through. She is no doubt destined for great things, but I want her to delight in the path she chooses, to walk it with a profound sense of joy as well as purpose. Neither she nor her brother have yet to disappoint. I don’t expect either to start now.
So while it does suck getting old, it’s kind of worth it when you see what you’re letting loose on the world.
As I watch my dim cute dog barking ferociously from her position in the middle of the front yard, feet planted firmly, neck hair duly raised in alarm, I can’t help but hang my head in humorous frustration. For you see, it’s Sarah, my daughter, standing by the car in all her yellow-haired innocence that’s causing this canine uproar. Sarah. The one thing Petra loves more than food.
Knowing Sarah was out there, I let Petra out to ummm…you know…and rather than run to Sarah, as expected, when she was finished her business, she instead took up an “I must guard the house from this hitherto unknown and completely strange human person” stance. And I’m left standing here in the doorway thinking WTF? Once she braved the few feet to investigate the offending creature further, Petra was overjoyed to find it was her dear friend and nap pal, the purveyor of French fries.
I’m awed by the fact that Petra was brave enough to check out something that frightened her as she never would’ve done that when we first got her. I’m equally concerned that her eyesight is apparently becoming such that she couldn’t distinguish her friend no more than 10 feet away. Something that wasn’t a concern before.
So now I’m wondering…is it as my mother believes – that Petra was being a tattle-tale and telling on Sarah for being outside when, according to Petra’s sense of the rules, she shouldn’t have been? Or, did Petra really not recognize her? Or perhaps seeing Sarah out of her usual context sort of threw Petra off her game? OR is it more sinister than all of that?
Perhaps Petra saw the shell that we all believe to be Sarah but which has been taken over by an alien spore, demonic entity, or wayward ghost looking for a new home? Maybe I’m underestimating Petra’s keen powers of observation. Is it possible Petra can sense the evil lurking within? Now I just don’t know what to believe.
I mean, isn’t this how all the best horror movies start?
I gotta be honest with you guys – I have always had a hard time leaving behind the underdogs. I can’t turn my back on a runt, or the ones who need to be saved. This habit has no doubt penetrated the bubble of my personal life, I mean, just take a look through my past relationships and you’ll see that. If that doesn’t convince you, then maybe the ‘zoo’ I’m currently building – consisting of strays, rescues and neighborhood animals – will do the trick. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, this quirk of mine has been passed on to my daughter. My somewhat purposefully theatrical daughter.
You see, the other week we were at the grocery store, just doing some regular shopping – nothing new – and as I rooted through the cabbages looking for the perfect specimen, my eye caught sight of what had to be the smallest cabbage in the world. At least the smallest that I have ever seen.
Naturally, I brought this up to my daughter as an “oh, look at the cute little thing,” moment. Sarah on the other hand, having the uncanny knack of knowing just what to say at any given moment to give me pause, pointed out that she simply couldn’t believe I hadn’t picked out the diminutive veggie resting at the top of the pile.
She actually made me feel sorry that I had left him behind to fend for himself. Don’t tell me this girl can’t spin a tale. In great detail, she explained to me that everything in the world has a purpose, even this pocket-sized vegetable. Only no-one was likely to buy it since it’s so small and therefore it would be left behind to wither away and rot, never able to fulfill its purpose – that of being eaten…perhaps turned into a lovely veggie dish, or maybe a small serving of sauerkraut.
She was able to convince me that the life of this cabbage was some sort of Disney movie, and if I didn’t buy it and take it home, the little guy would never meet his happy ending. My daughter put it like this, everything has a purpose, and now this extraordinarily petite cabbage will never be able to fulfill his. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but seriously, I already feel guilty enough about all the other shit in life, I don’t need this too.
Needless to say, she successfully guilted me into going back to buy the wee little thing. What does that say about her? Hell, what does it say about me? And just what am I going to do with a baby cabbage?
I realize it’s not Thursday (as in “throwback Thursday), but I’m going to go on a brief nostalgic jaunt anyway. And as I was recently advised one can never post too many cat photos, well, we’ll just see about that.
In a previous lifetime, my family and I lived in a three-level duplex – and my daughter’s room was in the lower level. She was also addicted to Webkinz about this time. For those not aware of the Webkinz phenomenon, they are plushy, stuffed animals representing all types of species – most based on real animals, some on made-up creatures. Cute little buggers, if I do say so. If there was a Webkinz out in the world, it somehow found its way into our home. No worries…she has since been through an intervention and now only collects the absolute “must haves.”
Shaylee, our feline matriarch, was also addicted to Webkinz. As in, she liked to kidnap them and collect their bodies as trophies. Back in the day, Sarah stored her favorites in an old china hutch that had been revamped, repainted, and repurposed just for her collection. It was soon discovered that despite these precautions, no Webkinz was safe from Shaylee’s murderous proclivities. She would steal these poor Webkinz in the dark of night, climb the steps, and dump their bodies throughout the first floor.
Every morning we would awake to Webkinz bodies strewn about the house in various piles, with one usually being kept separate – her favorite of the previous night’s kills apparently. One night she had had a particularly productive killing spree because in the morning, along with her usual assortment of bodies amassed throughout the house, this industrious cat had at least 20 Webkinz in a single, forlorn heap at the top of the steps.
Like Sarah, Shaylee’s infatuation with Webkinz subsided to the point that they are (usually) safe atop their shelf. Currently, she is fascinated with crumpled up paper – Shaylee, not the daughter – much more than a cat has any right to be. If you crumple a piece of paper, the sound will find its way to Shaylee’s ever alert ears and she will run into the room with an expectant look on her face. Catches them in mid-air too. And she must keep them stashed somewhere because at night, this erstwhile Webkinz killer will bring random balls of crumpled paper to my daughter while she reads in bed and drop them in her lap. My cats are so weird.
To an outsider perhaps this looks like one of those “cutsie” moments in time where a kid and her pet are caught doing something adorable. Well, I’m here to tell you, I know this kid. And I know this cat. And they’re plotting something. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I am.