Changing of the guard

I have bragged about my good stock. Nothing I have anything to do with, but just my luck. My father’s side, the Italians, are some sturdy folk. My gram made it to 98 and a half, and was pretty razor sharp up until the last several years.

My father is 86 and the second youngest of seven children, and he is still around (thankfully). All of his siblings were still around until only recently, and now the shift has begun. My oldest aunt died within the last year, and now we received news that another of my aunts has gone. It’s not unexpected, they are all in their 80s and 90s–but it is a blow.

The tide is changing; the old guard is moving on.

I feel a need to get the stories from my dad before they are lost. What don’t I know? In the last few months his health has been precarious and I have spent more time with him because of this. I heard stories I’d never heard before, and I realize it’s a dance of asking the right questions, him being in the right mood or right frame of mind to open up. When you’re young, you don’t know anything about your parents. If they are around when you mature, you begin to realize that your own story is intrinsically connected to theirs. You have their hands, their eyes, their skin color, their mannerisms, the sound of their voice even, their quirks. To know them is to know yourself.

My mother died too young and I feel that broken connection, the loss of not getting to know her as a woman beyond being my mother. I don’t want to lose this opportunity with my father. I’m mature enough to want to go there with him.


Quiet reflection

When I get too busy, I lay low, kind of disappear, shut down a bit, buckle down, get the thing done that I need to get done. I’m a yes-girl. I never want to let anyone down, so I say yes too often. I’m not trying to complain about this–it’s my nature and I’m okay with it. But sometimes I need to realize my limits, say no once in a while, and focus on my self, my needs, my stuff.

I had to slow down a bit this past week when my dog, who turns 11 this month, spent the day at the vet getting a major tune up. She was put under and her teeth were cleaned, with eight removed (she has plenty left). She also had three masses removed. I didn’t have these masses sent to the lab for many reasons, one being the extra cost and another being that I won’t put her through treatment if they are cancer.

I got her home late that night and, although they explained how she would behave coming out of the anesthesia (the vets and everyone at the clinic were wonderful), I wasn’t emotionally prepared for it. I spent a rough night on the couch as close as I could get to her, with her vocalizing and seeming completely out of it, and me constantly worried and checking that she was breathing every moment she was quiet. By early morning, though, it was apparent that she was going to be just fine.

Of course I have spoiled her all week and I am ever so grateful that I work from home and could keep a close eye on her. Each day has been better than the one before it. Today she played, and maybe even ran around too much for someone with stitches in three places, one of these being the thin skin of her belly. I’ve opened cans of the most foul-smelling things, fed her freeze-dried raw meats and organs and bone meal (and I’m a vegetarian). Love doesn’t even come close to what I feel for this being, and my gratefulness for her well-being feels a bit overwhelming.

In the relative quiet of this still-busy week, though, I feel a little bit of a reconnection with myself, with what’s important, with where I’m going. Maybe a little more no. Maybe a little more time with my dog and the people that are important to me, a little less time behind my computer. I’ll try, anyway.

lounging, day before surgery