Posts Tagged With: memories

grade 6

this rascal is going into grade 6

this rascal is going into grade 6

A new school year starts tomorrow. BoyGenius is going into grade 6. The speed with which these kids grow up is almost surreal. Grade 6! I know we’ve done all the years, all the grades, but it still seems like there are a lot of holes — like we’ve skipped stuff. I know we haven’t; I know we live in different times, a different age than the one I grew up in, and as such BoyGenius’ childhood will be, must be different than the one I had. But does it have to go so fast? Did mine?

I think perhaps that when you are the child and you are living those years they aren’t as swift as when you are the parent. I certainly never felt like my childhood was slipping through my fingers; I remember something about every year, I think. I know that summers were long and hot and winters were long and snowy and school was something you went to every day and, for my part, anyway, enjoyed. I like to think that BoyGenius is having those same experiences, even if the events are different. He had two things he wanted to do this summer (neither of which happened): go to New York and go to Los Angeles. He went to summer camp and spent seemingly endless hours on his new gaming computer. We went to the beach a record low (for us) number of times but he was content with what he was doing. We did stuff, we just didn’t pack the weeks with outings. I’m the one feeling like we didn’t “accomplish” much, not him. He was happy. He is happy. HE IS HAPPY.

When I tucked him into bed tonight I asked him if there was any grade 6 “stuff” he needed me to tell him. He chuckled and said no. I asked him if he was excited for tomorrow. He chuckled again and said, “No, it’s school.” I asked if he was nervous, he laughed and said, “No, it’s school!” I said “Good.” I reminded him that he can talk to us about anything; if anything is unfair at school, or if there are any issues or problems with students or teachers, or anything at all he can come and tell me about it. He said, “Yes, I know.” All right, then. I kissed his newly shaved head (just the left side) and said good night. He seems happy.

This. This “no worries” attitude towards school starting. That’s all I need. That’s how I felt as a child: summer ends, school starts, no big whoop. He is happy. I am happy. HardWorker has a bit of anxiety (but that’s par for the course). In think we’re doing just fine.

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It’s raining. The gloriously heavy, warm-weathered, bright-sky-with-big-dark-clouds kind of rain of impossibly large drops that we used to enjoy when I was little. My brothers and I would be outside in our bathing suits and flip-flops or rubber boots getting soaked and squealing & laughing with delight. Sitting on the curb or dancing in the yard or splashing in the gulleys that ran as fast as they could to the nearest storm drain.

Thunder rumbles in the distance. The downspouts are flowing like fountains. The still hot pavement and steaming shingles smell like summer. The rain stops, the sky brightens. Until the next wave.

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if it’s Tuesday this must be poetry …

you come to me

you come to me from time to time
with neither reason nor with rhyme
you come to me in memories
you come to me in dreams
you come to me and fill me up
until I’m bursting at the seams
you come to me on starry nights
on gloomy days devoid of light
you come to me with sparkling eyes
if I hold my breath I can hear your sighs
you come to me and whisper soft
those words of love keep my soul aloft
you come to me — is it your intent
my sanity to steal?
you’ve already taken all my heart
won’t you come to me for real?

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twenty years

Let me preface this by wishing all of you a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate). My most fervent wish for everyone I know (IRL and IVR {in virtual reality}) is that we all stay happy and healthy, and help each other through whatever struggles we may encounter. Love, love, love all around!

Now. Twenty years.

Twenty years ago today we checked my brother BlueEyes out of the hospital and took him home to celebrate Christmas Eve. Yes, we knew it was already Christmas Day. He didn’t. I can’t even tell you how we all got to his apartment, but we did. We helped him through the lobby of his building, into the elevator and into his apartment. I set up the little Christmas tree I had somehow brought from my house, we got him into his silk pyjamas and he held court from his comfy wing chair. While we were waiting for the oxygen delivery the hospital had arranged he made us find and distribute the gifts that he had for each of us, slowly and painstakingly explaining why he had chosen each one.

Once the oxygen arrived we put him to bed and got him hooked up. I think my parents and my brother SkinnyGuy left. I think I stayed with BlueEyes and his boyfriend. I think.

I know that we had 4 more days. I don’t really know what happened during those days. I think I went to work. Maybe. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is what I do remember. This day. Twenty years ago. Christmas has never been the same.

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my friend Gord

When my son was three years old, he attended a little “pre-school” learning programme offered by our town’s recreation department. It was, and still is, aptly titled “Ready, Set, School!” and is held at our local community centre. Our neighbourhood’s community centre shares space with our neighbourhood school. Children from every area of our town sign up for this particular programme; it’s very popular and we were lucky to get space. The great thing for those of us who live “in area” is that not only are our kids getting ready for school but they are getting accustomed to the very surroundings they will be spending the next 10 years of their lives in. It’s fantastic.

One day, when HardWorker and I were both attending a special Mothers’ Day Tea that is held in May, the pre-schoolers were “interrupted” by a visit from the school custodian. He was a familiar enough face to the kids, as he would come in once in awhile to check on the a/c or clean up a spill in the shared space. I guess some of the moms that were attending this special tea had a questioning look on their faces (something in the way of “who is this strange man who just walks in?”) because one of the teachers had just begun to introduce him to the parents when BoyGenius jumped up from the table, ran over and enveloped this man’s legs in a huge bear hug, very loudly proclaiming, “I love you, Mr. Gord!” The man smiled, looked at us to see if we were okay and seeing that we were, hugged back and said, “I love you, too, BG.”

That was the moment this man became my friend Gord. He saw 350+ children every day, and had for more than 20 years. He saw these pre-schoolers maybe once a week. He knew my son’s name.

As it turned out, Gord and HardWorker had met that previous winter, both taking the same night course offered by a local college. He spoke with us at length that day, wanting to be sure we were okay with him hugging our son, concerned that in this day and age one had to be so careful with showing affection. Aware that many parents wouldn’t like to hear him say he loved their child. He did, though. He loved them all. Every.Single.One.

Over the next 6 years, Gord would often recall that day and he would always tell me, “I’m sorry, but if those kids tell me they love me, I’m going to tell them right back,” or “I know you have to be so careful, but I’m not going to deny any child a hug.”

When BoyGenius started Junior Kindergarten he was very happy that he would get to see Mr. Gord every day. By Senior Kindergarten he started calling Mr. M by his ‘real’ name. In Kindergarten my son decided he wanted to have long hair. By SK his hair was halfway down his back and Gord often asked that BG keep him in mind when he decided to cut it, as Gord’s own hair was thinning. BoyGenius just smiled, never committing. He did cut it, the summer before Grade One. Gord asked him once what had happened to the hair they cut off? Wasn’t BG supposed to save it for him? BoyGenius just smiled. Gord smiled back. By Grade Two, BoyGenius had decided he would grow his hair long again. Gord was happy, mentioning only once or twice a year that he hoped BG would remember him if he ever cut it again. Once, in Grade Three, when a totally follically-challenged colleague of HardWorker’s asked BoyGenius the same thing, if he would give him his hair when he cut it, BoyGenius very quickly answered, “No, I already have a deal with someone else.” When I told Gord about this, he was over the moon and smiled for about a week; told me again how much he loved my son.

Gord told me more than once that even though he would be retired by then, he would be coming back to the school to see BoyGenius graduate. And if you knew Gord at all, you know that he would have been there. No doubt about it.

When Gord first got sick he underwent all the necessary treatments and couldn’t wait to get back to work. He did it. He came back. He needed to. Gord was worried that if he wasn’t able to come back to school/work as soon as he wanted, depression would begin to take hold. It wasn’t so much the fact that he had cancer that might set it off, but the fact that he wasn’t able to do the things that gave him joy. That he couldn’t be fully “there” for his family, his friends, his job, his school, his co-workers, his students. I’m sure there were dark moments still, but Gord felt better being able to come back to work. When the cancer launched another attack on his body, Gord remained upbeat, telling anyone who cared to ask that although he was having a set-back, or there was some new, strange, niggling symptom that cropped up just to irritate him, he was going to beat this disease. He certainly tried. When I last saw him in July, he told me, “Yes, another two or three chemo treatments and then I’ll have time to strengthen up.” He was weak, and tired. He smiled, I smiled. BoyGenius and I both took his hand. Gord and I both cried a bit.

Gord was a man who loved his family, his friends, his co-workers, his job, his school, his students. He often spoke of his wife and sons, told us how proud he was to have such a great family. To the end of his life he praised his wife, told me (and others, I’m sure) of how wonderful she was. He was so happy to have gained a granddaughter when one of his sons started seeing a woman with a little girl. He was nervous, he told me, so hopeful that their relationship would work out because he already loved this child. Gord was a hard-worker, proud of our school, proud of the staff and students, proud of his profession; he was a great advocate for his fellow union members; he was so appreciative and spoke highly of those who worked with him. If something needed tending to at the school, Gord would take care of it. If you had any questions about where something was located, Gord knew the answer. If you needed an extra person to volunteer to receive a whipped-cream pie in the face at our annual Fun Fair fundraiser, Gord was your man. If any of the kids needed a little steering in the right direction after taking a wrong turn, Gord would be happy to find jobs for them to do, a little something to divert them, as it were. This man had a smile, a hug, a laugh, AND TIME for everyone; he had a sparkle in his eyes and love and joy in his heart. This man also suffered from depression and anxiety. He didn’t hide it. He wasn’t too proud to let people know. Our world would be a much better place if all men took heed and strived to be the kind of man that Gord was.

The last two days, BoyGenius has been having trouble with his shoes being missing when he goes into school in the morning. He’s been finding them in the lost and found. Apparently the janitor is just sweeping them up from under his hook. I suggested he put them on the shelf above his hook. He says “but everybody’s shoes are under their hook. It’s just mine that end up in the lost and found.” I smiled a little to myself when he said this but I thought, no, I’m not going to say what I’m thinking. Then BoyGenius says, “Maybe it’s Mr. M’s ghost!” followed a couple of minutes later by, “I don’t know why he would be haunting me.”

I smiled and chuckled. “Because he loves you.”

I miss you. And I love you, Mr. Gord.

Categories: family, friendship, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“it hurts”

“It hurts!” BoyGenius is holding his head, crying, sitting in front of the toilet, and between sobs he’s wailing “it hurts.” In his wretched, pitiful little voice I hear myself at the same age and I feel as helpless as my mother must have felt back then.

BoyGenius went up to bed at 9pm and awakes around 12:30am, the night leading up to Mothers’ Day, with a migraine. I can’t actually do anything to help him. Oh, I try. I give him a gravol and an ibuprofen even though I know it’s too late for them to help. I give him a cold washcloth and do most of the holding of it as it rests on his forehead. I tie his hair back into a loose ponytail so it doesn’t get covered in the vomit that will inevitably come. I murmur “I know, baby, I know,” as if hearing that between his own “it hurts” will be of some comfort.

And it’s true. I know. I have migraines. They started when I was about 7 or 8. BoyGenius’ started when he was 6 or 7. He got them from me. I got them from my dad. Dad got them from his mother. I don’t know which of her parents my grandmother got them from. My brothers were mostly spared, SkinnyGuy not really having any and BlueEyes suffering only once or twice. My cousins from my dad’s side got off scott-free, but their kids managed to keep the generational hand-me-down going.

But I digress. I manage to convince my little bundle of misery that we should move to the bed; it’ll be much more comfortable than the bathroom floor and I’ll have a bucket handy for the vomit that will inevitably come. I try to get him to lay still but he keeps twisting back and forth holding his head tight and sobbing. “It hurts. Oh. Owwwww. It hurts.” At one point he’s knocking on his head with his knuckles and I’m almost ready to take him to the ER. Then the inevitable happens. It comes in waves, with head pounding the whole time, 5 minute breaks in between, head still pounding for the most part. About half an hour into it the ibuprofen comes up, still a perfect little caplet form. I try to give him the benefit of my 40 years of experience with this beast and get some ginger ale into him. He doesn’t yet understand that the throwing up doesn’t stop just because your stomach’s empty. Doesn’t yet know that ginger ale coming up and out tastes infinitely better than bile. He also doesn’t know that those little breaks in the throwing up are a particularly cruel joke. You just about manage to doze off. There seems to be a lull in the pounding, even. Maybe it’s over. You open your eyes or move a toe or just blink. BLAM! Jackhammer starts and you better sit up quick ’cause here it comes again.

At about 1:15am he bolts up and heads to the bathroom. I take off after him and see that he’s sitting on the toilet. I put the bucket beside him and rewet the facecloth so it’s nice and cold. I notice he’s falling asleep, trying to rest his head against the seat lid behind him. He drifts off for a few seconds but that heavy-head-jerk (you know the one) wakes him back up. He takes the washcloth and wedges it between the base of his skull and toilet seat lid as a kind of pillow and catches a few winks. I ask every once in awhile if he’s ready to go back to bed but he keeps saying no. I talk him into believing he’s done on the toilet and direct him back to the bedroom. The bucket is still handy but I know that if he’s been able to get off the bed and into the bathroom and back to bed without having to throw up then that part’s over.

His little body is exhausted. He says his head still hurts but I can tell that even that is subsiding. He’s no longer rocking back and forth in agony. He’s able to close his eyes peacefully, no longer squeezing them shut against the pain. For this I am thankful. I breathe a little easier. I have been through this all before, from both sides, and I know that I will be here again. I know that I will feel just as helpless the next time a migraine makes itself at home in my house; less so if it’s my turn.

As I sit beside BoyGenius in the wee early hours of Mothers’ Day, watching over him, waiting to hear deep, even breaths replace the ragged, raspy ones from earlier I can’t help but think of Sheila and Kate, two moms whose blogs I read/follow, who have known much greater anguish than what I have gone through tonight. I don’t know them personally, face to face, but I know their stories. I send love and strength out through the universe to both of them.

It’s Mothers’ Day. BoyGenius gets up at about 7:30am. He tells me he’s fine, heads downstairs and lets me sleep. Life is good. I am thankful. Again. And again.

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How special are birthdays to you? How long do your celebrations last? The thought of birthdays has been on my mind lately since so many of my friends and family have October birthdays. Best month of the year!

I like to celebrate for about a week. It’s only fair, sometimes my birthday falls in the middle of the week. Hard to go for dinner and drinks on a school night. I like the idea of getting together with friends and having a night out. Other than that, I don’t make too big a deal. Except for the fact that it’s my birthday. And it goes on for at least a week.

I told my mother last week not to worry that she hadn’t posted her card for me yet. That it didn’t matter if it got here on time. She begged to differ. She says it’s one of the most special days there is; after all, it’s the day she had her only daughter. From a parental point of view I get it. I understand what she’s saying. I feel the same way about BoyGenius’ birthday. He deserves to know that his birthday, the day he was born, was the best day of my life.

When it comes to my own birthday I don’t care so much. It’s no big deal. HardWorker and I decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t buy each other gifts because a) we usually buy ourselves what we want when we want it and 2) we don’t really know for sure what we would get because a) … and so on and so on. My brother SkinnyGuy used to bring me a cake at work. My brother BlueEyes used to be away a lot (flight attendant) but he would make a big deal when he came back: snacks from Japan, wine & chocolate from Germany, sweaters from Peru. My mom and dad would mail cookies to the office. That’s right. I was special. I am special.

feel the love!

So anyway, tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be another year older but that’s a good thing (just think of the alternative!). I’ve got things I hope to accomplish in my new year. Some of them will need to be addressed this month still/already. I won’t feel any older, I don’t know if I’ll feel any wiser; but I will be glad I’m here, able to share another year with my son, my partner, my mother, my brother, my cousins and their children and grandchildren, my childhood friends, my work friends, my new friends, all their children, my online friends & their children, and all the friends I have yet to meet; allowed to enjoy the sights and sounds of the world around me; gifted with the privilege of feeling the love and joy that I have to offer bubble up inside me and vibrate out to the universe.

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what if I’m wrong?

What if I really don’t know what I’m doing? Am I a good mother, a good parent? Am I giving BoyGenius everything he needs to get by in life, to survive, to thrive, to become a sensitive, caring adult?

I try to give him what I think is right, to teach him how to behave, how to think for himself. I think I’m allowing his self-confidence to grow while holding him tight enough to still feel connected. Every once in awhile I wonder if I’m doing the right thing(s).

Should I be cutting the crusts off of BoyGenius’ sandwiches or should I be making him eat them? Should I leave the mushrooms or the stuffing off of his plate because I know he doesn’t like them or should I keep serving him everything we have even though I know he’s not going to eat it?

Is it wrong that BoyGenius watched Irish movies with me (“they sure say ‘fook’ a lot!”) when he was 3 or 4? Should Scott Pilgrim vs. the World have become his favourite movie at age 6? How do I know? Does he know there are ‘bad’ words? Yes. Does he use them? No. Is it wrong that BoyGenius tried to explain the facts of life to his school friend at age 4 (“isn’t that right Mama, the girl has the seed and the boy has the egg?”)? Sure, he was a little mixed up but boy was I ever proud of him for being on the right track!

Are HardWorker and I giving him the best home, the best family? Is it right that I’m not working? Should our home be immaculate? Does he have too much stuff, too many toys? Is he eating enough fruit and veg; too much cheese? Does he drink enough milk? Should he be outside more? Is it wrong to let him play at the park every day after school? Do we stay too long or not long enough? Are we eating too late because we stayed at the park or went to a friend’s house? Should dinner be ready every day at 5pm even though HardWorker doesn’t make it home until 6:30 or later? Should I wait and start dinner when we’re all here? Does consistent bedtime leave room for any negotiation or is it a hard and fast line?

Should I be at the school more or less? Do I know my child well enough to know which teacher will give him the best opportunity for learning? I think so. Should I be ensuring that he gets placed with that teacher or should I always wait and see and let him tough it out if it’s not a good fit? (Having been through a horrendous time in grade 1 I know what my answer to this is.)

… yes, he actually IS sitting on a twig …

BoyGenius has broken his arm 1-2 times (depends on which Dr and which x-ray you see). Should I stop him from jumping off the swings or should I demonstrate the proper take-off and landing techniques? Is there anything wrong with letting him climb trees? I know he sits on tiny little branches that look like they won’t hold a squirrel let alone a 60+ pound boy but he rocks that perch like it’s a lounge chair! He climbs the soccer goals (sans nets) on the local field and then shimmies along the cross bar and back, then hangs upside down and waves before flipping back up and sliding down using a combination koala grip/firefighter style. Just about every time we pass the baseball diamond in the schoolyard he’s climbed up to the top of the backstop in a matter of seconds. “How does he get up there?” “Is he allowed to climb up there?” “Why do you let him do that?” “What if he falls?” These are questions from kids; the parents just shake their heads. If I ask him not to go too near the edge where the fencing is loose, he listens. If I ask him not to attempt the open crossing between the top of the backstop and the neighbouring fence he listens … most of the time. Mostly what I tell him is to be careful. He is. What I told him originally was “go ahead and climb, pretty soon your feet won’t fit in the chain link and you won’t be able to get a grip.” Was that not the right thing to do?

Is it okay to let him grow his hair long or not? Does it matter that he mismatches his socks on purpose (but has a method to it)? Should I care that he likes to wear his shirts inside out every once in awhile? Does the fact that I let him do all of these things make me a good parent or a bad one? We never wore our clothes inside out … we probably would have been told not to, but I don’t believe the thought ever occurred to us in the first place. We climbed trees. We jumped off swings (when we weren’t hanging upside down from them). Were my parents good parents? Looking back, I’d say yes and I’d say it wholeheartedly without hesitation. Did I ever give it any thought when I was a child? No. Did we fight with them because they didn’t let us do things? No. Did we ever question whether they knew what they were doing? No. Did they ever question if they were doing the right thing(s)? I don’t know. They didn’t ever seem unsure or confused. I’ll have to ask my mom about it sometime.

BoyGenius is a caring, sensitive, loving child. He isn’t just smart, he’s clever and witty and sometimes eerily aware of things I don’t think he could possibly know. He scares me. Well, I don’t know if that’s quite right; his future scares me. What if I make the wrong decision about letting him stay at a birthday party by himself? What if he loses his grip while sliding down the banister? What if I’m not teaching him the right things? What happens when he gets picked on for having two moms instead of everyone thinking it’s cool? Who am I to have made that decision about having a baby? What if something happens to me? Should he know that I get scared, get sad sometimes? Or should he think that I have all the answers? Should I be teaching him to love fully and completely and unconditionally even if it hurts? Or should I teach him to protect his heart?

What if I get it wrong? What if I’ve been wrong all along?

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the needle shot

The needle shot. That’s BoyGenius’ term for the euthanasia of our cats. He has been through 3 needle shots in the last 4 or 5 years and now we are facing our latest. Schmu (short for Schmusekatze … or snuggle cat) is just shy of 19 yrs and is rapidly slowly approaching the end of her beautiful life. She’s been a great cat, still is, really.

Schmu and her magnificent tail.

Schmu has been with me since she was about 4 weeks old, having been left on a co-worker’s front porch with no note, no blanket, no family history .. just a small cardboard box. One of “my” cats (that’s a whole ‘nother story) had recently had a litter and we were just at the end of getting her 6 kittens adopted to good homes, so I said ‘sure, I’ll take her,’ when another co-worker who was going to take this little orange fluff-ball in was unable as he was about to jet off on vacation. She arrived, Minou sniffed her a tiny bit, figured she was good enough and promptly allowed Schmu to nurse. Schmu got a mom and Minou got a little extra time to feel needed.

This little orange baby soon became everyone’s darling. She has been a “neighbourhood” cat everywhere we have lived, with many people offering to keep her whenever we moved. She has twice, in two cities, been christened Buttercup by little girls who fell in love with her. She knew my very first cat ever, Schnucki, and my brother BlueEyes. Schmu crawled up my mother’s arm and curled around her neck for a nap while my family was celebrating my 29th birthday, the last one I would have with BlueEyes. My mom has never really been a cat person, but gets along just fine with Schmu.

When Hardworker and I moved to our present town, into our current house, Schmu ingratiated herself to the neighbours (almost all of them). She would head into one neighbour’s garage and wind herself around his legs while he worked on his table saw, finishing one project or another. He was amazed that she wasn’t frightened off. She would terrorize this same neighbour’s cat every morning at 5:30 by sitting outside and taunting staring at this big mean indoor cat (we wondered for years just what meeting she was late to every morning!); she did head into their house a couple of times, just to see how far she could take it. One Monday afternoon while I was on the phone with my mom, there was a knock at the door. An elderly couple stood on my front step; the little old lady had Schmu in her arms. “Is this your cat? .. The neighbours at the end of the street said she lived here.” We had been away for the weekend and Schmu had refused to come in before we left. Upon our return on Sunday evening, we were a little bit surprised, but not overly concerned when she didn’t come running home right away. Apparently, she had been with this couple, around the corner from us, all weekend. She visited them often, they said, and had her own little spot in their living room. They were very happy as they had fairly recently lost both of their elderly cats. Schmu kept checking in with them for the next year or so, until the wife had died and the husband sold their house. When I was working and commuting by public transit Schmu would walk me to the bus stop on the corner of our street every morning. Remarkably (or not so much for her) she would be waiting at the same corner every evening when I got off my bus from the train station. I thought it was so sweet how she knew when I would be home and that she would come meet my bus. “She must really love me and miss me terribly,” I thought. One day I drove to the train station instead of taking the bus. As I pulled up to the house somewhat earlier than my usual arrival time, Schmu came walking down the driveway, meowing her apparent irritation at my untimely appearance. By the time I had gotten out of the car, she was gone. I looked around, and saw a woman petting her and chatting with her at the end of the driveway. “Is this your cat?” she asked. I said yes, and told the woman her name. “She’s so sweet,” she said. “She meets my bus every afternoon and walks me home.” So much for my ego.

a boy and his cat

When BoyGenius was a couple of months old, I walked into the master bedroom one day and noticed an odd smell. Not a good one. A little investigation led me to the cats sleeping on the bed and a little further checking revealed a large open sore at the base of Schmu’s tail, on the underside. She hadn’t said a word. I took her to the vet and in my post-pregnancy hormonal haze listened while the vet explained that the best option was to amputate her tail, load her up with antibiotics and hope for the best. Or we could always leave the tail, do the rest and hope for the best. Problem being that where the injury was, there isn’t any flesh to fill in, just skin and it was long gone. I cried, I called HardWorker and cried some more. “She loves her tail, she plays with it all the time!” We have open-riser stairs and Schmu would lay on a step, curl her tail around from the back and act surprised when the tip of it showed up in front of her, then proceed to chase it around and around. Without ever falling. (Our boy cat Riley could never master this .. he came up from the basement in embarrassment a few times, having fallen through the upper stairs.) The tail came off, she was fine. She got a new “bad” rep in the neighbourhood — ‘don’t mess with her, she gave up her tail to survive!’

For a few months now she has been yelling at us instead of meowing. Deaf as a post. She can’t even seem to feel the vibrations of our footsteps anymore. She still gets up (and gets us up) in the wee hours of the morning, wanting “breakfast” and to get outside. Breakfast is in quotes because she won’t eat more than the tip of a forkful of wet food at a time .. if you put more in her bowl it just goes to waste even when she returns to it in a matter of seconds. She won’t touch it again. She loves her treats but it’s the same story: if you put too many out they will sit and sit … until you pretend to be putting new ones out while you’re just re-piling the leftovers. She can only pick the treats up off the carpet, not from a dish or the tile floor. She cannot sit comfortably, walks very stiffly and loses her balance quickly if she shakes her head. She will no longer allow us to brush her (something she used to love) and is unable to groom herself properly so her lovely soft fur is matted in clumps, which she will pull off and eat. She wants to go out, steps outside and turns right around, crying at the door to come in.  Once in she looks around, wonders how she got there and turns to go back out, then starts the entire process again. She has started to miss the litter box every now and then, or just ignore it completely sometimes.

It has taken me months to make the call. I have an appointment tomorrow at 5pm. My heart is heavy and my head hurts.

all images in this post are copyrighted 2012 – just another s-a-h-mother

today’s post is brought to you by the letter C
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Monday’s words – F

There aren’t that many F words that easily spring to mind as favourites. I’m not sure why.

The ones I do like best include fervent, facilitate, fate, facet, feral, feisty, fescue, familiar, façade and my new favourite word: floccinaucinihilipilification(!). Shall we talk about these words a bit?

fervent ~ having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling or enthusiasm; hot, burning or glowing. I do love this word. Anything that has to do with warmth or intensity of spirit is pretty cool in my books.

facilitate ~ to make easier or less difficult; to help forward; to assist the progress of a person. To facilitate something, to be a facilitator … not always a good thing but I like the part about assisting the progress of a person (shouldn’t we all try to do that?).

fate ~ what do I really need to say about fate? There are many aspects to this word, and while they all have something to do with predetermination or destiny, my favourite definition is the one that speaks to “the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause of events.” I believe in fate. There are things that have happened to me that defy any other explanation; there are people I have met who I must have been fated to meet. I do think we are in control of our own lives, or at least most aspects of them, but there are certainly examples of fate all around us; sometimes no matter what choices we make, which paths we choose to take, we come to the same finish line.

facet ~ an aspect or a phase; one of the cut surfaces of a gemstone — or indeed one aspect of it. (I like the word aspect as well .. even though it didn’t make it to my A list.) When I hear the word facet I immediately make the jump to many-faceted. I do enjoy that there are multiple parts to so many things.

feral ~ existing in a natural state; wild … or having reverted to the wild state from domestication. We had a feral cat once. William wasn’t just a stray. He showed up on our deck one day and our own cats just kind of welcomed him into the fold. With any other wandering visitors they all hissed and howled, claiming their property rights; with William they were quiet and accepting and downright playful. They seemed to know that he hadn’t ever had a home. He took months of convincing, saucers of warm milk on the deck, a doghouse insulated with an old down jacket (it was winter, after all) and finally came in for very quick visits. It was funny to see his reaction to the ceiling in the living room and the feel of carpet under his toes. He did eventually adopt us as his family but stayed pretty true to his wildness until the end — about 10 years later. ♥

feisty ~ full of spirit and pluck; showing or having exuberance and determination … of course there is always the other side: quarrelsome, touchy or aggressive. I enjoy feisty people — and they can be on either side of the definition. To me it’s all about standing up for yourself or others, either way.

fescue ~ as in the grass, which is a variety often used in lawns and pastures … but more importantly this: a pointer, as a straw or slender stick, used to point out the letters in teaching children to read. I love this word for the way it sounds and I love the idea that the teacher’s pointer actually has a special name other than “pointer.” I wonder how many primary teachers know that?

familiar ~ I like the thought that one might have a familiar (a spirit embodied in an animal meant to attend to or guard a person); it seems like a natural sort of thing even though it’s associated with witchcraft and wizardry or even demons. As for this word’s other definition, I do feel very complete and at ease when I am familiar with something or someone.

façade ~ I don’t like when this term can be used to describe something negatively, as in a false front or something deceptive, but I do love the true architectural use of façade: the front of a building, especially an imposing or decorative one; any face of a building given special architectural treatment. I love when the façade of an old building can be kept and incorporated into a new design instead of the entire original building being torn down to make way for the new. I love ornate doorways and window treatments and stonemasonry that has survived through the ages and is allowed to continue to shine.

floccinaucinihilipilification ~ The act or habit of describing or regarding something as worthless. Apparently it’s the longest non-technical word in the english language. If you go here you’ll be able to hear it pronounced. It’s not often used in “real” speech but it does exist and I like it just for that.

F is for friends who do things together …


So there you have it them, my F words. Of course there are others: family, friendship, fabulous, feelings .. or even SpongeBob’s favourite F word “FUN.” But those are words that everybody knows. Mine are maybe not.

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