Some People (and an Animal) in My Life

It’s time to write a little bit about those who happen to be on my mind today.

That dog. She’s old so she takes her old lady pills every morning and night. Her night medicine, administered by Rick, is at 10 pm, except on Sundays, which used to be at 8 pm. Now that Rick has had a schedule change at his second job, the Sunday night pill is also at 10 pm, and the morning medicine is my responsibility now. The animal can tell time. No matter what is going on at 10 pm on the dot (not 11, not 9:30; but 10), Lucy comes over and stands in front of Rick, waiting to take her pill. On Sundays, she stands in front of him at 8 pm. She hasn’t figured out yet that there’s been a schedule change. And in the morning, she gives me trouble at pill time. For Rick, she takes her medicine like an angel. For me, she clamps her mouth shut. I have to put the pill into cheese and pry her jaw open to shove it in. She doesn’t like me. She only likes Rick.

Then there’s Julian. Like the song, he fights authority and authority always wins. And he comes out grinning too. Yesterday I could tell he had not gone outside for recess. He was wild at home, wearing everyone thin, even Roman. It’s a good thing it’s warm out today for January. Maybe he’ll be more mellow. If not, I don’t know what we’ll do.

And Roman. For a “Highly Sensitive Person” like his mother, who feels everything so strongly it’s overwhelming, who¬†can almost read people’s minds, he sure spends a lot of time on the moon or in the clouds. And here’s the dichotomy: we can be hyper-aware of every stimulus around us, or we can be totally absent except in body. The other day we were in a bookstore. I had my face in a book so I didn’t even notice what was going on. Useless. Rick was way at the back of the store, and the boys were standing around in a fog. Meanwhile, a lady was struggling outside with an armload of books in the bitter cold, unable to open the door for herself. I don’t know if it was bad manners or daydreaming or both, but the boys just stood there and watched her. Finally the lady got in and said, “I was hoping that little boy would open the door for me.”

A few minutes later we went to the boys’ art class two doors down, and Roman stood in front of the door, not opening it, while his aunt, mother, cousin, and everyone else froze. I guess we need to work on paying attention and opening doors for people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about, and praying for, my brother-in-law Jim and sister-in-law Katherine. Katherine’s ruptured brain aneurism nearly killed her and caused some damage. The healing process is a long one, and life has been interrupted. But Jim has been so positive, focusing and rejoicing over every baby step in the direction of healing. Not only is he living out the “for better or for worse” part of the deal, he refuses to focus on what they have lost, like I would probably do. I can be dark. But Jim looks at the gains and looks forward to the day they can go hiking again together.

We first met Katherine when she traveled to Springfield one time. We had dinner at El Chico’s and got acquainted. Everyone was charmed by her pretty smile and friendly demeanor. We could tell she made Jim happy. Even now, after two weeks in intensive care and much suffering, she shows her spirit. From the thumbs up to the middle finger (whichever fits the situation best :)), she seems to want to get better, and I believe that is a huge weapon in the battle. Attitude is everything. I can learn from them.

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