My Grandson's mind works a little differently. This is in no way a bad thing, except when it comes to eating a varied and wholesome diet. His ability to eat things is hyper-dependent upon texture, colours and packaging—well beyond just a four-year-old's discerning pallet—and his mother has his diagnosis and tax credit to prove it.
So, when my daughter was advised to get a multi-vitamin with iron in it, the two went for some mother-son shopping. Unfortunately, the only vitamins with iron are hard and my grandson is used to gummies. This was a challenge of epic proportion. So, his mom did what every good, determined parent does. She bribed him. With his long-coveted favourite car toy.
Although not there, this is what I imagine the conversation going like:
“Do you want this car?”
“Yes.” answered emphatically.
“Okay. I can get you this car but you will have to eat one of these tonight and every night. Do you understand?”
“Do you want the car?”
“Yes.” said with increased earnestness.
“Okay, if you want Mommy to get you this car, then you will have to have one of these every night.” pointing at the vitamins.
“If you want the car, you will have to have a vitamin every night. Okay?”
Long pause, “Can I think about it?”
Last week, while taking some garbage into the garage (the dimly-lit garage I might add because after considerable nagging the light bulbs were still not changed), I slipped on the second step down. Glad it wasn't caught on tape, because I doubt it was my most graceful moment. I heard the smashing of glass and felt the stretching and twisting of my right foot and hip.
Now, you should know that four adults, two children, three dogs and a cat live in my house. I made quite a noise. You would think someone or something might consider popping by to see what all the ruckus was about. And, to be fair, my daughter was at work so she remains in my good books. I did hear a voice yell in the distance but no one came running: no queries of “are you alright?” or loud Lassie-like barks from our Australian Shepard. No, nothing.
Well, not quite. My cat came running. Without any undue drama (well maybe just a little), I could have been lying there unconscious, bleeding with broken appendages and the only one to show up was my cat. A house cat. An 8 lb house cat. An 8 lb, barely audible house cat. I mean, what could she do? She couldn't bark incessantly until the neighbours came running. It isn't like she had an opposable thumb so she could call 911—like a HUMAN--maybe even one living in this house. At first blush, it appeared that the least qualified being in the entire household showed up. And, I love her for it. It's tuna all-round for the next three months. At least she could curl up on my head and purr as I fought for my life.
Apparently I am a somewhat resilient closer-to-50-than-40 year-old and had no serious damage at all. I've been interested in returning to running again and we've signed up for a half-marathon. On the last “long” run—and I use the word “long” loosely if you think 7 km is long—I struggled. I gasped for breath, ran slower than I could walk up minor inclines and took frequent breaks. I'm slow, I'm weak and struggling. I'm no longer qualified—but I showed up.
No longer asking “Can I think about it?”, I need to realize the victory, at least for a while, is going to be simply showing up. And, the funny thing is, if you keep showing up over time, you become qualified. I hope that eventually, one day, I won't feel as slow, or quite so weak, or like I'm about to have a coronary on a tiny run.
My cat, Echo, appeared to be the least qualified to help me face-down in the garage, however she packs a lot of genius in that little skull of hers. She can get you to follow her when she wants her bowl filled and I've seen her put a 50 lb dog in its place. She knows the second I put my favourite blanket on a chair and no matter where she is in the house, will come and defile it with her hair and presence. And, she can locate and kill a mouse without any front claws.
A few years ago she had a large kidney stone. For a cat who faithfully uses her little box, I thought her communication skills were exceptional when she jumped into our white bathtub to show the stark contrast of the blood in her urine against the porcelain background. She's never done it since. Quite clever.
So outer appearances are deceiving. No matter how incompetent you feel, giving it the old college try is better than not trying at all. Right now I feel I'm “just a cat”, however, maybe one day and it won't be soon (trust me) I'll feel like a Cheetah—at least in my own mind!