(Written yesterday, Thursday)
One of our chinchillas, Hopi, has been chewing her foot to the point of bleeding the last week or so. Every morning it looks like someone has been murdered in her cage and I wipe down the shelves again. This has happened before and I’ve had her to multiple doctors who all give me the same conclusion: there is nothing they can do because they can’t define what’s causing her behavior. It would be so much easier if chinchillas spoke English.
There have been blood tests and scrape tests, pokes and prods and several veterinary Mercedes payments thrown at this issue, but no answers. Hopi was a rescue so her medical history before the 6+ years she’s been in my care is a mystery. We don’t even know how old she is. Sometimes the Universe is just like “Here is your lesson in Acceptance. There is no textbook; you get no explanations. Pop quiz coming up soon. Good luck and Happy Thursday.”
My best guess for her Emo attitude (definition: despondent outlook and erratic penchant for self-mutilation) is a chain reaction of lack of attention and diet imbalance causing depression. (And that goes for humans too.) It seems like if she has too many treats and/or not enough scratching behind the ears, that’s when the trouble starts. Normally a couple days with more focused love and less goodies fixes the problem, but this time her conduct has continued despite my efforts. This morning I noticed her food bowl was untouched and the hay dish barely sifted through. Altho she still hopped to the door when I opened it, not eating is a very, very bad sign. Even though I wouldn’t trade my time with my animals for anything, this is definitely the crappier part of having pets.
So I’m standing at the sink putting dishes in the dishwasher, thinking about how I’m going to have to tell Katy that we have yet another fuzzy rat possibly gearing up to transcend into her next form. I’m already hearing the drama and distress in my head from the other end of a phone call not yet made (nevermind my own despondency).
This kind of thing tends to trigger my shittier, child-like emotions about parenthood until one stubborn thought pushes all else out of my head: IT’S NOT FAIR IT’S NOT FAIR IT’S NOT FAIR.
In an effort to bring order back to the courtroom of my brain, my Higher Self bangs a gavel on my third eye and rises above the din saying, “How did we end up here again? What about it is not fair?”
Ego whines: “It’s not fair I always have to be the bad guy. As a single parent, I never get to be the good guy. If there’s bad news, I have to deliver it. If the kid is doing something wrong, I have to correct the mistakes. I’m the one to dispatch punishment for undesirable behavior and remind her what is the more acceptable path. I am the nag, the critic, the police, the pain in her ass (literally when she was younger) and the executioner. No one shares that burden with me – it’s all me, all the time. I NEVER get to be the good guy!”
(I submit as Exhibit A all the “I” and “me” statements in that complaint. Give it enough rope, and Ego will always hang itself. Higher Self just rolls its eyes.)
Logical Left Brain is on defense and reminds me, “Yeah, but it’s not like there’s never good news, or compliments to offer, or moments when you think your heart will bust open with pride over her accomplishments. Besides, even Katy says you’re the cool mom and all her friends think so too. You get to enjoy all that, and that’s when you get to be the good guy.”
All parts of The Brain nod in agreement that parenting is not always bad, however, Ego’s not ready to give up yet.
“Yeah, I’m the cool mom when things are GOOD. Why doesn’t someone else go tell her when pets are dying and deal with the tears? Whose shoulder do I get to cry on? Even though joyful times are sweet on their own, joy is doubled when shared with someone who has an equal level of investment and interest in the child, just as they say a burden is halved when shared. I never got to experience those higher levels of happiness as a parent because there was no one to share the joy with, so it’s not doubled, yet I still bear the entire responsibility of all the icky emotions. In my calculations, I got half the joy and double the burden of a regular two-parent system.”
(Which proves that my general suckiness at numbers and math extends to emotional arithmetic as well.)
Ego continues, “Just once (ok, maybe a lot) I would’ve liked to be the one Katy ran to saying ‘I did this bad thing that wasn’t really that awful and Dad says I’m grounded’ and I could be the hero and make it better. Instead I just get to deliver bad news.”
“Two-parent systems require a consistent, united front so that kind of action would be unwise. You’re just being a baby about telling her.” says Left Brain.
“Why don’t you go get a tall glass of shut the fuck up?” says Ego as it starts to go down.
Left Brain sighs. “What about family? They share in the joys. Why doesn’t that double it?”
Ego is quickly becoming blurry, but it still sulks, “Family is great, but the relationship between two parents, whether they’re together or not, is different and deeper when it concerns a child they made together. Different kind of bond.”
Higher Self concedes that point to Ego. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.
“So what you’re really saying is you’ve never accepted having to do this alone. It is only in our imagination that we assume the level of happiness would be increased or different if there were a second parent involved.”
Ego finally gives in. “Yeah, ok, it just sucks to do this by myself.”
I am tired of trying to interpret the Laws of Being Human, especially since Universal Law trumps all that anyway, so the entire mess adjourns indefinitely once again.
Deep down I know neither Hopi dying nor telling Katy nor being a single parent is a matter of fairness, it’s just What Is. I also know even if What Is sucks, you can't change it; you can only change how you choose to react to it and how much time and attention you choose to give it. It's always about your choices. Hmmm. I guess that means the Universe's pop quizzes are all multiple choice. haha
On a happier note, I stopped at Moonlight Beach this morning and sat for 30 minutes communing with the Pacific, sending out love and happy vibes to everyone I could think of, and imagining what the Switchfoot BroAm will look like in June when the beach is filled with surfers and music fans. Switchfoot is my second most favorite band ever. Their music is very happy, their lyrics are awesome, and Jon's (the singer) voice is cooly unique. Listening to them always puts me in a good mood. If you haven't heard them, check 'em out. Definitely worth your time.
I am still so amazed and grateful every day that I get to live here. It's no wonder California is the most populated state. What a beautiful place to Be.
(Written today, Friday)
Ok, true to the nature of my existence, right after I posted this the Universe gave me TWO signs (just in case I wasn't awake yet since I haven't had coffee...).
The first one was a Google ad that appeared next to my own writing for a site called Peace, Love, and Momminess. I don't usually click the ads on my blog, I'm just checking for grammar/punctuation errors, but the graphics on this one caught my eye. I clicked to see what the site was about. The top story today? "More Gratitude, Less Attitude." haha Yes, yes, I know. I was working on that.
That phrase made me think of a site I often visit called Great Day by Ralph Marston. Mark turned me on to it. The site gives a daily positive message and somehow it always seems to pertain to what I'm thinking when I check it (I don't check it every day). Today's inspiration from Ralph:
Taking positive action in one area of your life can lead to surprising improvements in many other areas of your life. For you are one whole person, and anything you do makes a difference in everything you are.
It all matters and it all affects you. The life you experience is the sum of every thought, every word spoken, every gesture and every effort.
If you find it difficult to be positive about one particular area of your life, then be extraordinarily positive about other areas of your life. That additional positive energy will spill over into all of your world.
All the parts of your life are interconnected in ways that it's difficult to even imagine. The result is that there are always plenty of opportunities for taking positive steps.
For even when you feel completely blocked in one area, there are many other areas of your life in which you can quickly and easily make improvements. Success and achievement feel great in whatever venue they occur.
Feel genuinely positive, even if it's just about one little thing. And the energy radiates through the entirety of your world.
I was already headed that direction, but thanks for the push Eternity. :D