As I make my final preparations before my sister’s visit, I had to stop for a moment to share a laugh with you. I’ve been a busy bee these last few days, primping and prepping and polishing and pfluffing. (Sorry, but with all those p’s lined up so neatly in a row, it seemed that “fluffing” needed a “p” as well. Yes, I’m allowed. My space, my rules. Big smile.)
Anyway, you get the idea. I’ve been putting the final touches on my home so that when my sister visits, we can focus all our attention on chatting up a storm, and telling stories, and enjoying each other’s company. There are about fifty chapters I could deviate towards in describing the evolution of our relationship, but that isn’t what this post is supposed to be about. Trying to stay on topic.
Even the fact that I’m excited and happily anticipating her visit is a bit of a miracle in itself. There were years we didn’t even speak, and years we cast judgmental or critical eyes towards the other, and years we harbored ill feelings in our hearts, and years we simply didn’t care one way or another. To be at the place in our relationship where we crave each other’s company is such an unexpected and appreciated surprise; a special gift; a treasure. We worked at building the foundation for this friendship, and now, as we move through these most recent chapters, we find ourselves being relaxed and comfortable in one another’s presence. We managed to metamorphosize our relationship from adversarial opponents to companionable partners. Such a nice place to be.
In any case, as I was primping and prepping and polishing and pfluffing, I ran down a long list of tasks. It looked something like this: rake the leaves, wash the patio, clean the dog nose prints off the windows, vacuum up those stray bits of dog fluff that seem to hide in every corner, hang fresh towels, wash all the bed linens, last minute grocery shopping, put out some fresh flowers, etc etc etc. The usual stuff, when preparing for overnight guests. As I merrily went about the business of checking items off my list, my home was sparkling and shiny. It filled me with a sense of pleasure, knowing that I had taken the extra time and care to make everything look so nice for her visit. Practically perfect.
Which is why I had to laugh today, when I awoke to freezing temperatures and blustery cold winds, and a foggy and rainy drizzle. One winter cold front blows in, and everything comes undone. Hundreds of freshly-fallen leaves had blown in from every direction, covering every corner of the yard. Leaves in every crack and crevice, some probably having traveled from two counties over, all finding their way to my back yard, mocking my attempts to rake them up. And there were muddy little dog prints smattered haphazardly all over my sparkling white concrete patio. Trails of wet feet, running in ten directions at once, leaving behind a maze of chubby little puppy paws covering the freshly-scrubbed patio.
Inside the house, dust mites had flown in every direction, stirred into a tizzy with all this breezy weather. I might have believed I had already captured all the dust and doggie hair, but when the wind blew through, it came circling out from hidden corners, laughing at my attempts to sweep it up.
Then, in their excitement at the sudden change in temperature, the dogs did their crazy-funny-silly routine, jumping up on the bed (bad dogs!) and rolling with their feet pointed straight up the air, happily grinning from ear to ear, and leaving behind an almost, but-not-quite invisible trail of muddy little puppy prints behind. Chubby puppy paws decorating freshly laundered bed linens. Smooth sheets jumbled in a rumpled mess. Then they ran through the house with unbridled glee, playfully leaving my freshly-hung towels in a pile on the floor in the bathroom. No doubt covered in bits of doggy drool. In nine years of this dog living under my roof, he has never pulled down the towels off the rack before. Today, he decided to try a new trick. Look, Mom! Fun! What a pretty pile!
As I grabbed the towels and tossed them into the washer (again), the dogs realized my attention was pointed elsewhere, and took full advantage of the situation, sneaking bites of roasted turkey and cheddar cheese right off the cutting board, (which I had foolishly set down on a chair because the dining room table was covered in puppy-printed bed linens, waiting to go back in the washing machine. Seriously, I should have known better, but I was distracted by the puppy chaos swirling around me). Then, celebrating their snacking victory, they pressed their eager faces to the windows, begging me to let them outside again, so they could chase one another in the frigid cold of winter. Let’s play! Let’s run! Let’s have some fun! Messy wet nose prints all over the windows, like a little trail of smiles. Cheese-smeared roasted turkey smiles.
For almost a full second or two, I started to get angry, or frustrated, or even to come unglued a little bit. Mean face. Harsh words. Angry Mom.
But then, almost just as quickly, I couldn’t help myself. I started laughing, and couldn’t seem to stop myself. If I was physically able to do so, I might have rolled on the bed with my feet straight up in the air, joining them in their silliness, and then helped myself to a bite of roasted turkey and cheddar cheese (except they had gobbled it all up already). Even though I did give them a stern look, and admonished them to keep their paws off the bed, and their nosey noses away from the towels, and their smacking lips away from the snacks, they just kept smiling at me, and laughing, and begging to be let outside again.
So obviously, I did the only thing one could do at the time. Out the door we went, where they chased and ran and laughed and rolled. All that prep work had been disheveled and destroyed, so today, in the next few hours, I’ll do the speed version of prepping and primping and polishing and pfluffing, and while I’m at it, I think I’ll add playing to the list. Lots and lots of playing.
Silly puppies. Crazy winter weather. A recipe for disaster, or a recipe for fun?
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon, (1940 – 1980), English Musician, Singer and Songwriter (The Beatles)
“The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” Philip B. Crosby, (1926 – 2001), American Businessman and Author, (The Absolutes of Leadership, 1997)
“Two people might be throwing a ball, or pounding a nail, or typing words on a computer, and one might be playing, while the other is not.” Peter Gray, Ph.D., American Psychologist and Research Professor (Boston College)
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill, (1874 – 1965), British Prime Minister (1940 – 1945), and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature
“The heart of play is pleasure.” Mardi Lucich, M.A., Administrator for the San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council (CPAC) on Childhood Development
The photo above is baby Bruiser, (Akita), taken in May of 2004, when he was just 12 weeks old. I apologize if you’ve seen this photo before, but it is one of my favorite baby photos of him. Today he’s nine years old, and weighs just over a hundred pounds, and he has a gray muzzle and gray all around his eyes and ears. Just for today, because of the winter weather, for a moment there he acted like he was a puppy all over again. It was really delightful to see him behaving in such a silly and frivolous manner, especially since he usually conducts himself like some sort of dignified sentry, always on duty, always serious and imposing. Today, he was a child again, and even though he created all sorts of mayhem, (and helped instigate the little dog to join in), it’s hard not to just laugh and want to join the fun. Such a doofus. Seriously silly.