Our daughter, Dimples, has been a sullen teenager for over a week now. She is nine. For the past ten days, she has been a bundle of emotions – mostly sad and grumpy – and often dissolving into tears at the slightest provocation. The latest catastrophe was her father’s failure to find the note that she had left on her night table under piles of tissue requesting eggs for breakfast the next morning. He served cereal. This betrayal was almost too much for her to bear.
My alarm at this early onset of teen moodiness was somewhat calmed by her seeming return to her cheerful self Monday afternoon. This transformation coincided with the lessening of her mutant cold virus symptoms – and with their transference to me.
As soon as I woke up Tuesday morning, I felt like I had been smacked to the floor by our bulldog, Wonderbutt, about a thousand times. I immediately understood why Dimples has been so inconsolable lately, and wished that I had been more understanding. The onset of this miserable virus made slitting my wrists an extremely appealing alternative.
Without Dimple’s stamina from dancing and synchronized swimming – and, let’s face it, I’m not even close to being nine years old – I quickly buckled in surrender. I informed the Cap’n I was not going to work today. Not wishing to inflict my startling emotional and physical symptoms on the world at large, the Cap’n concurred that this was a fine idea.
I slept in, and got up about 10 to get some cereal. In the living room, our bulldog, Wonderbutt, looked at me defiantly from his perch on the Cap’n’s leather chair. He had been busy while I slept – dismantling a couch cushion. I sighed. I know it was because he heard me stirring in the bedroom, and was upset I had not come out to visit him that morning.
I went back to bed after the cereal. Returning to the kitchen, I realized that Wonderbutt had decided to add to his earlier work by pulling down another couch cushion, ripping off the zipper, and depositing fuzz and foam all over the floor. It was apparent that his frustration at my retreat from the world was mounting.
After lunch, I decided to sit in the chair with Wonderbutt to assure him that I was not planning to ignore him forever. He immediately settled into my lap and contentedly put his head down. I fell asleep, too, half-sitting up and leaning against the arm rest. And there we stayed for an hour or so, with me twisted like a pretzel to accommodate our 71 pound bulldog, and our happy bulldog snoring with his tongue hanging out as though he had not had an opportunity to relax all day.
And I felt better.