Once a week my friends Doris and Nicole and I meet by phone or in person to do some writing together. One or more of us offers a prompt then we take 20 minutes to write quickly in response to that prompt. This morning was our writing day. Sometimes what I write could be developed into something more, sometimes what I write is a disaster, sometimes I learn something without realizing I needed to learn it. This morning was one of those times. The prompt was:
Keeping your shaky hand steady
Here's what I wrote:
I learned this week that our Tasha-girl Siberian Husky would prefer to be fed by hand: spoonful-by-spoonful, morsel-by-morsel, kibble bit-by-kibble bit. Surgery to her front left paw informed me of her preference. Pain meds were hidden deep in the goo of canned dog food twice a day. To make sure she swallowed the pills, I fed her in spoonfuls and she ate voraciously. At first I thought no wonder she’s been so skinny all these year. She’s needed to be fed! After a few days, though, I began to think give me a break. Do I really have to do this? Thankfully my earlier instincts have gained some traction.
Why not feed her this way? Am I spoiling her? Wrecking her for adult life? Turning her into a princess? For God’s sake, she’s ten years old! Her adult life is more than halfway over. Besides, her adopted brother Wally is a minor bully. I don’t know how he does it, but she won’t eat when he’s around unless I stand between them. It’s not that Wally stalks her or barks or stares longingly at the food he knows is hers. It’s subtle vibrations only the two of them can feel. On some primal level he wants to starve her out, dominate the pack. Be the last one standing.
It makes me think of my siblings. I’m not aware that I want any of them to die. In fact, quite the opposite. I like my siblings and would like to see them sooner rather than later. But what about when I was little and more or less helpless? Four older sisters all strong and hungry. Did they eat my lunch when my mother was washing up the dishes? Was I hungry too? Have I been recovering ever since? Learning to take my share? Standing up for myself? Striving to be the one who triumphs in the end?
Of all the possibilities the last is most true. I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to prove myself to somebody: I’ll show you I can sing. I’ll show you. I’ll show you I don’t need your help. I’ll show you I can make it on my own. It’s the soundtrack of my life. It’s been going on so long I don’t even know who I’m trying to impress anymore.
Tasha reminded me that feeding her by hand is ok. It’s kindness. It’s compassion. It’s accepting her fear and helping her stay alive long enough to overcome it.
TashaGirlMaGirl, getting stronger everyday
Walister Pee McWally (aka Wally) in his favorite place. No door so he goes in and out
(mostly in, especially when there's rain or thunder)