Counting My Blessings

July 26, 2006 at 6:15 pm (Uncategorized)

One of the folks who reads this blog posted a comment after my last entry. Although he claimed not to have any words of wisdom, Paul actually was pretty darn wise when he reminded me to rejoice in the little things I can do. If I expand this thought out a couple of inches, I end up pushing myself to celebrate all the wonderful people and things in my life – great and small.

I’m lucky that I have an astute practioner in the art of appreciating life to serve as an example. My guru is a little taller that three feet and just shy of forty pounds. He’s not so adept at sleeping through the night, wiping his bottom, listening to anything he doesn’t want to hear, or not throwing most of his dinner on the floor. But my son Andrew can definitely rejoice in everything and everyone around him.

Take this morning, for instance, when Andrew and I had to bring our cat Kate to the vet for her vaccinations and to have a raspy cough investigated. Perhaps Kate is such a terrible traveler because we have made her do too much of it. When she was only a year old, we flew her from Palau, where we found and rescued her, to Montana, where we stayed for four days before loading her into a U-Haul with us and driving her to California. Now, whenever she sees her kitty carrier come out of the garage, she first flees and hides, then climbs up my arms while I try to shove her into the cage, and finally, never stops meowing until she is released. In the car, her wails become louder, more panicked, and higher pitched. Driving across town is terribly unpleasant.

Poor Andrew had to sit right next to Kate on our trip to the vet. Rather than get annoyed by her screeching, though, he decided to share some of his enthusiasm with his kitty friend as way of comforting her. “Look, Kate!” he bellowed as we turned onto the main road, “There’s a double logging truck.” Even though the only response he got was meeeeeeeeooooooww, Andrew kept on showing her the exciting world around them. He pointed out to her the train tracks, every PT Cruiser and Cooper Mini we passed, bulldozers, an oxygen truck (our shorthand for a truck delivering oxygen), a cherry picker working on a street light, a paver parked at a construction site, and, when we hit any lull in the action, every pick-up truck he could spy. The delight in his voice was palpable, his enthusiasm for everything motorized was contagious. I could almost hear him thinking, “God. It is so good to be alive and driving among all these trucks.” Kate was not convinced, but I sure was.

It reminded me of the other night when we were talking about our stay in Seattle before we went to Thailand. Our friend Molly was over for dinner, and she asked Andrew what his favorite thing was in Seattle. “Breakfast,” Andrew said with an enormous grin. You see, the hotel where we stayed had a nice breakfast buffet, which was monitored by an elderly woman named Mary who doted on Andrew to no end. Molly gave us a quizzical glance. “What was your second favorite thing?” we asked. “The van,” Andrew replied, referring to the airport shuttle that took us to the hotel. He remembered the driver’s name because she also spoiled him shamelessly.

There was a piece of me that thought, “I spend hundreds of dollars to take this kid with us to Seattle and then Thailand and all he remembers is the breakfast buffet?” But then I realized how awesome it is that Andrew still thinks about the trip in whatever details he has chosen. And given my current droopy state of mind, what a timely reminder to appreciate the everyday wonders we encounter. If you think about it, a breakfast buffet is indeed a pretty impressive sight with all those stacks of pancakes and boxes of little cereal and crystal bowls brimming with fruit salad. Truly this stuff trumps the Space Needle.

After we had recovered from our vet visit, I got a call from my cardiologist in Philadelphia who said I could drop my daily prednisone dose a little lower in my ongoing taper. Instead of alternating 17.5 mg. with 20 mg., I can now take 17.5 mg. every day. Although I would have preferred a phone call in which the doctor said it had all been a terrible mistake and that I had never been sick in the first place – eighteen doctors somehow all misdiagnosed me – it was damn good news. I am thrilled to drop the dose, however incrementally. Now, I know it’s nothing as cool as a dump truck or a breakfast buffet, but you’ve got to focus on what you have, right?

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