Nine. As in the number. It isn’t large by some standards, and yet by others it sounds like a lot. Nine, as in nine little puppies. Just born. Nine wiggly and separate beings. Nine new lives. And one very exhausted mother no doubt.
I cannot imagine nine puppies in my house all at once. I think I would probably melt from the sheer cuteness of it all. I know I’d be a zombie from the lack of sleep with the noise they make and the worrying that comes with nine new lives. I cannot imagine the amount of cuddliness nine new puppies bring either.
Let’s face it, I struggle with one. One four-footed being who managed to sneak into my broken and hardened heart. I lost control of the house, my expectations and yes frankly my life as I used to know it, once one small, not exactly new-born puppy crossed the threshold of my doorway. And at the time, having had other four-footed ones in my life, I had thought that it would be pretty much the same as before. Some adjustments and getting to know each other and we’d kind of move as one.
I was wrong. This four-footed one is just as head-strong and stubborn as I am and that is where the problem kicks in. Because neither of us gives easily. And I am trying to imagine a life with nine new puppies just like my four-footed one. And the truth is I can’t. Not really.
I can imagine cuddles, and puppy piles. I can imagine wiggly bodies and boundless energy followed by necessary napping time. I can imagine clumsy movements as they figure out moving forward and backward on those oversized feet. These things I can imagine. But I can also imagine the drain of nine new beings in my current state of struggle with just one overly energetic being.
As for mom, well I cannot even imagine. Nine puppies. Hungry, curious and all the rest. For her to look after. Thankfully they are all doing well, according to my friend. And in time I shall summon energy or simply force myself to go and check out the puppy pile. Because nine is the right number for a puppy pile this time.
A bit of water, a handful of barley, some peeled and thinly sliced apples along with a dash of cream. A bit of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. He stirred and left it all to cool before calling it just complete. It was, he promised me, far more delicious all pulled together than it sounded.
Of course he added heavy cream, a splash of whiskey and a dash of cinnamon before serving me any of this creation. It was, as he put it, a simple and humble treat that was slightly jazzed up. He said it reminded him of his childhood, slightly altered to a more adult set of tastes.
The four-footed one was pager to give it a try, but neither of us were inclined to share with her. She settled for homemade dog bone while I tried his childhood flavors minus the whiskey. It was, I must say, surprisingly good considering what was in it.
Beloved occasionally makes flavors from his childhood, ways with a warning about how humble or simple it will be. As if I need a reminder or even care that it’s of simple ingredients. What I do are care about, is that he chooses to share it with me. That he takes the time to make it for me. Because how else can you share your childhood with another when you’ve grown up in different circumstances in different countries?
The four-footed one decided to help with yard work today. Not all of what was being done, just the things st struck her fancy. Such as raking the leaves. And pulling up of plants.
She started by running around and playing with her ball. She ignored the work being done as well as the workers. It wasn’t until the plants were being pulled up that she became interested. I think it was the noises Beloved was making at first that caught her attention. The smells of freshly uprooted plants probably kept her attention. And watching the dirt fall, the worms wiggle and such had her fully immersed in wanting to help. And by help I mean she wanted to jump into the holes that were made. She also was interested in help move the plants. She happily grabbed them to drag throughout the yard.
She was having a ball with this, until she discovered raked leaves. In a pile. Waiting to be picked up. A pile that cannot be ignored. A pile that must be investigated and rolled through. A pile that could not be picked up fast enough to avoid being spread back all over the ground.
With each stroke of the rake to gather up the spread leaves, she would go back through those leaves. Tossing some of them up in the air, letting others get caught in her fur. Suddenly raking was taking three times as long and frankly I was wondering if there would be an end in sight. There was, when she grew tired and decided to curl up in the weak sunshine and have a nap.
She slept through the rest of the raking and pulling. She slept through the bags being tied and placed by the bin. She slept through the putting away of shovels and rakes. She woke up when all the boring work was done, ready to go in and have a treat. Because yard work is hard work.
Beloved gets me. He knows how to win my heart, not with shiny objects, but with gold. The gold of fresh, juice and perfectly ripe peaches that is. A whole box full of fresh from the orchard peaches is currently sitting on my counter filling the house with the scent of sweet peaches. Or as I like to call it the smell of lazy, hot summer days.
And al the things I dream of doing with these peaches dance happily around inside my head. Beloved laughs at me as he grabs on, washes it and takes a bite, juices dribbling down his chin. If I am not careful he will consume too many of them before I start to cook, and I tell him this while he continues to eat the peach. He smiles and tells me two more full boxes are coming to the house because he wants peach cobbler and crisp and we should freeze some of these.
I pause, with this many peaches I can have even more fun; peach muffins, peach butter and a proper peach pudding just to name a few. But I will have to be quick or they will be gone with only the trace of dried juices on Beloved’s chin.
Beloved is a man with the patience of the Saint, or close to it. He has to be in order to live with me. I can’t even tolerate my stubbornness which leads to insane delays that lead me back to square one sometimes. But he just smiles and waits while I sort it out and somehow avoids the whole I told you so bit.
He claims he really isn’t all that goods with this stuff either, just has figured out how to fake things better than some other people. Of course he also says that living with someone with a chronic illness like lupus has taught him to encourage slow time. He simply savours the moments as best he can.
Beloved has the grace of someone who is a saint. He has the grace to allow me to stubborn my way through things. He is gracious with me, generous it’s time and encouragement when t might be easier to just don’t on his own. His grace allows me to admit defeat or not even starting something.
But he isn’t, a saint that is. At least not according to the religious experts. That’s okay thought because in my eyes he is a saint, my saint. He puts the sane in sanity in this life with lupus.
Beloved’s elderly aunt decided that both he and I needed gifts, a little something to boost our spirits as she put it in her daily emails to us. Experience has taught me not to decline her generosity as she becomes very offended by this.
She does this every once-and-a-while, randomly out of the clear blue she will announce we need our spirits boosted, even if nothing out of the ordinary is going on for us. The first time she made this declaration we were the recipients of a gourmet meal at a very fine restaurant. It was a place we would have otherwise never tried and shared our experience with her after in an email.
Naturally we wanted to surprise her and searched for something different to send her way. She was delighted that we would send her anything, I get the feeling Beloved’s siblings just accept the gifts with heartfelt thanks and carry on with life. Granted they can visit her a little more easily than I can.
This time she insisted on sending Beloved a special wine tasting trip. He was tickled pink by the gift. She insisted on supplying me with several manicures so that regardless of how awful I may feel, I have something special for my “lovely” nails. (She admires my natural nails and laughed when I told her it was a sign that I don’t do manual labor.)
When I feel a little better I will go and get my nails done and then I shall take a picture to show her. But first I want to find something extra special for her, something that is whimsical and will tickle her pink. Her joy, delight and genuine pleasure is really the best gift I could ever receive!
Beloved came home looking a little dejected, he hadn’t made the short call this time. He had been so busy preparing and going through everything he hadn’t been the most attentive to things here. He also had missed phoned a few friends for their birthdays. It’s easy to reason things into place when you are still chasing the golden ring or the first place.
When you are no longer in the running, it is harder to ignore the phone and things you’ve let slide while you were busy. I wasn’t too concerned about how he had been preoccupied he had been. I went into this whole thing with my eyes wide open and if the worst call I got was one that said he was coming home because he didn’t make the short call I could live with that. Besides we both realized that soemtimes dreams pull you into a different direction than your partner is heading, you either weather the tempest or you don’t.
Most, but not all, of his friends who record belated birthday wishes understood. Some people though felt that he should have taken time out of his preperarion and auditions for their special moment. You never really know what means the most to someone else until you fail to do what they need you to do for them at that moment. Frankly I doubt would have his grace after missing out on something to immediately phone people after I got home. I know how much he wanted this for himself and for us.
In some ways it is more disappointing because of how close he came and yet it still feels he was so far away. But there will be other short calls and interviews for him and when it’s right, he will win the gold round so to speak. Either way he is more than enough to me as he is.