Sunday, November 14, 2010

When the Glass is Half Empty

Finding gratitude over the last few days has been a challenge. We are at the very end of Zipper's ninth life and our house has moved from feline nursing facility to hospice. I was unprepared for the grief, even though we knew it was imminent. My tribute post is being written throughout Zipper's last days with us and I will post it in memory.

One truth is that death waits for each of us, human and feline. In its' face we need to put one foot in front of the other and continue living. Children still need to eat and bills still need to be paid. dishes need washing and incomplete homework will still earn you a detention. Math teachers really do suck. (no offense to any math teachers who may be reading, its not you personally, it's just your breed in general.) Perhaps in these times more than any other and extra effort to acknowledge our gratitude is needed.

E-man always has great items of gratitude. Sometimes he's grateful for mastering a kick-flip or getting to go to a Rangers game with Dad. This Friday he looked at us in exasperation when it was his turn around the table and said that he was grateful the week was done; at which point I mused to myself "he's either had a really bad week or we have been setting a very bad example." I hope he had a really difficult week because I'm not sure my parenting can take another blow to it's confidence, we have so much we are attempting to correct already.

Lula hasn't dined with us much this week which leads me to suspect she is grateful for her boyfriend, his mother, sisters, nieces, nephews and grandparents. I hope they are grateful for her company. That sounded a little bitter and more like an ungrateful didn't it? Well I'm not going to disguise that one very well. I am bitter and ungrateful and really quite sad that she is migrating away from us. We miss her and I'm not ready for that stage where the comfort of strangers is more rewarding than that of family.

KJ's big grateful this week was her return to modelling. This week was learning to stomp the runway in 4 inch heels and proper makeup application techniques. In truth I should have said no. Last week she missed because, well she was simply being foul and obstinate. I caved however and allowed it because this week she was simply being foul. Next week I suspect she will make a return to obstinacy due to my critical parenting error.

Pharmaceuticals are paramount on Michael's gratitude list this week. In actual fact he should be grateful that his annoying nag of a wife managed to badger him long enough and hard enough that he finally went to see a doctor! Oh dear, that sounded bitter too didn't it? A person can only suffer so long with chronic sinusitis and diminished lung capacity before someone close to them snaps. Now he has some testing underway and some medication to alleviate the suffering. He's also made his wife happy in the process.

We've made it a rule in our home to recognize some gratitude each day. As my week and my entry clearly illustrates it's not always easy. Things go wrong. Kids leave you for greener grass, boys get bullied, math teachers suck. Fast food patrons can be downright ignorant. Brother's leave their wives. Husbands get sick and cats die. It leaves a taste in your mouth and gratitude is difficult to identify. My glass this week is half empty and I want to wallow in some hostility for a while. I want to pull a Rick Mercer Rant for 45 seconds and get it all off my chest. I want to tell 400 lb. double burger, extra large fries and a 1300 calories milkshake man, that yelling at me because it takes more than 90 seconds to get the goods from the grill to his mouth will not compensate for his sense of internal guilt. For a few minutes I want Zipper to not be on death's door so that he can comfort me; the way he has done for 18 years. I don't want to be grateful! But I am. Despite the "glass half empty" state of my life this week I am grateful for my friend who put her Christmas decorations up already. Grateful for karma retracting it's lesson and re-shuffling the secret santa list at work. I'm grateful that there is so much to be ungrateful for this week and the reminder that a glass half empty is still a glass and that with a little luck what's left is on the rocks.