Starting back to online school after two weeks of holidays wasn’t pretty this morning…
For 41 years I’ve been designing my family holiday card. It first started with my drawing an image, my dad photocopying it and all four of us sitting around the kitchen table with a different coloured marker, colouring our section in. The image created was meant to capture the spirit of the season. Over time it grew into something that embraced the season as well as the feeling of the year, and then grew further into incorporating my kids and dog into the image. I struggled with this year’s visual but ultimately felt a nod to the realities rooted in the holidays was the best way to go. It will also be an archival piece with a story attached to it years from now. I hope you enjoy it.
So my daughter went shopping with some friends and came home with some new clothes for school. When she showed me the sweater and asked my opinion, my old man brain blinked a response. Fortunately it’s still nimble enough to allow me to provide a more appropriate response.
At 6:21pm last night my daughter lost the backing to her very recently pierced earring in our garage. Our garage is pretty typical, which is to say it’s filthy, so the idea of finding it was a lost cause. This was sort of a big deal because the earrings they use for new piercings have to stay in for six weeks or else there are a host of nasty issues that you’re up against. These earrings also have a specific backing, so replacing it with one of my wife’s wasn’t possible. We scooted over to our local tattoo shop only to learn they don’t do piercings (despite Google’s promises). Shoppers Drug Mart was a long shot and our lone jewelry store was closed. As our daughter had to work the next day and tape or a band aid wasn’t a long-term solution, we were left with one option. Drive the 26km to the next town where the piercing was done. A further complication – it was 6:36pm, the shop closed at 7:00 and they weren’t answering their phone.
“Dad, should we make the drive?” my daughter asked.
I could have said, “NO. It’s too far. We might not make it by 7:00pm.”
Or, “NO. We don’t even know if they’re open.”
Or, “NO. I’ve got to make dinner and feed and walk the dog.”
Or, “NO. I’ve had a long day already and would rather relax on my sun-soaked front porch with a cold drink.”
Instead, I said MAYBE.
“MAYBE they’ll be open.”
“MAYBE we’ll get there before they shut.”
(And to myself): “MAYBE this is an opportunity to connect with my teenager whom I’ve seldom seen this week.”
We arrived at 6:56pm. They were still open. They had a replacement and we asked for another one, just in case. Disaster averted, hugs all round and feeling good about our effort, we decided to go out for dinner. Saying “MAYBE” was the best decision I made all week. For the entire car ride there and back, and during our outdoor meal, we talked. Like, really talked. About life, relationships, self-worth, values, happiness. Meaningful stuff. I listened. I shared my opinion. It was being a dad in all of its best moments.
Parenting is a full-time job and challenging obstacles pop up countless times in countless ways. It’s easy to say NO when things are busy, you’re tired or you have other items on your list to cross off. Sometimes saying NO is the right thing. At other times, if we can check that impulse and embrace the MAYBE, truly great things come from it.
Great partnerships are worth celebrating. 23 years and counting (this past Sunday!) with the most amazing person I know, who I love more than anything (including peanut butter and jam).
Four images of my very happy kidney, thanks to all the help we received from some awesome folks during a nasty kidney stone event (story to come!).
While no one is bursting out of the school’s front doors this year, there are still opportunities that lay in wait this summer, so seize the moment and enjoy.
So, after a long and fairly challenging run, my dog and I return home for a drink and a rest. His rest is significantly deep. Like five hours deep. Hardly moving deep. I notice that when I pass him or there’s some kind of noise, he jerks his head up and then lolls back down. He seems, off. Six hours post run my son bounds past, startling him into a standing position which quickly becomes a crouch, which quickly becomes a flopping back to the ground. I’m now officially concerned.
I offer him water. He doesn’t take it.
I offer him food. He doesn’t take it.
He’s a lab. Not taking food means something is seriously wrong.
After much coaxing, he stumbles up and ambles towards us, his balance clearly off. “That’s it”, I say, “he’s having a stroke.” Within several tense moments we have him into the car and in front of the vet’s office. It’s after hours. Emergency fees apply. I don’t care. I just want my dog to be better.
“Do whatever it takes!” I plead. “Cost is no object!”.
I’m not allowed into the clinic so I sit nervously in the car, awaiting an update. Ten minutes pass, then fifteen. I’m fearing the worst. Finally the vet comes out, her mask covering up the expression on her face that I’m hoping to read. She pauses in front of me, wipes her brow and says,
“Your dog is stoned.”
“It’s surprisingly common,” she says. “Did he eat anything while you were on your run?”
Walking a lab is like walking a tiger shark, they eat everything in their path, so I’m guessing he found something that was dropped accidentally. Dogs are hit hard and quickly with THC. They have a test in the clinic and she shows me the results.
“We’ve given him some fluids and helped him ingest a charcoal based substance to bind the drug for removal. Take him home, give him 2 bags of Doritos, and a dark place to sleep it off.”
Ok, she didn’t add the Doritos part but she may as well have.
He crashed when we got home and didn’t wake again until 12:43am. I know the exact time because I slept beside him, knowing he’d need help at some point during the night.
I’d like to think he’s learned from this but I know better. Heck, he may have even enjoyed the experience. I’ve learned something though, a stoned dog looks a lot like an ill dog and for $400 you can confirm the difference between the two.
In times like these I consider this less a bad haircut and more good parenting that emboldens independent thought and co-operative play.