Friday, May 2, 2008

His Belly

I don't know if it's just my anxiety, The Great Yarn Crisis of 2006 or simply a matter of an upset belly, but every time Duncan doesn't feel well I get sick with worry. Aside from being entirely too selfish, this is why I would not make a good parent. I would never sleep, would spend my nights laying awake listening to the breathing of my child, resting my hand on their chest to measure the reassuring rise and fall of each breath they took. I would never let them leave the house without me there to hold their hand, ready to protect them from each and every thing that could do them harm. I would stand anxiously on the perimeter of whatever space they occupied––a playground, a street corner, a college common yard––ready to step in and save them from whatever dangerous intrusion the world has to offer up. Their spouse would quickly grow tired of me, their shrink––and oh, there would be a shrink, a fleet most likely––would encourage them to establish boundaries, and their neighbors would file restraining orders. No, I would not make a good parent.

I am entirely too paranoid and far too susceptible to imagine the worst things possible. I just don't like to hear Duncan gulp the way he does when he's on the verge of vomiting. It terrifies me to stand idly by while he sniffs for clean grass and gulps it down once he's found it. I don't like the way my mind makes the leap from simple upset stomach to the end of the world. And so I make rice, stir in hard boiled eggs and mix it with a fresh batch of homemade yogurt, watching while he eats. I imagine sleepless nights and the stink of animal clinics and those pitying faces of the vets at Alameda East. I do not want to go down that path again and every hiccup and burp makes me wince like it happened only yesterday.

We'll cuddle on the couch tonight. I'll rest my hand on his side while he leans his head against my hip. I'll listen to every sound he makes ready to jump up and take him outside if necessary. I'll sleep with one eye open.

This is the only thing I know to do.


liz said...

I know how you feel.
Although I work part time in a veterinary hospital and am use to animals in distress, I am extremely anxious when it comes to one of my own.
Noting every gulp, wretch and gurgle could prove to be very important details and is what a diligent, caring, and loving pet owner does...
I hope Duncan feels better soon....

Lori said...

Hope Dunc is feeling better today! I watch my dogs closely, too. I tend to not be a worrier, but I don't miss much, either. And it's worse when one is 15, and every movement could potentially show some sign that the final decline is beginning.
Hide all your yarn.

Greg said...

You are such a good and loving Dad. There's nothing worse than knowing your kid isn't feeling well.

Duncan's a lucky pup indeed, and I hope he'll continue to be on the mend. Love your blog!

CJ said...

It's as if I'm reading my own words. I feel the same way. I've left for work when my Golden was acting quite different and returned home with such anxiety for fear of what I might find.
It's good to love and be loved.

traci said...

"Their spouse would quickly grow tired of me, their shrink––and oh, there would be a shrink, a fleet most likely"

BAH HA HA HA! I'm sorry, this was just so perfectly in your voice that I had to laugh out loud. I could hear it so clearly it was almost as if you were next to me.

Thanks for making me smile, even as you were amidst your anxiety. Hope Duncan is feeling better.

Charity said...

I tried to create a backlink to my site, but i don't think you're allowing it with this post...but anyway...I loved reading your post. :-) It reminds me of an article I wrote on my blog. It's called "Some Butter and a Golden Retriever." You might want to pay me a visit and read that one. :-) Have a sunny day! Duncan and you! :-)