Friday, 14 May 2021

What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve about

I CAN’T see 15!” I cry, peering into the advent calendar my mum, the Grumpy Grannie, gave us. “There’s gold, frankincense and — what’s that? Is that myrrh, do you think? Does anyone even know what myrrh is?”

“Oh Mum,” the Eleventeen-Year-Old nudges me out of the way with her packed-to-capacity, quite frankly enormous school rucksack, “let me see, I’ll find it.”

“Okay, okay, no need to push,” I stumble back from the wall where we’ve Blu-tacked the disappointingly traditional (i.e. chocolateless) calendar on top of my “command centre” (a bit of the wall where a family calendar/organiser should be but where a blank, fake blackboard ominously sits, waiting to be written upon).

“And if you find the window for 15, can you have a look for my glasses? I can’t for the life of me see them anywhere.”

My spidey senses tingle and I cast a suspicious eye towards the dog.

“Cookie?” I say slowly, making him look up from his adorable sleeping position, probably making him think some food was forthcoming. “You haven’t eaten my glasses, have you?”

“Ha! Found it,” my daughter yelps.

“Well done, you,” I say.

“What about me?” pipes up my son, the Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old, even though, truth be told, he’s more like the Angry Eight-Year-Old these days, dropping my hand as we walk to school, calling me an embarrassment at every turn and hissing at me to “shoosh” when we’re singing I Like The Flowers, I Like The Daffodils in a two-person round and he spies another kid who goes to his school.

“What about you?” his sister snarks.

“I never get anything!” And he knocks over his Quaker piping hot porridge in a plastic cup as he stomps up the stairs. God knows where he gets that sort of behaviour from.

All of a sudden, a propos absolutely nothing, Cookie starts whining. Is he coming out in sympathy with my son? Feeling the injustice of it all? Perhaps it’s his growing ennui at being chosen by us to be his forever family.

Maybe he’s desperate for Paul O’Grady to come and rescue him. Honestly, he watches For The Love of Dogs so intently, often making bizarre noises which I can only imagine are expressing his long-held desire to be
re-homed. Forget us having problems with him, he’s the one who’s disappointed that we’re for life, not just Christmas.

Then again, maybe it’s indigestion. Because when I finally realise he hasn’t been outside for his morning poo yet, I leave the spilled porridge growing a skin on the kitchen table and make for the back door, opening it to let in an icy blast that would freeze the testicles off an intact husky.

Cookie nearly knocks me down in his haste to get outside and as I watch him do his thing, I see it. A long, stiff, rather ouchy-looking arm of my glasses comes out lodged in his poo and I breathe a sigh of relief. Much like Cookie himself.

Because not only can I now confidently recognise dog sounds, I also know for sure exactly where my glasses went.

I bid my beautiful daughter a fond farewell for her last day of school until next year and trudge up the stairs to placate my sulky son.

“Come downstairs and eat breakfast,” I say as tenderly as possible, when I find all the toys he’s ever owned strewn across every flat-enough surface upstairs.

“No!” His lips are jutting out so far from his face, he’d beat Mick Jagger in a pouting contest any day.

Momentarily distracted, I walk up closer to his full-length mirror and wonder where all my grey hairs have gone and how on earth I managed to lose two stone overnight.

“Mummy knows nothing!” His bottom lip nearly touches the floor.

“I don’t know-oh-oh-oh much — but I know I love you-oo-oo-oo,” I sing the Linda Ronstadt part of her duet with Aaron Neville. To my reflection.

And as Cookie starts howling, either with the pain of passing the rest of my glasses or merely with the misery of my singing, I tickle my boy out of his strop and ask myself who needs specs anyway, when life looks so good in a fuzzy blur?

But that’s another story…

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