This is my contribution to this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Use Tail, tale or both.
A wet nose pushes into the back of my knee as I stand preparing salads at the counter. She’s come in silently and when I turn, her tail wags gently from side to side. “Hello, Shonga,” I bend down to pat her. “So where’s Andrew?”
He slips in after her, big grin on his face. Shonga had heralded his arrival. It’s been several months since she’s last st seen us but she’s not forgotten and is eager to re-investigate familiar surroundings. She makes herself right at home. She knows where she is to sleep and jumps right up onto the bed prepared for her comfort. She looks at me appealingly. “Yes – your water bowl is right here too,” I say filling it and placing it before her. She drinks thirstily, tail wagging again.
Shonga is definitely Andrew’s best friend. He has proper conversations with her. She cocks an ear, looks right at him and understands every word. Sometimes she speaks dog right back to him and he understands her too. “I’m going to visit Gawie, Shonga. Do you want to come?” She yips in the affirmative and heads straight to the car.
He tells a tale of some mischief she’d been up to and she gets an embarrassed look on her face and droops her tail in case she’s once again reprimanded for her misdemeanor. “Don’t worry, Shonga,” Ands reassures her, “I’m just telling a tale from the past. Remember when you rolled in that cow dung?” She looks away, tail between her legs.
“Give her a Beeno,” says The Earl. Ears prick up, tail begins to wag and she’s all high spirits again.
Welcome to Struisbaai, Andrew and Shonga!
This week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is Limb
This immediately brings to mind the idiom “to go out on a limb” which means being in a dangerous or unrecommended position when making a decision to do something. I have often found myself out on a limb. While on that limb I have not felt I shouldnt be there at all. It’s only when the situation is over and I look at it with 20/20 hindsight that I doubt my sanity and say to myself, “What the hell were you thinking! What sane person would do what you’ve just done?” For example when Hubby announced that Number 1 daughter was having a hard time in her marriage I said – bring her on home – along with 2 tiny babies aged 18 months and 4 months respectively. Crazy – it was an insane time – the kids were hyperactive, Mom in no position to cope, I was working full time in a demanding teaching post – at the peak of my career and loving it and now I had to return to working Mom/Gran status. Yet I told everyone how great it was to have the privilege of helping our daughter raise her kids. I hardly noticed the exhaustion, the stress and the drama of fighting an extremely tricky custody case in court. When said case was won, I retreated from the limb and felt an incredible lightness and only then realised what we’d been through. But that was not the end – we continued to help raise the boys until they were 17 and 18 years old. When they were 4 and 5 I gave up my job and only took relief positions until they were 12 and 13. Why hadn’t I stopped earlier? – the pressure was off and I had time to devote to helping them through primary school – both were ADHD and dyslexic. During that time we went out on other limbs for other reasons and for other people and only faced the consequences afterwards. Sometimes we fell off and were hurt but we always picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and went straight out onto another limb. This happened when making decisions about our lives, helping out friends or complete strangers and never did we hesitate to think – what will happen if this doesn’t work out?
Gran with her boys in 2000 -Jay 3, Josh 2
Gran and her boys in 2015 Jay 18 Josh 17
Then one day we chopped down the tree, left the family home and retired to to our holiday home 230km away. Omiword – the hindsight – I read diaries I kept and exclaim to my husband – Why the hell did we do that! Were we quite mad! At a time in our lives when we should have been winding down and indulging our own needs we started over with a fresh new family and continued to live life at full speed ahead. And we don’t regret a minute of it. We survived and so did our kids and friends. But now! Now we’re doing our own thing. Now we’ve found a new tree with different limbs to go out on. Now the limbs are half as dangerous and purely for our own fun. We will continue to go out on them until they break with the weight of us and we simply can’t any more.
Today I’m taking up the Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge. This is the prompt:- Take the title of the book you’re currently reading or the one sitting closest to you when you’re ready to write your SoCS post and base your post on the title only. I’m not asking for a book review or a synopsis, just whatever the title itself brings to mind. For example, Gone Girl makes me remember the first time I left home to live by myself. Or Lord of the Rings makes me think of all the rings I’ve owned in my life. Enjoy!”
I glanced across at my bookshelf and the first book that I saw was “The Girl Who Couldn’t Say No”
You should learn to say ‘No’ I’ve been told often enough by well-meaning friends. But I say – Why? I like saying yes. I like being available to my friends and family. If I can be of help to them, then why not? Of course I’m not going to let anybody walk over me – well maybe sometimes but those people who use and abuse me don’t last long in my life.
I believe that where there’s a need somebody has to meet it. And if one can – then why say no. My kids in the past often complained about people not reciprocating – I’d tell them – In this world you get givers and takers – we’re the givers and we’re the happier for it. Be self-sufficient so you won’t have to rely on others reciprocating.
I do not regret very much about my life. There have been tough times – but I say those were learning curves – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Think about it – if you say no – you lose out on so much. Saying yes gives pleasure. If you give grudgingly you dip out on that pleasure. So I say whatever you do for others do it without expecting anything in return. The reward is the pleasure you get from doing something for a person in need. Most times it is appreciated but when it isn’t don’t become bitter about it – move on.
Now in my retirement years I’m indulging more of my own needs – and it’s wonderful – but I still like to say YES to friends and family – because I love them and they bring me joy. I like being the girl who can’t say NO.