My son and his girlfriend came for the weekend to attend one of life’s saddest events; a funeral for a classmate and friend. After my son provided the music, paid his respects, shed some tears, and caught up with other classmates, we spent the weekend as a family. Sometimes we need tragic reminders of the brevity of life, to live each day, to cherish our loved ones.
When my son visits, he brings his White Shepherd, Kyra, and his girlfriend brings Charlie, her Pug. Six dogs, one cat, and a fish all under one roof. The animals get along fairly well. Charlie is aged, slightly grayed around the muzzle, laid back, and quiet. Kyra, much younger, is exuberant, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but sweet. Our Yorkies run the gamut in terms of responses to Kyra. Charlie they have accepted, so much so that when the cat arched her back and hissed, three of the Yorkies descended upon the cat to school her in hospitality. Charlie, being Charlie, didn’t move and remained above the fray.
Kaiah, our youngest Yorkie, is sweet, loving, energetic, funny, and creative. She isn’t appreciated for these qualities, however. Anxiety overtakes her when her routine is interrupted. Few see her at her best. From the moment anyone, including my son, his girlfriend, and fur children enter the door, Kaiah barks. Her bark is high-pitched as if she is sounding the alarm. She spends nearly every moment in my arms or in her stroller (yes, I have a stroller for the dogs) when others are around, thus the reason she is not appreciated for her endearing qualities. I’m sure much of Kaiah’s apprehension and anxiety are due to Kyra’s zest for life, and overall size compared to her own. And, since COVID, we lead a more solitary life, visitors being the exception rather than the norm. We make certain Kaiah is never on the floor when Kyra is in the house. None of the small dogs are; the reason for the stroller. See? Method to my madness.
After the kids and dogs left on Sunday afternoon, I jumped in the shower before running a few errands. As of late, Kaiah tosses a ball into the shower stall with me, so I expected a ball on the shower floor. Sure enough, when I looked down after washing the shampoo from my hair, there was a ball on the shower stall floor. What I didn’t expect to see was a tuft of fur poking through the bottom of the shower curtain. Soapy, and not expecting to see anything below the shower curtain, it took a moment for me to figure out what I was seeing. It almost looked like the toe of a fuzzy slipper. Finished rinsing and turning off the water, I pulled back the curtain, grabbed for a towel, and looked down. There she was, tiny head and face dripping wet and covered with soap, eyes focused on the ball still on the shower stall floor. A laugh out loud moment.
A lot of us are like Kaiah, our best qualities masked by anxiety. Perhaps close friends and family love and appreciate us, but those qualities that make us unique or a bit quirky, are lost on others when our response to anxiety masks the amazing people we are. We might be pleasantly surprised if we looked past the outward manifestations of anxiety in others…..