Molly comes out to bark at us every day as we walk by her house. She roars off the porch with the determination of a much younger very much fiercer guard dog running along her fence line beside us as we meander down the hill.
I noticed lately that her bark is much quieter than it used to be; almost like the whispery voice of an old lady that we need to lean in close to in order to hear what she’s talking about. And while Molly starts out with a big bark when she sees us, she only barks a few times quietly in conversation with us as we walk by. It’s like she’s saving what she has to say; she only has so many barks to give so she makes them count. At least that’s my theory with Molly’s barks.
A little over a week ago it was my birthday. I am between the age of “yay!!! it’s my birthday and I want everyone to know it” and the age where the server in a restaurant brought me a senior menu and explained in a loud voice (although she didn’t know of my deafness) that it was senior day and so forth……. BTW I ordered a steak from the regular menu. Anyway, I’m kind of in “no – man’s – woman’s land of age and I wanted to do something special to celebrate so I took a nice 9 hour drive to the city my Grandson is in where he attends film school to spend my birthday with him.
My phone rang as I was walking out of the hotel to meet him for dinner, and I saw my Step-mom’s name pop up. My birthday call of course, and in the regular “how’s work, and how is everyone blah, blah, blah….. she says ” oh, and I got married two months ago”. WHAT? And she explains that she married a widowed family friend from forever ago – a very, very nice man. I’m happy for her and for him, I say.
As she talked about the wedding and her children and friends who were there, I was hurt. After all, she’s been my mother for all intents and purposes for over 50 years. It’s as if there was an expiry date on that relationship as well as the one with my step-siblings after my Dad died, and I guess that’s not all that unusual, but still I was selfishly hurt to be so obviously excluded in this part of her life.
After my initial WTF moment and debrief with my brother, I came away feeling grateful that she has someone to share her life with and wish her joy and happiness. I don’t need to bark loudly and growl about being excluded. I need to smile and say “that’s so great” and I’m proud that I was able to do that.
My birthday evening was “a keeper”. We walked around the city, had dinner outside by the waterfront, and had dessert at my favourite place. Priceless……
We have only so many barks to give and instead of wasting them being loud and vicious, like Molly, I want to bark softly.