Wednesday is trash pickup day.
It is also “Nightmare on Our Street” for our mail carrier.
A cul-de-sac with empty trash cans all scattered hither and yon.
Yes. A tee-total mess some weeks.
So yesterday morning as Miss Sophie and I had our morning constitutional, I stopped to move a couple of my neighbors’ trash cans out of the way, so hopefully our mail carrier wouldn’t have to leave her vehicle to deliver the mail. (Or worse, just not deliver it at all–goodness, that would be catastrophic! Ha.)
When I turned back to my little fluffy girl, I saw her sniffing something on the road with intense concentration.
There on the ground were not one, but two peanut shells. One still had a peanut inside it.
*insert expressive WORD here*
So often in this life and on this blog, I/we–okay–I might downplay things. Someone asks me, “How do you keep up with what’s safe or not? How do you keep from worrying yourself sick? How do you know where to eat that is okay?” I might brush it off with a “Oh we just do the best we can.” Or “I’ve learned a lot over the years.” Or “It’s not easy, but we keep on trucking.”
But it’s rarely as peace-filled and self-assured as all that. The reality isn’t very pretty.
The minute I saw those nuts on the ground, I flipped. I mean, I flipped out. I started fuming and talking to myself, to the dog, to the air– “Why? Why? I was just moving a trash can, WHY?!” I wasn’t mad at Sophie, I was mad at the situation. My brain immediately started spinning. More than likely her snout and beard had touched the nuts, so she was now contaminated, and I had to take care of that immediately. As our Princess was sick over the weekend, I had kept the two of them apart for a couple of days, and they were so happy to be able to play together again. But they couldn’t now. UGH. Double UGH.
We went straight to the bathroom just inside our front door. I tossed off her leash and collar and put her right in the tub. Water running, I sudsed her up good and thoroughly, her face and her chin especially.
This was Miss Sophie’s second bath in three days, and she was not amused.
I hated to do it, but I felt like I had no other choice. I am sure I got water in places where water was not intended to go, bless her. She snorted and snorted, so then I started to worry about her. Had I damaged her? Hurt her? Was SHE going to be okay?
After I dried her and cuddled her a minute, all was well. Then I was back to thinking through everything I needed to do to keep my baby girl safe.
For the rest of the day, I keep them apart. Which wasn’t easy, as Miss Sophie likes to climb up next to our Princess while she works on her lessons. She loves to go outside with her and her friends. If I said “No, you have to get down, Sophie” once yesterday, I said it “eleventy-seven” times, as Cooter used to say.
And that’s a lot.
In the midst of all of this, I meant to go pick up those nuts from the road just a few feet from our driveway. I planned it out. I’d use a bag over my hands like I do with “other” things I pick up from the grass, and I’d quickly dispose of them.
But I didn’t get back to it in time, and I don’t know what happened to them.
Last week was the Fair, and we walked around and had such a wonderful time. But there were peanut shells on the ground all over the place. And all kinds of nuts being served and eaten. It was very difficult to feel very comfortable. Every cough or sniffle or when our Princess got really quiet, I’d pounce on her, “You okay? You feel all right?” When Mess Cat caught her touching the bottom of her shoe for some reason, I nearly lost my mind. It was a mine field, y’all. No wonder I was exhausted when we got home. I try not to let her allergies limit us and what we can do, but it’s not always an easy venture. So perhaps you can understand why the sight of a Teal Pumpkin brings me so much joy.
It says, “No worries here.”
And, “All are welcome and safe here.”
And, “Solidarity, sister. I’ve got your back.”
Yes. Yes. And YES.
My point is, in this whole drawn out tale, is that quite often all is not as it seems to be. Folks, for the most part, let you see what they want you to see. It’s rare that folks are comfortable parading all this anxiety and frustration and discombobulation out in the open.
Because I was so discombobulated, y’all. Food allergies are nothing to play around with, and for something freaky like this to happen…..it just reset the clock on my overprotective “on guard” status all over again.
Well, there’s good news, says my family.
Some days it just it what it is, and that’s as good as it gets. Yesterday was one of those days. Today I lifted the ban off my girl and her puppy friend, and they were quite happy. I still found myself watching closely, and asking that same question I know she gets tired of–“Are you okay?”
I don’t know if I will ever stop asking that one though.
Tonight I’m thankful for baths that clean, for compassionate friends, and for the beginning of a new day. I’m thankful for the folks who get it, and I long for the day when there will be no more food allergies.
But until then, this is me. Real and without filter.
Love to all.