Dignity Health Leaderboard 2

At Wit's End


by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

dog_cat_fight
I look around my cold, dark room.  It’s morning.  I realize that the dogs need to be fed, the cat box needs to be changed, and one of my fingernails is missing (later to be found on the floor of the kitchen).  And as I slowly regain consciousness, it hits me.  I am depressed.  

“Aaaaaarghhhhh!!!” I growled, sinking down in my bed and hoisting the covers over my head.  The dogs seem to think this means I want to get up and play; so they start jumping on my head, then fighting with each other.  Suddenly, there’s a child poking my shoulder.  “Mooom!  I need you to sign this form and give me lunch money!  C’mon, Mom!!!”

As tempted as I was to stay just where I was for the rest of my life and make these PEOPLE fend for themselves while I wallowed in the depression that was enveloping me, I knew it would never happen.  They would wear me down.  Children needed signatures.  Dogs needed to be let outside.  Fingernails needed to be glued back on.

“Okay, okay,” I say, jerking on my bathrobe and mimicking, “Mom, give me this…Mom sign that…Mom I need money,” as I signed the form and grabbed some cash out of my wallet.

I was still muttering phrases punctuated with words like “unappreciative” and “never enough” while slamming around pots, pans, and sack lunches.  I stopped long enough to let the dogs come in for their breakfast.  “You ungrateful little beasts, come and get your breakfast,” I said as much to the children as to the dogs.  Our dog Jenny came in right on cue, but where was Max?  

After much calling and apologizing for any bad thoughts I held against my dogs (oh, and my children, too), Max was still nowhere to be found.  “Don’t worry, Mom,” my daughter, now the sweetest and most attentive child in the world, said. “He’s around here somewhere.  We’ll find him.”

That’s when I remembered the cages we’d set up to trap and relocate some of the unwanted varmints that had settled on our property.  Raccoons had been taunting and even attacking our dogs for over a year now, and lately, skunks had joined in the fun.  Our dogs had been “skunked” three times in the past three weeks, with Max setting the record of getting skunked twice in one night.

Naw, Max is smarter than that, I thought as I walked around to the trap set just off the deck.  In the trap, a mass of quivering black fur proved otherwise. As Max’s sad yet a little sheepish-looking eyes met mine, I called the family over to have a look and a laugh.

And, laugh we did.  I realized that day that laughter is the best medicine and, as women, we have to fight the doldrums in our own way.  My way just happened to involve a Max-in-the-box.

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