Late afternoon, and here is me, trying to make sense flow out of my tapping fingers. There is big shawl of guilt wrapped around my disbelieving self—4 days have passed?! And I still cannot make my fingers rise to the occasion?! These days, there seems to be no occasion in sight. I am living the daily routine of walking, eating, sleeping ( a lot), knitting ( very little) and skimming through the day.
When exercise routines fall by the wayside, when good eating vows waver and vanish, when the desire to do anything productive just doesn’t appear…it is time to look around and notice the way these two fur balls regard me. Even now, when my eyes are ready to doze into some noon drowsiness, a soft black nuzzle nudges my sleepy fingers and finds a nook to park her adoring eyes.
Then follows a long spell of gazing at the star of her life ( sleepy and lethargic me) and I can see her brain working behind those brown eyes and black fur..”Isn’t she the best? Look at her pounding away on the keyboard, and without even looking where the fingers are going…do you think she will stop and bestow a cuddle and a pat on my waiting head?! Oh yes, she is looking at me— and I can see that smile on her face..and now, NOW, she will stop and pat me and I am going to be the luckiest growly black dog in the world!!” That gaze and that look can make me perform wonders. My lethargy and my quiet discontent is wiped clean off my plate and instead, there is this desire to be worthy of that adoration and admiration.
While the black fur ball can be given credit for my prose and knitting, the white one scores hands down at keeping me limber and lithe ( ok, that’s a little over the top—blame it on the adoration in the last para). Early morning or early evening, whenever the sleep overcomes the lids, beautiful Biskit knows when to step in and pull me out of slumber. At dawn, she parks herself on my chest and peers anxiously at my face till I open my eyes. I know she is waiting for me to see her…her little tail thumps on my tummy and I get the first uplifting ( and sloppy) lick of the day. That’s enough to start the day.
After her afternoon nap inside my cupboard, the anxious looking-and-whining routine is done till I put on my shoes, pick up their leashes and stride out into the setting sun.
Doggy devotion got me thinking….where else has devotion come my way?. Or should I rephrase that to “who else has been devoted to me”. I recall a wise soul stating that when love flows upwards to someone we hold in higher esteem than ourselves, its devotion. Love songs can become devotional hymns if the lover is replaced by The Lover. Being an object of someone’s devotion can bring out the best in us..it can make us believe in ourselves and it can make challenges melt away.
More than two decades ago, when the girls were toddlers and the umbilical cord was still an emotional reality, I was the most adored, the bestest, the brilliantest, the fabulousest woman in their lives. Mommy could do everything/have the answer for any question/make pain and tears go away/ drive them to anyplace etc etc.
Their trusting faces and their complete confidence in me made me start believing in myself. From that confused, complex-ridden, childishly- crazy twenty something mother and officer began the journey of change. I watched discipline, self belief and confidence enter my persona. I tried to become the person my daughters adored. With their innocent devotion and admiration, they made me take decisions which would keep that devotion intact. I stopped white lies and excuses, thought a million times before making a promise, and found actual reasons for orders ( not “because I say so”).
Of course, as the years went by, the devotion and admiration had to fade from their eyes. The girls grew up with their own questions, their own experiences and their own sense of right and wrong. Many a time, I know I have not passed their tests, or reached their level of expectations. There is no regret or sadness about the fading out of the devotion from their eyes. That devotion has served its purpose and I quite like the end-product!
Now that the dogs provide the devotion quota, I am completely satisfied with the affectionate and understanding love the girls give me. Together, we cruise and maneuver through the challenges and rewards of life.
The earlier equation of “mother high up there” and “kids low down there” has been erased.
We are now fellow travelers of the world…