A Run Down On The Cats: During our ride back from the birthday dinner/shopping celebration last evening, our daughter described her work at The Complete Cat Clinic earlier that day. She spoke of Elwin Nelson, Mocha and Coco. Elwin Nelson is white with brown patches, a male and “adorable.” Coco is a cat whom our daughter helped to socialize and was boarding at the clinic. Staff informed our daughter that her work with Coco had made all the difference in the cat’s ability to become an acceptable member of the family household. Mocha, on the other hand, is a resident kitty with mood swings. “I stay away from her.” Smart Gal.
Animal Space: During the conversation, I mentioned to her apartment-mate, who is a fellow animal lover, and seated next to her in the car, that over the years our daughter had many pets: rats, guinea pigs, a hamster, a mouse and of course the requisite variety of fish: fighting, gold and angel. Even turtles, one of whom was named in honor of a very special friend, the other christened “Speedy” and you can guess why. I recall that one was purchased in Chinatown, and both were red sliders. They lived in our frog pond for a substantial period of time until either The Great Blue Heron or the neighborhood raccoon swooped in and flushed them out for an afternoon’s or late evening’s snack. The mention of turtles triggered an unfortunate memory for her mate, an episode with her brother, who was trying to redirect a snapping turtle back to the pond, getting his finger bitten and bloodied. “And I had to clean it.” “Well,” our daughter intoned, “You have to remember to give animals their space.” Who is this girl?
The P Word: For possibly as much as a decade or so, our daughter has begged us to eschew using the “P” word, as in “proud.” ”I am so proud of you” was anathema to her which left us scrambling for an acceptable synonym but alas never found. Instead, “I am so P of you.” was a clumsy second best, uttered with sincerity and an unavoidable dash of humor. Perhaps the “P” word for her signaled “pressure” rather than pleasure. But last night’s young lady, now twenty-two and nobody’s little girl, made me so “P” of her. And more importantly she is so “P” of herself. She is impacting the life of kitties, making them and their owners happier and becoming expert now on felines as well as canines, movie stars and WWII.
Taboo No More: And something else has changed. Lately when I allow myself to ignore the taboo, after all, she is a grown woman, and say “I am so proud of you.” she glows. And often her response is: “I am proud of myself too.”
Proud To Be Me: An accomplished young woman doesn’t have to be afraid of the “P” word. Proud is no longer taboo. I think it is the experience of knowing “I can do it” accrued over many years, with hard work, tremendous support from skilled educators, and many challenges overcome, that make P not a pressure but a pleasure. “Proud to be me.” Yippee!
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011