- A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the daisy family, which typically has a prickly stem and leaves and rounded heads of purple flowers.
When I first read the definition, my mind read "disturbed" instead of distributed. Ha. I feel like disturbed is more appropriate. It is how I have been feeling and I can't put it into vocalization to other people in a way that makes sense, or in a way people can offer me proper advice. Believe me, I have tried. The only thing I can say to people is I am in a strange "head space" right now, but honestly, I don't know how to describe it.
I know I should quit saying it is because of the emotional build up of losing my Dad., but honestly, it is. I find myself in a funk so many times. I see him driving cars when I am out running errands. I even saw a bumper sticker that said "rand" on my way home from dropping the kids at school. Rand. That was Kerry's nickname for my dad. I honestly miss my Stepmom, Kerry often times just as much. I know Kerry knows that from Heaven. I know. She shows up every once in awhile to let me know she is here and watching. I just wish she would show up a bit more. Maybe even bring my dad along.
With my brother being in his unstable place, and sister just having her first baby, I know their attention is diverted and they are protecting and watching when they can. I just honestly want them in my kitchen drinking coffee, or maybe even a Gin and Tonic (if it is happy hour time, although, Kerry's happy hour started a wee bit before most people's).
So why "Thistle"?
Yesterday when I was on a walk with the dogs we took a different path. They are building a new apartment complex near my house and Jackson is very confused as to where the path through the woods went. He tries to lead me through the construction site every time we go in that direction. It is like he is experiencing a bit of loss and if he revisits it enough times, what he is missing will return. Wow. Can I relate to that or what??
Well, the woods are gone, and the remnants of a path are unsafe to walk on, so I chose to walk him around the grassy area that surrounds the construction site.
It was 45 degrees and beautiful, but the wind was a little nippy and wimpy psycho sausage, Lily really wanted to go home. She is all sweet and simple, but her anxiety is another book I should really write.
I noticed Jackson sitting down and licking his paw. He never does that on walks unless there is something stuck in there. I tried to feel for something and couldn't so I encouraged him to continue walking. When he sat again, I knew we should turn back so I could do some digging in the warmth of the house. Since he was walking okay, I did not feel the need to carry his fluffy 14 lb butt the last mile. On our way home, Jack stopped at least 4 more times frantically licking his paw. He is very ticklish and when I tried to help, he would kick and pull it away. Again, he seemed to be walking fine in between his lick stops, so we continued on our way.
When we returned home, my driving duties with the kids resumed and I myself got a little "squirreled" on Jackson's paw issue. It wasn't until I was home later in the evening that I sat down to give him his good daily rub. To my complete heartbreak, he was COVERED in thistles all over his belly. I knew that is what I would find if I searched in between the long hair of his toes and dug in the pads. These thistles were small and very prickly.
I sat on the floor and picked out all the belly ones and then moved onto the paw. His left paw was fine, still ticklish, but fine. Then I felt it. There it was. Deep inside the soft pads of his right back paw. The poor guy had walked that last mile with this "disturbed" daisy thistle poking him. It took the help of my boy Quinn, to hold him down so I could pick it out. When I removed it, I let him smell it. He likes to smell everything I pull from his fur even if it is a matted chunk of his own brown softness. It kind of reminds me of when a kid has to watch the toilet flush to see what the heck just dropped out of their little body. "Good bye gross poop". Anyway, Jackson was now free of the thorny little disturbed part of the sweet and happy daisy flower. He snuggled up in his bed with my new soft blanket, and went back to doggie dreamland.
So back to the "Rand". As soon as I saw that bumper sticker, I realized I needed to write about Jackson today. First of all, the daisy is my favorite flower. FAVORITE. They are happy, beautiful, and when planted in your garden, they are stubborn and will continue growing (no matter how much you try and "weed them down", shining their beautiful faces towards the sun and to anyone who will look at them, (actually how I see myself a lot of the time). However, underneath one of the species of the daisy lies this little sticky thistle that hides inside, poking and hurting when you don't expect it, but also allowing you to continue "walking like normal" in front of those who don't know the internal pain you really may be feeling. Sound familiar?
Once again Jackson showed me something on our walk. He showed me that he can pick his paws up and continue moving forward one step at a time. He showed me that it is okay to stop and "lick your wound". He showed me that every time he licked his wound he would feel better for a little bit, until the walking forward became difficult and a little painful and he needed to stop and take a rest, lick, and then keep moving.
On our thistle walk, Jackson taught me that it is okay for me to have good days and bad days. It is okay for me to walk in front of people not showing the pain I really feel, and allowing myself to stop and be vulnerable in front of those who know and love me. I am still learning that the "rest and lick" times will still come and that they will be less and less over time. However, if I don't acknowledge when the pain and sadness are there, then that little thistle will dig itself in deeper and deeper until it makes my feet more difficult to step one in front of the other.
If only life were as simple as my long haired wiener dog's life. Have your "Mama" pick the thistle out and then go run and chase more squirrels. My thistle is still there poking at me. Some days more than others, but from the lesson I just learned from Jackson, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other until the thistle stops poking so hard. Thanks Jack. You are truly my brown haired little buddy.