Change is hard.
As infants, we had to adjust from the warmth of the womb to the icy sterile birthing room (or one of those at-home swimming pool deals that I’ll never quite understand) or perhaps the back of a taxi or the floor of an elevator. You get my drift. Our very first experience on this planet was a massive change of venue.
As kids, we had to adjust to new teachers, classrooms, and subject matter. If you were homeschooled, you had to adjust to Mom’s Mood-of-the-Day. And I can’t imagine the change-fatigue that families who’d never chosen to homeschool underwent during the pandemic.
In the middle-aged years, we have job changes, kids moving on or out, relationship shifts, bodily shifts (I double-checked the spelling of that last part, as the alternate word without the ‘F’, though accurate, brings up a whole new visual), and perhaps another change of abode—or twelve.
And elder-ish adult humans are nowhere near done with change, even though they may be set in their ways.
Through all these stages, we amass things. Needed things. Wanted things. Things we didn’t ask for. Things we saved for. Things others bestowed upon us with smiles, so we feel we must keep the things to not offend…
A loved one has been going through a massive life change. The transition from independent living to long-term care is an adjustment of epic proportions.
And my, my, my… the things.
Things that must be relocated, stored, swapped, switched, pitched, donated, etc., etc. What stuff we gather on our trips around the sun.
But we really don't need that much:
An infant’s immediate needs are a bath, a blanket, and a drink of milk.
The school kids need caring guardians of the parental and instructional sort to set them on solid footing for adulthood. They also need a bath, a blanket, and a swig of fruit punch.
Middle-agers? Bathing is important. Blankets, yes. And drinks. Well. I’m thinking coffee or a Diet Coke, but you may be thinking of something a bit stronger.
The elder-ish? Bathing (pretty please). And blankets and hugs and a drink of Ensure or Boost or milk or fruit punch. Or something with more of a punch. Anything, really. Who cares? Live it up at this point.
Those are the needed things.
As the family did that relocate/store/switch/swap/pitch/donate dance with a household full of things, I found something I didn’t know I wanted, let alone needed, among the piles.
It went down like this:
We required an outside door-holder-opener with the many trips in and out of this loved one’s apartment. So. Many. Trips. To load all the things. Lots and lots of back and forth.
This gave the concrete goose that’s guarded the door for as long as the lady lived there a higher purpose. Something useful to do. And, clearly, a 65-pound goose isn’t going to the nursing home. So… it held open the door it had graced for so many years.
As I went to and fro with armload after armload and box after box, this lady goose stood stalwart in a red velvet Christmas cape, complete with a little red bonnet. She rolled her eyes at me. Easter was almost here. Why was she still wearing red velvet?
**Side Note: Right here, let me address the fact that I saw this goose—concrete, mind you—roll her eyes at me. You may be thinking, “Wow. Beth hasn’t made much progress with the Couch Lady, has she?” Or maybe, like me, you’re thinking, “Wow. Beth has hit a midlife crisis complete with a brand new kind of psychosis.” And you could be right on those accounts. I’m going with this: Life is short. Change is coming whether we like it or not (most of the time, it’s a NOT!). So if you want meaningful relationships with a Muse, three cats, and a lawn ornament, who’s it hurting? Go for it. Then write about it right out there in public and keep people guessing. End side note.**
On the fiftieth trip, or thereabouts, I noticed her little bonnet was hanging sideways. I tipped my head to her. I understood the feeling of not being put together. Neither my bonnet, my bloomers, nor my bra has been straight for over a decade. It’s been an uncomfortable season of life.
Twenty more trips past her, and the bonnet was gone.
Another knowing nod passed between us, and with that, a deal was struck and a bond forged.
She’d be my goose. Not a hallway goose or an entryway goose or a landscaping goose. No, sirree. There are plenty of other geese—concrete ones and fully organic varieties—to take care of those duties.
Nope. This lady is getting a promotion. To office goose.
Little Miss Muse went wild.
“What will we name her?”
“Is she coming home today?”
“Is she gonna go naked or have a wardrobe? I can share a tutu, but she’ll have to get her own high heels.”
As Little Miss jumped onto Amazon to find our lady a closet full of capes and such, I informed the Hubs. “We’re getting a goose. The goose. Your mom’s goose.”
Now, you must understand that he (along with others in the family) has moved this goose to and fro more times than anyone cares to think about. He was looking forward to never seeing this goose again. Ten years ago, the Hubs would’ve considered my declaration for about five seconds and said, “No.” Or at least “Why?” But, and I refer you to the side note above, like you, the Hubs is wondering what’s happening to Beth. “Of course. Where do you want it?” was his reply.
He knows neither my bonnet, my bloomers, nor my bra has been straight for over a decade. It’s been an uncomfortable season of life, and I think he fears what might end up wonked-out on his wife next if he gives any little bit of pushback. I try not to take advantage of this fear, but, I mean... An office goose!
So, on the last round of apartment-move-out, he and his buddy loaded up my lady and brought her to the house.
And his buddy named her! I wasn’t prepared for that. I almost went wonky about it, but then I decided to be grateful for the help getting this 65-pound goose to the house, straightened my unmentionables, and declared, “Why not?”
Gertrude is her name. She prefers to be called Trudi. With an i. The little letter ‘i’ reminds her of a unicorn horn, she told me.
It was my turn to go wild (I mean, little-girl Beth inside me went wild. I, dear reader, remained mature and not the least bit giddy—lest one of you go running to Couch Lady or Doc Guy or something foolish like that). It was meant to be: A goose-i-corn.
Otherwise known as a needed thing.
Little Miss Muse piled a bunch more stuff into the Amazon cart, and a complete wardrobe refresh is forthcoming.
Trudi waited patiently for us to find the right kind of goose-i-corn paint and, thanks to Little Miss, the exact right kind of glitter.
“I’ll even share purple with her.” She pirouetted out to the garage to wait with Trudi while the paint dried.
I wasn’t aware Little Miss thought an entire slice of the color wheel belonged to her, but I won’t squash her enthusiasm.
So, Trudi gets a much-needed upgrade.
Little Miss gets a much-needed friend.
I gain a new office assistant. Trudi will be in charge of the random book review and guarding against writer’s block—being made of the same stuff most blocks are made of gives her expertise in this area.
I settled her into my office after her bath with her very own blanket, a glass of fruit punch—and a hug. She gave me a nod and a wink. “Thanks, Beth. I needed this.”
Me too, Trudi. Me too.