Monday, November 12, 2012

Compassionate Corners

Every day I am amazed at the parallels between my fuzzy boy siblings and my verbal boy siblings; it's as if they are riding in the same car on a roller coaster, one pair behind the other, watching for cues on how to behave.

When I say 'behave', I don't mean how to stay out of trouble. I'm talking about compassion.

My two little guys, Ben and Flash, have both been struggling lately. With Ben, it's a little easier because we can talk to him and get some answers to help find out what's going on. But Flash is a bit of a mystery.

Some days, he'll eat and others, he won't. He gets sick often, but not much. He sleeps fine, but seems sluggish at times. Is he in pain? What's bothering him? Does it help to eat or make it worse? We're just not sure. It's trial and error.

One day last week, after power had been restored, we had to go out for a while, so we put Flash into his large crate with food, water and his bed just like we always do when we go out. I came back a couple of hours later to discover an incredible mess of the whole cage: dishes flipped, wet and soiled bed... it's was as if Flash just went nuts. We couldn't figure out what went wrong, but we did have to throw out his bed. We gave him a big stack of blankets to sleep on in the meantime, until we can find a replacement bed. It hasn't been cold, and so we figured he'd be fine and comfy.

Apparently, we were wrong.

Since then, Flash been sneaking into Bailey's bed when Bailey's getting a drink of water or is otherwise preoccupied. It's big and fluffy, and seems more plush than the stack of blankets. At first, Bailey would whine to us until we went downstairs, realized what was going on and put Flash into his own bed so Bailey could lie down.

Lately, though, as Flash has been moving more slowly, Bailey has changed his behavior. Instead of whining, he just goes into Flash's blanket pile instead. In fact, even when I get Flash out and tell Bailey to come lie down in his own bed, Bailey seems loath to move. As if he's saying, "It's OK, mom, he needs it more than I do."

Meanwhile, on the upstairs level of the house, Ben has been having a hard time with a lot of things lately. He gets frustrated, we get frustrated, and the tension is rising all around. But Jacob knows the situation, and that Ben is doing the best he can. Rather than blow up at him as, honestly, I would expect to happen when Ben gets like he gets sometimes, Jacob just rolls with it. And I can't help but think of Bailey, the compassionate "big" brother downstairs, doing what Jacob is doing: staying patient, keeping the peace, letting it roll off his back because he knows it's bigger than just this very moment.

I don't know how much of it is instinct, how much is personality or how much is learned, but for all the struggles going on in this house right now, I could not be more proud of how all the siblings are caring for their own.