We are now two full days into Week Four and communication is still an issue. We are both adjusting. Always adjusting.
There is the light side to our tumultuous interactions. The Man and I don’t have any children, but we have a pet rabbit, Lily, without whom we both could not picture a regular day of living. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, whether there is tension or not, we will stop whatever we are doing and point out any bunny flop, mischievous exploration, or visit to the couch as though it’s the first time she has done something besides sitting still.
I got Lily in March 2011, after my thryroidectomy. I had been living alone and one way that I wanted to positively spend my energy was to love something. It had gotten so grim for me, despite my positive prognosis, that I literally said that I just needed something to love. A friend of a friend of a coworker (no hyperbole) had moved into an apartment and had not previously cleared her pet with the landlord. And for reasons only known to her, she found her only option was to give this six-month-old bunny away.
My first night with her, I didn’t sleep. Every stir, water sip, movement, and noise she made, in turn made me jump out of bed to run over to the window of my bedroom door to check on her. I worried about it being too dark, too cold, too hot, too noisy for her little ears.
She quickly became the love of my life.
Fast forward two years, and The Man thinks I’m crazy for having a pet rabbit, in New York City of all places. She doesn’t immediately trust him, nor does he trust her. It was only after a year that he began getting closer, cuddling, and even picking her up.
Today, I get pictures of her flops, nudges, cuddle sessions, and yawns anytime I’m not home.
Even when things are tense, Lily has created a common ground upon which we can meet without expectations or limits. It sounds silly, but this is something for which I am hugely grateful. The context of our relationship is so different today than it was a month, six months, a year ago. We are adjusting our abilities to give and communicate, and at the same time, we are adjusting expectations of ourselves and each other.
There is still more that binds us than that which divides, but the most apparent in our daily life is a seven-pound bundle of love. It is important to recognize even a small victory in a time of uncertainty.
I am so grateful that I found her, because so much about me and my cancer experience would have been different. Furthermore, I am so grateful that I found The Man who has fully embraced my pet as his own; and together, we have let that become another facet of our bond.