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Look for the good stories, even when times seem bad

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

by Melanie Nicholas

On my way home from the vet’s office last Tuesday, a radio disc jockey shared the story of World War II veteran William "Bill" Lapschies. Now, Bill is a pretty amazing old feller. He survived the war, Spanish flu and the Great Depression. Turning 104 last month, he was also, now, a Covid 19 survivor. The deejay then added that he would only be sharing positive coronavirus stories like Bill’s from now on, he wanted to put more good out into the world.

It takes about 20 minutes to get home from the doggy doctor’s office, so I had a few minutes to think about that. Hmmmm, good news during the coronavirus … . Now, don’t get me wrong. I could easily be a Negative Nancy about it. It is so much easier to focus on all the bad things going on right now. Because honestly, people are still scared and sick and worried about their businesses recovering. We miss our friends and our places. Heck, we miss disinfectant wipes, paper towels and toilet paper, too!

But being negative never helps a situation. I am working hard on modelling positive thinking for my kids, and for my own sanity, too. I started to wonder about what good stories I had in my own life during this pandemic.

One of my good stories is seeing my children grow closer to each other. When you only have each other to play with because Mommy stinks at Minecraft, well, you come to appreciate your little sister a little more. The Hubs and I are especially close to our own siblings, so I love seeing my babies building this foundation of lifelong friendship!

I baked my first cake -- from scratch -- for The Hubs' birthday this year! No candles? No problem! Just use a votive!

Another literal bit of goodness during this time is that I have learned that I like to bake. From scratch, y’all! The Hubs celebrated a birthday a few weeks ago, so the kids and I decided to make him a cake. I knew his birthday called for something really special, so I called my Aunt Margie to get our family sheet cake recipe. My Mamo always made sheet cakes for my birthday, and the pandemic has me feeling very nostalgic. So I thought I would try my hand at it. I got a little overly confident when I tried to flip the cake out onto another pan to cool. It cracked and stuck in a couple of places, but some extra icing covered that right up. I also couldn’t find any birthday candles, but didn’t want to go to the grocery to get more. So I popped a big, fat white votive in the middle of the cake and set it on fire! It was delicious, and tasted just like my childhood. It was so delicious, in fact, that after everyone had a second piece, I wrapped it up and forced The Hubs to take it to his office to share. Food, apparently, is also good during a pandemic!

I really don’t like playing board games on family game nights. I am not a fun mom. But I have learned that I love working puzzles with the kids! We worked a 300 piece “Golden Girls” puzzle on the kitchen table, and I enjoyed telling them all about Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia while we listened to Duran Duran at top volume. See? Nostalgic!

But one of the biggest blessings of our period of confinement happened last Tuesday. I was cooking lunch on the stove, when our sweet dog Dutch layed down on my feet. Not unusual, the boy loves to eat and always places himself strategically for any falling morsels. But out of the corner of my eye I noticed that his legs began to flail around, like he was swimming without water. He lurched up, then fell. I realized he was having a seizure, so I crouched down to wrap my arms around him, careful to avoid his mouth. I didn’t want him to hurt himself or hit his head. His seizure lasted about two minutes, which feels like an eternity, and he had a hard time coming out of it. After he finally settled down some and his breathing slowed, I drove him straight to the vet’s office.

While I am not a doctor, I do know that left untreated, seizures can cause brain damage and even death in dogs. After an exam and bloodwork, our vet prescribed a twice daily anti-seizure medication. The medicine will make him sleepy for the first two weeks, but should not otherwise affect his personality. If I hadn’t been sheltering at home, I would not have seen this happen, and he could have been injured. We are hopeful that the medicine will stop the seizures altogether or at least stop them from becoming progressively worse. He is a precious dog, and my kids could not bear it if anything happened to him.

So today, I think I will bake another sheet cake to celebrate Bill’s belated birthday and all the positive corona stories in my own life. Cheers to you, Bill, here’s to another year of looking for the good and wonderful!

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