Monday, December 24, 2012

About Kissing and Licking

I know, I know!  I is an enticing title but read along and you'll find it is appropriate for my lightbulb of insight that I got yesterday.

The day started rough.  I awoke with a backache and with my right leg, the one with the recently repaired ruptured superior quad tendon, numb and quite painful.  This happens every several days or so in the, so far, seven week recovery process (with months and months of physical therapy stretching in front of me).  I laid in bed trying to massage the back of my right leg with my left foot.  It was marginally successful but I really did need the whole leg massaged before I got up and started moving around on it.  So I called on my dear husband Walt and he came to my rescue.

I laid on my right side with my left knee bent in front of me so I was almost lying on my stomach.  Lying like this made it so I could completely relax the muscles in my right leg and made it possible for Walt to have access to the entire leg at once.  The brace and restricted movement has really affected my circulation so he worked on the muscles down the back of my leg and as he got closer to my foot I could feel my foot "waking up" as the nerves started firing or the blood started circulating or whatever.  It felt amazing and was such a relief.

Just as Walt finished, Bruno, our 6 1/2 pound yorkie mix began licking the back of my thigh.  Walt and I stopped talking to avoid distracting him.  He slowly and methodically licked his way down the back of my leg towards my foot.  He stopped and licked in a certain place for a little bit at the several places that I had asked Walt to work a little more on.  Walt was not showing him where those places were - he just knew somehow - those were the places where I felt surges of life coming back into my foot and those were the places that Bruno found too.

When he got down to my ankle he stopped licking and went over and laid down.  I rolled over onto my back and called him over to me and cuddled and petted him.  Mostly I just thanked him for being my little angel dog.

I know, I KNOW!  Some of you are dog people and that kind of situation is probably normal  and totally accepatable and expected.  Some of my readers in other countries like Turkey, Iran, Syria, etc. don't even HAVE dogs for pets. For many people, myself included up until just recently, like maybe today, that would seem hideous and icky.  The feel of saliva in general, regardless of the kind of mammal it is coming from, generally grosses me out.  The sound of licking also is creepy to me.  And, as such, I have trained Bruno to not lick me or kiss me.   He also has been encouraged to only lick himself when I'm out of earshot.  Walt, on the other hand, does not have those boundaries, so Bruno routinely kisses him on the lips and the ear and likes to lick Walt's wrist every now and then.

Bruno is 13 years old.  That is a lot of years to NOT kiss me and then to all of the sudden decide a whole leg needed attention.  But it really isn't all of the sudden because he has been ever so attentive to this knee injury ever since I had surgery.  When he's on my lap he insists on draping himself over that leg and resting his head right on the top of the incision. At first this was painful so I couldn't have him on my lap because he refused to lie anywhere else.  Since it is mostly healed I can tolerate him on my lap but he is very focused on that leg. This is not his normal lap sitting position.  I can move him off the leg and he moves right back onto it.

Here is Bruno working his healing magic on my knee.

So that happened.  And the day went on.  I was checking my Facebook and my second cousin K. had posted a new profile pic of her with her fiance'.  She's in her early twenties and we have never met but I've found her to be edgy and interesting.  I've met her dad P. only a couple of times but know her grandparents quite well as they are my mom's brother and sister in law.  I was a "server" at their wedding which at the age of 11 was such an honor.  The bride, my new aunt, was stunning with long auburn hair and a big, easy smile.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.  And I realized today that one of the reasons I enjoyed visiting K.'s page so much is because she looks now SO much like her grandmother did when I first met her.  It's like leaping back into time.

So, I made an awkward attempt to explain all that to K. and her dad P. I apologized for the weirdness but they were very gracious and then other cousins jumped in and backed up my observation so it ended up being a marvelous way to connect with some family that I don't know well at all.

It really never occurred to me until several hours afterwards that there was a link between Aunt B. and my licking boundaries.  It wasn't her per se that tipped the balance but she did represent for me a time when I drew a certain and definitive line in the sand:  No More Relatives Were Going To Get To Kiss Me.

It's like this you see:  The Griffiths family are a whole bunch of kissers.  I say "are" because I'm assuming they still are but I really haven't kept track since I stopped participating- so we will just stick with the term "are".  They love to wrap you in their arms, hold you to their chest or breast, then pull away and kiss you smack on the lips.  Right.on.the.lips. And this is a family well endowed with lips.  They have voluptuous lips which turn into big, much too loving smiles and beautiful teeth as well.  These peope are way, way nicer people than I ever thought of being.

I spent quite a lot of time around this side of the extended family for a variety of reasons so there was a certain amount of familiarity expected.  Aunt B. came into the family fully endowed with her own set of full,voluputuous lips and was a kisser just like the rest of that darned bunch but the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when she, complete albeit beautiful,total stranger, kissed me full on the lips the first time I met her (or something like that).  It was then I put my foot down and noone was allowed to kiss me after that.

It is important to note that I did figure out that I DID like SOME people kissing me.  Apparently strange boys that I had barely met were acceptable but NO relatives. And I apparently like kissing feisty Irishmen because I've married two of them (not at the same time, mind you).

So I was 11 at that time.  I do remember informing my parents that I would no longer be kissing them goodnight when I was in the 2nd grade - so that is what - age 7 or so?  So the boundary setting had started at age 7 and then extended full circle when I was 11.

As I went to bed last night I just kept flashing on Aunt B's smiling lips coming in to kiss me and I'm like "What the heck?  Why am I flashing on this?  What is it trying to tell me?"  And then I realized that my boundaries with teaching Bruno not to lick or kiss me was based in the same place.

Now, I've had a therapist or two suggest this early no kissing boundary could have been based in some sort of inappropriate experience with an an adult at a younger age.  And my therapist in Denver, Phyllis, seemed very concerned and puzzled by my no licking boundary with Bruno since she saw it in action because he came to therapy with me (coolest therapy EVER).  I'm not sure. But I've done a crapload of work around it and I'm still just not sure.  So, I'll chalk it up to a simple aversion.  Well, simple in most families.  Not so simple in OUR family.

As I matured I was ever so happy to be given the thin lipped, small mouth that came from my dad's side of the gene pool.  Imagine my shock when I learned that voluptuous lips are seen to be sexy! (That awareness truly did not hit me until Angelina Jolie became popular - I was well into my 30s).  Its good I didn't get the Griffiths' lips.  They surely would have been wasted on me..

My grown daughter has a version of those lips and they look fabulous on her.  I have never kissed her or her brothers on the mouth though.  Lots of kissing people still try to kiss me and the errant kiss usually lands on the side of my neck which, truth be told, is actually creepier than if they'd just smacked one on my lips.

Just STOP with the kissing already!  And the licking - well unless you're MY dog and I have a hurt knee.  Maybe I would let the relatives kiss my knee. is worth pondering.  Now hopefully I can get to sleep.

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

PS.  My stepdaughter Amanda Falso is now an Arbonne Consultant.  I've tried several of the products and I'm very impressed.  The Vanilla protein shake mix has no dairy and no soy and is yummy and versatile in making smoothies.  I love the Baby Shampoo which I use as both a shampoo and body wash.  The BEST product I've tried so far is the RE9 Renewing Serum  Great stuff! Check out her website at Amanda's Arbonne Page  She has a couple of end of year give aways planned so it pays to check in and order now! 

Copyright (c) 2012- Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.


  1. Dear Char, hope all is weel with you. i've read your blog and i love it!!! you always amaze me with the things you have posted on facebook ect.!!!you're a great writer!!! i would like to thank you for being the sweet person you are. i know we don't know each other all that well. but now you live closer. orlando is not that far from panama city. am looking forward to future visits. it knda sucks being on disability, but on the other hand. there are so many things and places to see and go in florida. i've been on disability since 1999. i've found some great places to go shelling as well. walking the beach looking for shells is great therapy. helps to clear your mind body and spirit as well as having the reward of finding great shells. i would like to take this time to thank you for all the love, support and happiness you've givin my brother. i've not seen him so happy!! you both have found your match. i know in my heart that you both will live and love together for the rest of your lives. i'm so glad that you are part of the family. welcome. not sure of how many fo us has said that to you. so on that note, i wish you a speedy recovery with your knee. physical therapy does help. keep up the good work and keep exercising it, so it won't freeze up on you. GOD BLESS!!
    Love Always,
    Your Sister-Inlaw,

  2. Dear dear Laura, thank you SO much for the praise and words of encouragement about my writing. I am having lots of fun with it and having an outlet to share my odd journey and to share my sense of humor and irony feeds my soul.

    Yes Buddy and I are soulmates. We are the best of friends, we belly laugh almost daily and he is a constant source of entertainment. We have both worked so hard to learn how to have healthier relationships and the gift for us is that we get to share that with other people. I appreciate the love and warmth your family has shown me too. I look forward to a visit soon. Char