• Lara Flanagan

Life according to Kevin

I simply adore Kevin and Rosie. They are much-loved family members who constantly remind me how clever and intuitive they are. I often think of how flawed we are as humans for so many of us to think that we are the superior species.

Kevin is often as mad as a cut snake, but he is also incredibly wise. Following are a few lessons I have learned from Kevin.

Every day is a new day:

It fascinates me every morning as we approach Tenterfield Park for our walk that Kevin behaves as if we are about to go to the world’s biggest theme park. Kevin whines, jumps up and down like a jack in the box so enthusiastically that his head repeatedly hits the roof of the car. When I pull up to the park, he presses against the boot door, almost as if he can smell the morning dew on the damp grass. As soon as the boot opens, he sprints into the park running the exact same path every morning whimpering with joy. Every day, every single day, he arrives at the park filled with irresistible joy. He behaves every morning as if it is his first time visiting this glorious place. Yet we have been walking in that park for almost 6 years.

Be grateful for every single moment

One of my first thoughts every morning, as I wake up and count my blessings, is to remember Kevin and how for him, every day is a new day. Every day is a day that offers us a blank slate with no mistakes in it as Anne with an E might say. Every moment is a moment to be grateful. When I see Kevin rolling in the dry grass of our yard, his head thrown back, his tongue hanging out I am reminded too that gratitude is a choice. We can be grateful for the opportunity to roll in the grass or we can moan about the dirt. Be grateful and roll in the grass.

Listening is far more important than speaking

Kevin does not speak but he listens, and I think he says far more than those who are constantly speaking, typing, tapping, or yelling. It is only when you listen that you can see who you are with. Kevin knows when I am happy, sad, cross, anxious, or filled with joy. He knows sometimes that all I need is for him to sit by my side and put his nose on my knee. Some of the best conversations I have had are with Kevin and neither of us say a word. In this crazy modern world, we all have an opinion and regardless of what we think, with the magic of google, you can find verification of your opinion and avenues to share your opinion. Even if your opinion is that the moon is made of cheese. I think that has spilled over into the real world where many are so busy talking, that they are incapable of listening. Kevin reminds me to shut up and listen. It is amazing what you learn when you simply listen to people, to the world, to the wind and the sun.

Relish the beauty of doing nothing

Working from home I love being a part of the rhythm of Kevin and Rosie’s lives. I am amazed at how much of the day they spend doing nothing and how they embrace it and relish it. On cold winter days, they follow the sun and end up moving with the patches of sunlight in the yard. On the really cold days, they move to our northern facing sunroom. In summer they follow the shade and come into the house when it is too hot. Rosie loves lying under the car, Kevin under the house. They recline, they sleep, they dream, they rest. I can watch them doing nothing for hours.

Judge creatures on the way they behave and how they treat you, everything else is immaterial.

Kevin does not care that I wear the same thing every day depending on the season. That my working gear at home tends to be faded old tracksuit pants and worn out long-sleeve t-shirts. Kevin does not notice that I go into winter hibernation and forget about shaving my legs. Kevin does not care what phone I use, what car I drive, what shoes I wear, what brand of jeans are mine. Kevin does not give one hoot for what I post on social media, what hashtags I use or the filters I put on my selfies. All Kevin cares about is that I love him. That my voice is kind, my hand is never cruel, and that I consistently give him all the love in the world. In return, he is a loyal constant companion. Kevin only cares about what I do, not what I say.

Those who are cruel he avoids; he does not share his oxygen with those who do not treat him well.

Life according to Kevin is the essence of simplicity. A reminder that life need not be complicated to be filled with joy.

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