Monday, August 1, 2016

The Infinite Garfield Loop: A Post-Adoption Update

Our whole family has been sucked into The Infinite Garfield Loop. Sensi, my boy, has taken us there. He was introduced to this fat, lazy, mischievous cat by my daughters during the summer reading program at the library. Our lives have never been the same.

The Infinite Garfield Loop begins as soon as Sensi, my boy, wakes in the morning. He thumps down the stairs, flips on a light, and curls on the couch with a Garfield Fat Cat 3-Pack: volume 1.
After a recess for breakfast, Sensi, my son, returns to the couch for another 3-Pack of the Fat Cat: volume 7. Later we drag him outside for a breath of fresh air and some creative play. He ducks inside for a bathroom stop. Sensi, my boy, does not come back out. We poke our head in the house and find him reclining on the couch, Garfield Fat Cat 3-Pack: volume Infinity in his lap.

Garfield books are strewn about living room, stocked in the bathroom, stored in the kitchen, and stashed in our cars. One place they are not is the public library; Sensi, my boy, has checked them all out. Several pages have come loose from numerous volumes. I fear the fine of all fines.

We have other kid books at home. Stacks of them: Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and Bible stories and Frog and Toad collections. Sensi, my boy, chooses Garfield almost every time. At least his preference for Pinkalicous only lasted two weeks.

Garfield comics, I have learned, follow a predictable plot. Jim Davis, the creator, recycles five motifs - Garfield eat food, takes a nap, watches TV, mocks his owner, or bullies others. In spite of its repetitiveness, Sensi, my boy, laughs every time. He often brings an opened volume to us and points at a page. He mimics Garfield smashing a spider or kicking Odie in the rear. He even supplies sound effects: Pssssh. Wooosh. Pfffff. 
At first, we prized Garfield as a connecting point with the newest member of our family. We rallied around lasagna jokes and belly bumps. When Sensi chuckled, the rest of us followed suit. When he shared a page with us, we nodded and read along. Then Garfield became An Infinite Loop. A Black Hole. A Hiding Place for Sensi, my boy, and I wanted him to come outside and play.

I recognize Sensi, my boy, continues to adjust to his new family. He left his culture and crossed an ocean to live with strangers. Perhaps Garfield is his best window into America; the fat, lazy, may be a metaphor for us. Or, perhaps, Garfield is simply a safe place for Sensi, my boy.

In any case, we must give him time to embrace America and All Things New. We must show patience as he learns the meaning of family. And we must allow him the Infinite Garfield Loop - his refuge - until he is ready to come outside and play.

Until he does, we will enter The Loop with him (sometimes kicking and screaming), drawing close to draw him out. It is what any one of us would need if caught in an Infinite Garfield Loop. And we all have them. So we all need others to draw us out.

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