Another case of the dreaded Abby Syndrome

I like to call it the Abby Syndrome.
As a teenager, when I started to realize what was going on in this world, we had a basset hound and a black Labrador retriever. Upon coming home, the Lab, “Cinder,” would run right up to you, stopping whatever she was doing, and welcome you with excitement, kisses, and hugs.
“Abby,” the basset, would instead scurry around the house, looking for something, anything, to find and present to you. A bone, a toy, an old sock. Anything that really didn’t matter to the person would eventually show up and be dropped at your feet.
That was Abby. Her frantic panic when someone arrived was what helped coin the phrase the “Abby Syndrome.”
Truth was, as a teenager, I saw this very disease attack my parents, but mostly my father. Whenever we’d have guests over, my mother would prepare what needed to be done to welcome the guests into the house. She would clean the parts of the house they would see and usually whip up some delicious food that they would eat.
And that was the end of preparations for her, so that she could be giving them exactly what they needed, like Cinder the Labrador.
My father, on the other hand, was a tragic sufferer of the Abby Syndrome. If we’d have dinner guests over, instead of helping where help was needed, he’d run around like the little basset and organize his tool bench, sweep the garage, and clean his gun collection. All things that the guests really would never see.
Now, in my own married life, I look back at what I learned from my dogs and my parents and it is a real eye-opener.
I used to think it was a male vs. female sort of thing, that men were the typical victims of the Abby Syndrome. I thought this because I have heard stories of my father-in-law straightening up his woodshop and have seen my own husband rake brush piles in the hidden corners of our yard before a dinner party.
But now I know the Abby Syndrome extends beyond gender lines. And it must be genetic.
Sadly enough, I’ve got it, too.
It became all too apparent to me that I take after my father (and my dog) when it came to hosting a meeting of a local service organization at my house. Being part like my mother, I dusted the living room, where they would all sit. I wiped down the windows in the dining room, where the food would be. I took care of the toys that would be in plain sight in the house and through the windows.
But then the genetic defect kicked in, and I started doing crazy things, things my father might have done. I scrubbed my stove and cleaned the bedrooms and dusted on top of my refrigerator and other such absurdities that no one will ever look for, nor notice.
Outside, I swept the front porch and trimmed the bushes, even though my guests will all arrive in the cover of darkness.
And so I ask my tired, worn out self, why? Why would I let myself get sucked in to the bad habits? Why must I scamper around like that floppy-eared drooler of my youth? (The dog, of course, not my dad…)
The only answer I can come up with is that I must indeed be wired like this. I must have a third-degree case of the Abby Syndrome, and I just need to grab the mop and accept it.
Besides, it’s not all that bad. The top of my fridge and my stove really needed to be cleaned.
Maybe I’ll have to have another big gathering in a few months when they get dirty again.


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