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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Remembrances of May

I was busy the other day taking care of all the paperwork involved in settling my mom into the nursing home when I stopped cold and took a long look at the calendar. The month of May had passed in a blur of activity most of which was laden down with anxiety and stress. What had made me stop was a date circled almost smack dab in the middle of the month. I had forgotten it. A date I haven’t missed in so many years. I felt just awful. I sat back in my chair and watched as the circled date became blurry through my tears.

She was just a tiny thing when we met. All eyes and ears. I had gone in search for something different but instead found her. I stood looking in at the kittens behind the glass. Some were napping, while others tried to play in the little room they had in their cages. I was drawn to a cage that held a trio of Tuxedo kittens. Their black and white markings those like Sylvester, the Cat, I secretly thought maybe I ought to get a yellow parakeet too. My mom was with me that day to help me decide. I think it was more to ensure that I came home with only one kitten, not more.

I had moved to Tacoma, Washington a few years before. When I had moved I had to give up my cat Sebastian, a beautiful Tuxedo to a new home. I was moving in with family on a military base after a bad divorce. I just didn’t have the money to take care of me anymore let alone him. He was better off with the family I found. Now here I was back on my feet, but lonely. A cat lady with no cat. I felt empty without a purr buddy in my life. So when my mom came to live with me, we decided it was time for some feline love.

I was watching the kittens as I studied the adoption procedures from a pamphlet the pet store clerk had given me. I liked the fact that the kittens were from the local shelter, there on loan. I hated thinking that they came from a breeding mill. I felt a presence beside me and turned thinking it was my mom but it was a stranger. He smiled at me and asked which one I was interested in. I wondered if he was an employee, but he wore no badge or uniform. I told him I was interested in one of the black and white kittens, there was one, whose markings were interesting. I imagined how they would look as he grew.

He agreed that it was a cutie. I had decided on a male, and when a woman wearing the store t-shirt entered in to take care of the kittens I asked her what the sex was on the kitten I had chosen. It turned out that all the Tuxedo kittens were females. I was heartbroken.I had my heart set on one. The other cats being offered were older, but I have special needs where it comes with cats. I am extremely allergic, so I have to train them not to scratch me. It is hard to this with the older cats, so I turned to hunt for mom. It was time to go home empty handed.

Mom and I headed out the door and was walking across the parking lot when the guy who had talked to me, called for my attention. I was kind of worried, he was after all a stranger. I told mom to go on to the car and met him back in front of the store. He asked if I really wanted a kitten, I rolled my eyes and asked him sarcastically what he thought I was doing just a few minutes before. He laughed and shocked me by telling me I was cute. It was at that moment I noticed he was kind of cute himself with a set of killer eyes. How had I missed eyes the color of a sparkling Peridot?

That tells you the power cats hold over me when I missed a handsome face standing right next to me. Anyway, he told me he knew a lady who had a couple of litters of cats. He wasn’t sure what all the colors were but he said he could introduce us if I was interested. I told him to let me discuss it with my mom and I would get back to him. I headed back to the car and told mom what he had said. Even telling her about him saying I was cute. She turned to study him for a bit and then told me it was up to me. My instincts were telling me to go meet this lady, so I went back and told the guy I was interested.

He asked for my phone number and told me that he would go talk to her and then give me a call if she was interested. I searched through my purse for a blank piece of paper and quickly scribbled my number down for him. I watched to see what vehicle he got into and then told mom we might as well head home until we heard back from him. It was a couple of hours before I would hear back from him, in fact, I was beginning to think he was not on the up and up with me. I was sitting lounging back on the sofa, while mom napped across the room when the phone rang. It was him. He told me the address, and we made arrangements to meet there in an hour.

It turns out that the lady was the proverbial cat lady. And the police had given her notice to get rid of the cats, or they would be coming in to take them from her. She, in fact, had two litters outside, one of them being a litter of beautiful seal point Siamese and the other a litter of orange tiger kittens. I went over and check the Siamese having been a breeder years before of Himalayan kittens. The poor babies were covered in fleas and didn’t look too healthy. She said she also had a litter that was on the verge of being weaned, but they were inside. I asked to see this litter of kittens.

The kicker was it only had two kittens, the rest had died. Both were female. Something urged me to ask to still see them. She went into the other room saying the mother had made her nest in the bedroom, in the back of the closet. Mom and I waited for her to return, making small talk with the guy instrumental in this introduction.It was a couple of minutes later she returned with one small gray, black and white kitten. She said she couldn’t find the other one which was white and black. I asked to hold the little ball of fur, and she said she would go see if she could find the other one. I could have told her not to bother, but she had already exited the room.

The small creature I held in my hands fit in just one hand truth be told. She looked up at me with the biggest pearlescent blue eyes. They reminded me of the color of my Dad’s eyes. I always thought it funny that his name meant misty-eyed, that was what this scrawny, little lady's eyes were. Right then and there I named her after my Dad. CeCelia, a big name for a tiny bit of fur. I held her up for my mom to look at and told her what I wanted to name her. My mom studied her for a few seconds and shook her head in agreement. The lady came back in the room, her hands still empty. I told her I would take the one I was holding. She seemed to relax a bit, one less kitten to worry about.

I snuggled my little CeCelia, to my chest as we exited out into the bright rare sunshine-filled day for the Pacific Northwest. We stopped to watch the other cats roaming around the lady’s backyard. I asked her when was CeCe’s birthday. She smiled. “I can remember her birthday perfectly. She and her sister were born on Mother’s Day. My daughter and her children had come by for a visit. The kids were playing in my bedroom when they told me mama cat was acting funny. We all gathered into the room, and that was when I found the first kitten. She was an older cat, and I knew that this would probably be her last litter. We all watched as she gave birth to the rest of the litter.” She reached over a scratched my sleeping kitten's head.

“I have had her mama for a long time, and she looks just like her. I’m glad she is going to a good home. Her birthday is May thirteenth.” I thank the lady again, and we headed out to my car. Mom got in and I handed our new passenger to mom to hold while I stopped and thanked the guy. He told me he was glad at least he could save one kitten, but he would be back for the next couple days at the pet store offering the cats to people before they were taken away. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I drove home with my new baby, she was a very good passenger.

That was almost ten years ago. I have never missed celebrating CeCe’s birthday once in all of those years. We have a ritual, I take her picture, and then she follows me to the kitchen where she supervises me opening a can of her special food. She only gets wet food on special occasions.I think her birthday rates as a very special occasion. I missed my baby girl’s birthday. I can’t get that day back. And her tenth birthday, we have been through so much together, and I forgot her birthday. My tears have continued to fall, dropping down into the collar of my shirt.

I feel a nudge against my head as she jumps up on my desk. She always comes to check on me when I’m crying. Soon I have Neko up beside her. They both nuzzle me and make small purrs. Neko meows at me as if asking why are you crying, Mama. He climbs into my lap. My big furry therapist. I smile through my tears. I tell him I forgot sissy’s birthday, and he reaches over and gives her a nuzzle. She sits perfectly poised on my desk, and I promise her that next year she will get two cans. And I promise never to forget again. I think she has forgiven me. It may take me a bit longer to forgive myself.

Thanks for journeying down memory lane with on this Glimpse of My World. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember even our fur babies deserve to have their birthday celebrated. After all, if they hadn’t been born, they wouldn’t be here to provide you companionship. As always I hope this finds you living life fully, and laughing often.

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