When I was a young married woman without kids, my husband and I (okay so maybe it was just I, and he went along with it because he couldn’t resist my charms, heh) decided to get a pet kitten. We went to the SPCA and brought home a teensy orange tabby that weighed exactly one pound. He fit in the palm of my hand, and he was the sweetest wittle ting you’ve ever seen. Okay, so this picture was after he had grown for a few months. I know I had younger pictures of him, but danged if I know what happened to them.
Pay no attention to the child holding the kitten. What was I, 12?
I had never had pets as a child, unless you count the fish and the highly reproductive gerbils, Diana and Charles. Yes, Diana and Charles. I am dead serious.
All that to say, I had never had a pet that loves you back until we brought our little Peanut home. One afternoon, a few weeks after we brought him home, when he was still very much a kitten, he leaped up into my lap and fell fast asleep while I rubbed his furry head. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, cradling my pet kitty in my lap, and I looked forward to spending many hours indulging my heretofore unfulfilled maternal instincts.
*Giggle. I just used heretofore in a sentence.*
I’m sure you know where this is going. Kittens, like children, grow and change rapidly. And those afternoons of my kitten napping in my lap were short-lived. One day he hopped up in my lap, laid down for a bit, and then scampered off to snooze elsewhere. And that was that. He never again napped in my lap, and I while I loved him for his other sweet antics, I always missed the early days.
Fast forward about 10 years, and I have a child that does the same thing. It is not unusual for my youngest child to crawl up into my lap when I’m sitting here at the computer, nestle herself into my arms, and fall fast asleep. I absolutely treasure every single moment she spends curled up in my lap. She started doing it when she was two, and now that she is a sturdy four-year-old, her impromptu lap naps are growing scarce.
These days I’m a seasoned mom of three, and I have no delusions of this stage lasting forever. In fact, when she crawled up in my lap this afternoon and fell asleep, I sat here thinking, this could very well be the last time she does this.
My instincts were confirmed when I tried to get up and move her to her bed, and we wound up everywhere BUT her bed. She immediately woke up as I tip-toed lumbered up the stairs. (Did I mention this child is SOLID? I’m talking about one heavy load.) When she realized what was going on, she waged a protest, and it wasn’t a peaceful one either. I quickly determined that there was no use trying to get her back to sleep in her bed and allowed her to stay up and play.
So here I sit, once again bemoaning the passing of the early days. My youngest is a full-fledged preschooler with a mind of her own and a will to prove it. I wouldn’t have her any other way, and yet I would do almost anything to re-live a few precious moments from her younger years.
Perhaps it’s time to get another kitten.
Author’s Note: I wrote this post last week sometime.