Back on October 27, my oldest turned 10. What a milestone! I had totally planned on writing a moving and poignant post about how she’s grown and changed and the remarkable ways in which she’s touched my life.
But then life itself took over. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. (because, after all, you still do have to work even if it is the tenth anniversary of the day you became a mother!) and when I was walking into my daughter’s room to wake her, I noticed something.
Something frightfully horrible that I knew I needed to hide from her.
One of our guinea pigs had died overnight. And say what you like about guinea pigs (really, please do…I hate them myself); having a cherished pet die on your tenth birthday is really no way to start the day. So, instead of kissing her awake and crooning “Happy Birthday” softly into her ear, I surreptitiously bundled up the already-stiff rodent and hid it on a shelf in the (thankfully cold) garage.
Despite not knowing that her pet was dead, and despite the fact that it was her birthday and there were presents to be had after school, my daughter woke up with a dose of pre-teen moodiness that was a
fright sight to behold. She didn’t want to go to school. She had a stomach ache. Her best friend wasn’t going to school anyways. The teacher was going to move their desks again (damn that teacher! She moved their desks twice in the first 3 weeks of school and sent my change-averse gal on an anxiety roller-coaster ride from hell!) I cajoled, bribed, begged, cursed and finally forcefully bundled her off to the bus stop, and headed to my own school for the day.
By 10:00 a.m., I had received a call from her school that she was sick in the office and could I please come and pick her up? AAARRRGGH! Let me just say now for the record that leaving a job to pick up a sick child sucks in any profession, but it’s just that much harder when you’re a teacher. I frantically copied out my lesson plans, copier code, supervision schedule, class lists, seating plans, blah, blah, blah. By lunch, I had picked her up (and her sister, too, who was sick at the babysitter’s that day…sigh…) and returned home.
Where they promptly discovered that the guinea pig was missing from her cage. And they put two and two together and then they completely and utterly FREAKED OUT. In desperation (and, truthfully, just to share the pain around a little bit) I called my husband to complain. My kids (who are both animal lovers) were BESIDE THEMSELVES with grief over their dead pet, and I just didn’t want to have to deflect all that pain alone.
At first, Daddy wasn’t all that much help. He was somewhat unsympathetic (pets die, they have to learn to cope with it, etc.) and also distracted by his own work (how dare he!). He did, in the end, pull through though. Big time.
Big time, with a small package:
But Luna’s not a birthday present…she’s a gift to all of us (even our older cat, Amber, loves her now). She’s the cutest, fuzziest, softest and most loving of felines, with such pretty markings and glittering blue eyes. She dashes, jumps, spins and flips, bringing a smile and a giggle to everyone’s lips.
Cats are awesome!