Saturday, April 23, 2016

on cat training

After a rousing performance last night, S came home drowsy and ready for a cup of chamomile tea.  We were all in bed and lights out by 10:30.  Party animals we are not!

Calico Cat obliged us and allowed us to sleep in by not yowing outside my door for her breakfast.   Acutally, I think I may have trained her in this.  When she first came to live with us, she was silent for a month.  Then I took her to the vet for her shots, at which meeting she raged and cursed and spit and gashed a stripe down the hand of some young, pretty vet tech.   She earned a skull and crossbones drawing on her new patient chart: a marked criminal.

Since that vet encounter, she has been yowly when she believes she has a need - starting at 4:30 am for breakfast.   I am solidly a 6:30 am kind of girl these days, but a yowly cat can defeat my resolve and make me miserable by denying my sleep. Each time I checked, she had food in her dish, but not the right KIND of food.  

My workaround solution:  As soon as she uttered her first YOW, out she went into the garage.  4:30 am, 6 am - didn't matter, if it wasn't my time to officially get up to feed her, I WOULD get up and deal with her by putting her in a place I couldn't hear her.

I have done this 3 times.   The YOW factor at oh-dark-hundred has virtually disappeared.

Did I really just train a cat?  Or did she just train me to occasionally send her to the garage to check for R.O.U.S?

Either way, I am content.

Friday, April 22, 2016

breaking the silence

The house is quiet tonight.  A harbinger of greater silence to come.  

My son, 18, is finishing up his freshman year of college on the other side of the United States.

My daughter, 17, is finishing up her junior year at a small Christian school, and preparing to enter Running Start for her Senior year to finish high school but receive college credit for it. 

Tonight, she's singing at a choir concert in Tacoma.

Hubby and I are sitting at home, pajama-ed and hot chocolated, and feeling very boring - but oddly enough, enjoying the respite for now.  We're just waiting for S to come home and share her day with us...or not, depending on how tired she is. 

A huge calico cat is stretched out, butt touching my hip, making her belly available for scratching. I oblige, but carefully: she's a master of fang and claw. I have to read the subtle signs to know whether my attentions please her or not.

The 4 years of silence here were intentional, desiring to protect relationships and confidences; designed to keep my family from thinking that they had to be guarded around me so I wouldn't write about them, exposing their fun or foolishness.  I hope I gained their trust in that respect. 

I also lost something: memories.   I am a forest person, not a trees person.  I do the big picture well, but have to discipline myself on following through with details.  With that, I have missed recording some moments of preciousness that are now forgotten.  D and S will occasionally remind me of something that had passed out of my memory bank.  I take hope in the fact that Sherlock does the same thing - he forgets the unimportant.  Perhaps the things I have forgotten are truly unimportant. 

But as I reread this blog - these little things that I recorded, of little people in life situations - so many things I have now forgotten were brought back to me. 

So I know some preciousness has been lost in my silence.

I even wonder in this new, silent space, what I actually have to say.  "Life, mommyhood, and lots of popcorn" doesn't quite fit my current role.    

So here's what I say.  Embrace it. It makes wings and flies away.  In my son's case, he flew away to South Carolina, and I haven't spent much more than a week in his presence since last August.  My daughter, with her decision to begin Running Start college classes, is beginning to fledge.  My heart rejoices at the prospect.  My heart also breaks.

So with it, I break my silence, to speak of things both terrible and beautiful- the beginning of altering my role in my childrens' lives to more of an advisor and cheerleader.  It's incredibly difficult to let your child take risks and fail. I continues to reserve the right to kick butt when necessary,  but also to encourage them to pick up the pieces and try again. 

I don't know whether I will continue to use this blog.  But for today, I'm here.    I'm here to tell you you will miss your little ones climbing all over you, their monkey paws touching you, the missed homework, the freakouts, the pancake messes, the dirty underwear with racing stripes stuffed down the air ducts, the apple cores and candy wrappers under the bed, the art supplies all over the house... because it represents home and togetherness and completeness.

Hugs to mamas everywhere tonight who are missing their little ones.