Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Kid

The kid is endlessly entertaining. This goes without saying. But this morning she is especially so, and she's warming my heart like crazy.

She wakes up and looks at me, her big brown eyes sparkling as only hers do, a big smile on her face. This is why I call her my sunshine. I remind her from time to time that I used to sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her when she was a tiny, itty, bitty baby. I can remember singing to her, my eyes welling with tears, because I was so overwhelmed and amazed by my love of this brand new human.

And yes, if you are wondering, she still sleeps with me. Is she ready for her own room and bed? Yes, most likely she is. Would I terribly miss reading stories and playing dollies with her until I can no longer keep my eyes open, and waking up to her gorgeous face next to mine? Yes, I absolutely will. Do I need to get over this and let her move on because it's probably what's best for her? I'm undecided about that...

Anyway, she wakes up and says:

KAYLA: Mommy, I had a dream last night...
MOMMY: What was it about?
KAYLA: I had a dream and... Mommy, can you tell me what it was about?
MOMMY: I can't, sweetie, only you know what you dreamt about!

Kayla thinks about this for a minute.

MOMMY: So you forgot what it was about?
KAYLA : Yes, I forgot.

Later I'm getting her dressed so she can go play outside with her new Diego gardening tools in the patch of dirt we have in our big backyard. The big backyard that will be so much better when that patch of dirt is not surrounded by weeds as far as the eye can see, and when that patch of dirt is something cool, like maybe grass, or the spot where a sandbox goes. But for now she really loves her dirt patch. So I'm dressing her, and out of the blue she says:

KAYLA: Mommy, I love you.

It never fails to kill me when this comes out of nowhere and it totally unsolicited.

MOMMY: Oh, honey, I love you, too.
KAYLA: You are in my heart.

Oh my God, are you kidding me???

MOMMY: Oh, baby girl, you are in my heart, too! You fill up my heart with so much love, I can't believe it! Where did you get that?
KAYLA: It means we are family!
MOMMY: It does, but where did you get that from? Where did you hear that?
KAYLA: I don't know, somewhere... maybe I heard it on the TV.

Sigh. Just when I think I can't love her anymore. I swear she gets better and better. I know, those of you with icky teenagers or kids at some other funky age are going to laugh when I'm talking about how she drives me nuts and I wish I could legally lock her in the attic for a number of years. But for now, I mean it with every fiber of my being that she gets better and better, and each day I enjoy her more and more.

Oh, and while I'm writing, I might as well share something I've been thinking about the last couple of days. Single momdom. I want to give a major shout out to all the single mommies, all the single mommies, put your hands up, put your hands up. Seriously, any of you who are or have been at any time in your life a single mom, I salute you. And here's why. First of all, I have an awesome support system. Pretty much, when I need them, my mom and Kayla's father are there to back me up and take care of the kid when work does not allow me to do so. But even if you have this, it's the little day to day things that we do, that parents with partners can sometimes pass off to the other partner, that make me say SINGLE MOMS ROCK. Single dads, too, of course, but I'm coming from this particular perspective. Like, say you've had a rough day at work, and you really do not feel like dealing with bath time. Or wiping someone's butt. Or taking out the garbage. Or whatever. You don't get any passes. No passing this job off to the other guy, just for the night, just because you need a little break. It's on you, Mom, you're the only grown-up here, and it's on you.

Granted, having a kid who is able to do so much for herself now and who, in spite of the fact that on a recent day she earned three time-outs, is pretty much a super good kid, makes the whole thing a lot easier. She likes to get her dollies and play in her room, so she gives me plenty of breaks (hey, like the one she's giving me now so I can write this). And I never feel resentful of anything I have to do for her. I just get these flashes of being able to say, "Hey, how about you handle this, so I can get in an episode of my show from the DVR?" You know, stuff like that.

But at the end of the day, with it being just the two of us, I think we are closer than ever. And of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I've not yet done a blog about moving. I'd planned to blog about the experience and the emotions and perhaps I will at some point. But for now I just need to do a quick post about George.

George is my cat. I guess I'll still refer to him in the present tense, even though I don't know where he is or what happened to him. I got George from work - he was one of several cats who had taken up residence in the back lot over the years. Many people fell in love with him because he was adorable and friendly. At the time I decided to adopt him, it was not because I needed a cat. I already had a cat, Chief, and I'd already had him nearly seven years or so at that point, AND I was pregnant. So what I really didn't need was trying to get two cats to make nice with each other while dealing with my pregnancy. But threats were being made that George would be taken to the shelter if someone did not take him in, so I took him.

The first little bit was bumpy. My other cat was not thrilled to say the least. And even four years later, I'm not sure they ever really became friends, and instead tolerated each other.

Shortly after we got George he got this gaping wound that abscessed. I can't even remember exactly where it was, but the vet had to put one of those wonderful cones around his neck. Ever work graveyards, be sick-as-a-dog-pregnant (this was before the doctor figured out I needed drugs for the constant nausea and vomiting), have a husband who travels most of the week, and deal with cat with a cone around his neck who can't seem to figure this out so he keeps on licking the cone? If you have never had this experience I don't recommend it. I think he had to wear that thing for at least a week. The longest week of my life, I'm pretty sure.

George was a hunter. He loved to bring home what he caught. Mostly birds, but sometimes mice. While I appreciated that he was in tune with his primal side, I was not a big fan of this. I had been spoiled by having a cat for years whose idea of hunting was looking for the best person from whom to beg. Though I'm sure George meant them as gifts, headless bird carcasses are pretty low on any of my wish lists.

He grew to tolerate Kayla - maybe he even liked her at the end. And even though he'd scratched her a few times she pretty much had it coming. She would tell people, "George doesn't like you in his face or he'll scratch you." And there was no comparing him to Chief when it came to the kid - Chief is like a dog cat and Kayla is nuts about him. He is extremely tolerant of her and loves the attention. But even now Kayla says, "My job is to take care of my kitties, Chief and George, except now George is lost."

And how did I feel about George? Well, shoot. It's like this: Even Chief got majorly redheaded stepchild treatment after the kid came along, and I used to act like he was my baby B. K. (Before Kayla). So George came right before Kayla came, and we never bonded the way Chief and I had. Also he was always outside, looking for adventure, so it just wasn't the same. But ever since I split from my ex, George had become more a member of the family. This is going to sound weird, but it's almost like he knew there was some kind of void, so he tried to be more patient and more loving or something.

And he was a really a good cat, basically. Even though he was often dirty and wounded and loud - oh gosh, could he meow so loudly, and it always seemed he was the loudest in the dead middle of the night - he was still a sweet cat. He had this funny way of moving his head around when he wanted some attention... This is what I keep picturing when I think about the fact that I'll probably never see him again.

One week and two days after we moved in, he was gone. He'd been in and out several times at the new place and had always come back. What bothers me is that he was so street smart, and he really did love us - in spite of our ability to fully embrace him like maybe we should have, he was happy for what he got from us, so I know that if he could come back he would. Which makes me think that something bad happened to him, either accidental or intentional. As much as I hate to think anyone would hurt an animal on purpose, I can't help but have it cross my mind.

It really bothers me that the memory of losing George will always for me go hand in hand with moving to this new house, which is kind of like starting my new life. But then again, this beginning is filled with endings, isn't it? I just don't like that just like that, he's gone, and he's part of the bad stuff that goes with the new start.

Things happen. Life is about love and loss. So in the end, this is just to say, George, we loved you, even if we didn't show it enough, and you'll be missed.