Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas Kittens

Back in 1990 when I met my husband, I knew in my heart that I had found the right man to spend the rest of my life with. Although we are two very different people, the old adage holds true... opposites do attract because we have very similar feelings and beliefs about life. It didn't take much time at all for me to see the sensitive side of my husband. And that's ultimately what brought us to now; married 10 years, proud parents of two wonderful sons, a house in the suburbs, and one happy barn cat.

I'll never forget the first time my husband demonstrated his teddy bear personality... Back then I was a glamor puss who wore high heels, big hair and lots of bling. Hubby, on the other hand, was more down to earth, outdoorsy and simple. He invited me to go camping for the weekend with some of his friends in a remote part of northern New Hampshire. We drove there in dark during a torrential thunderstorm, which to me was somewhat romantic because I love storms of all kinds. Little did I know that this was actually a primitive camping trip, which meant no rustic cabin to nestle up in to listen to the rain, not to mention no running water, no bathroom and no shower. When we got there, Hubby pitched the tent all by himself, gathered firewood and built a roaring fire, all in the still pouring rain. He put my pretty pumps by the fire to dry while he got the bedding ready to snuggle in. The next day was gorgeous and we fished & swam in the crystal clear lake all day. That night the sky was lit up by a blanket of twinkling stars and we laid on the dock talking for hours. This was my first sign that I had found Mr. Right.

Then he saved an animal's life. We were driving down the road toward his family's lakefront property. (Now, don't get all green with envy... it's merely a piece of land on the lake; no house, no cabin, no lodge, no outhouse either! Just land, but still a treasured plot right on the lake.) Anyway, I was reading (something I have always done in the car) and all of a sudden the car veers sharply toward the ditch. Then it stops and Hubby gets out. When he returns, I ask him what happened. "There was a turtle crossing the road; I just helped it along..." This is typical Hubby behavior. In fact last Saturday he swerved to miss hitting a woolly bear caterpillar!

In 1993, we found the perfect little place in the country to call our own. Only we decided a week later that, despite having all the comforts of home, we were still missing something. The hunt was on. With his blessing, I searched the classified & bulletin boards around town. Still nothing fit right. So the next day I went to the shelter and there it was! A perfect black & white ball of fuzz named Fax. Yet they wouldn't me take her. I was crushed and told Hubby through a river of tears how perfectly Fax would have fit in our nest. Well apparently God had other plans for us, because we eventually brought home Vernie, then his beautiful half-sister Chloe.

As it turned out Vernie was our problem child, an adorable black furball with claws! Chloe was a gorgeous Maine Coon sweetheart who we nicknamed Brat Pea because she was so reluctant to ever be seen. Vernie was always willing to be around you, but you could NEVER pick him up without risking life & limb. Chloe never wanted to be in the limelight, much less your lap, but always allowed you to cuddle & caress her. The boys absolutely adored her! She was the love of their lives. This patient plump feline was the pride & joy of our family. She would lessen any bump, bruise or heartache any of us, especially the boys, ever felt.

Sadly Vernie died last summer. But the loss really resurrected Chloe. She seemed to come out of the shadows and often strutted queenly around the house, (but only when the kids were gone... she was still pretty leary of them) flicking her tail flirtatiously, begging us for attention. Words cannot adequately describe the spell Chloe cast upon all of us. We were fully & completely mesmerized by her. She was special. One of a kind. An unforgettable gift. We knew she would live forever because nothing could ever take her away from us. Nothing!

Yet we were wrong. One day this summer, I picked her up to nuzzle her adorable face and listen to her motor run. But something was different; she was skinny! She used to be a fat 13 pound ball of fluff, now she was only about half that. I called the vet to have her checked out. The news was good; she was just a healthy old lady who needed to be handled with extra care. So we changed her food, gave her vitamins, and loved her more tenderly. Despite all that, she began to loose the sparkle in her eye. And so I called the vet again, but this time I made the ultimate sacrifice, the only humane thing that was left to do. I made the appointment to have her put down. I have never lost someone in my life that I loved so unconditionally. Yes, she was a pet. But to us she was our daughter, our sister, our beloved cure-all. It's been hard on the boys. They miss her fiercely, as do my husband & I! Not a day goes by that either Hubby or me don't wish that she was curled up snugly in her favorite chair by the woodstove, waiting for one of us to caress her gorgeous coat then wait for her beautiful song to pierce the soft silence.

We understand that we will never ever be able to replace our precious little bratty girl, yet we want the boys to again experience the unconditional love that pets bestow on their owners. This time, we are hoping to introduce a kitten into our family, so that the boys can grow up with a little lovebug from infancy. We'd like to start the process now so that, by Christmas, everything will proceed smoothly without delay. So we ask that you pray for us... that we will find the perfect Christmas angel for our empty nest.

I've been incessantly searching the papers, the internet and the shelters for the perfect kitten but have yet had my heart flutter with the butterflies one feels when they experience love at first sight. I'll know when I lay eyes on her that the time is right, that our hearts are truly ready, that this is the one Chloe sent from heaven to fill the void she left behind.

Christmas is such a magical time, one that evokes undying memories of special times & perfect presents. I work very hard to create a wonderment of charm and excitment when it comes to Christmas. And this year I truly have my work cut out for me. Yet I have decided to succumb to the will of God. If it is meant to be, He will deliver. And something tells me that she will be bursting with comfort & joy!

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