Mom and I are suckers this time of year for all things glittery, shiny, musical, and anything goodwill that reeks of Christmas. We’re also suckers for small furry creatures without homes.
So, Mom decides to feed the neighborhood feral cats. According to her, it is hard for them to forage for themselves in below freezing temps. That all of their food supply hunkers down when it snows and ices up. Now I’m thinking sensible rodents need to eat too, so obviously they can’t be all hunkered down and hidden from starving cats. But hey, I’m not going argue.
Got to admit I enjoy watching the poor, cold, skinny cats that come to feast at our garage door. They sit and stare at us through glittery Christmas windows with death glares while awaiting their meal.
But there’s this one special cat, not a feral, but one that has lived far too long at the local rescue shelter. A pretty kitty, an adult female with watchful eyes that defines the word introvert. Gem is aptly named, and Mom and I have debated seriously over the possibility of adopting her for about 3 months. Gem has lived at the shelter for almost 1-1/2 years. Came in very pregnant and starving. Her babies lived, were adopted, and there Gem stayed to calmly watch many more adult, adolescent, and baby cats snatched with love and carried off to their furever homes.
We decided, it’s Christmas. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it before the Holidays. So, we did. Already have three cats, all rescues in their time. But you know, the four of them now seem to get along quite well. Curious about the new girl, yes, but calmly accepting of her as she is them. We won’t discuss the role of our two dogs in this new family arrangement.
So, yeah, I think it was the right move. We have brought a soft and gentle creature without a home into ours. If she is not outwardly appreciative, at least she doesn’t bite, and seems to accept it all. Mom says she’ll become more trustful with time. OK. Tell that to the dogs. We are all feeling good about ourselves today. Very Christmasy.
And then suddenly Mom is crying. Her cousin died this weekend. I’m thinking rotten news for his family this Christmas. And his family is massive. This small, quiet, faithful man who proceeded to work and care for not only his biological children, but literally dozens of foster children that at one point were out there alone in the cold.
Some had families that they eventually were reunited with. A lot did not. This man and his wife adopted over a dozen children over 40+ years of marriage. They brought those children who were thrown into foster care, some feral, some shy, into a warm and loving forever home.
There are grandchildren now, and Christmas at their modest house is simple, but filled with all things love and lot’s and lot’s of family. I can’t think of anything more shiny and glittery than that. I love you, Mom’s cousin that I never met, and I am humbled. And I wish for you the best Christmas that you have ever had. Pretty sure God rocks it!
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A Rose by any other Name…
…Is still the Right Boob. Duct tape worked for a while. Then it didn’t. We’re going to try plastic wrap next with soft adhesive in the back. We’ll see.
I so get this. My Right Boob is totally radiated…irradicated…whatever the correct word is. Stage 0, so looks like I won the Cancer Lottery this year. Get to keep the Right Boob. All is well, even after radiation. OK, OK, so it’s mostly good; a few bumps and scars guaranteed to entertain for at least another five years.
So, the kid comes to me half way during the radiation treatment, with her Right Boob all messed up. “Are you sure it’s the Right Boob,” I say. “Yep,” she says,”it is.” “Duct tape,” I say, knowing it is a temporary solution. OK for now, but she and I both know its days are numbered.
What can I say? I love this kid. I buy her boobs on Amazon, while hers still grow. If they last 6 months we’re happy. Mine lasted over 60 years, but who’s to judge? My Right Boob doesn’t look this good even without duct tape.
So, out she walks, head held high and smile to match. She’s going to a teen “event” tonight. At sixteen, she owns the world; more importantly, she owns a second set of new boobs. Yeah, I’m a foolish, old woman who loves to spoil her baby girl.
Tears come after she leaves. I don’t want to show them now, not when she is on top of the world. A party to attend, and closure on a personal issue that has been a black spot on her soul since…since when? I suppose it began the day she was born.
Today she feels free. Today she spoke the words she has wanted to say for most of her life. “No,” she tells the person on the other end of the phone, “no, you are not my mom…you are my birth mother.” And just like that it is over.
Only for me, there are tears because I know why birth mother didn’t keep her. I know why auntie/momma gave her up at puberty. The other two moms still call her by her birth name. She isn’t that person, never was. He never really existed, and when he did, no one knew what to do with him, or even how to love him without conditions.
“Send him to me,” I said to my cousin. “I’d love to have another kid. It’s all family. It’ll be good.” Yes, friend, insanity does run in my family. None of us are spared.
And it is all good, and it’s golden, especially since he is she, and she is bold, beautiful, intelligent, and a challenge to anyone who meets her. Those that can appreciate such rare combination of traits become her friends and family forever. Those that don’t…well, for her loyalty is a sharp sword that cuts in both directions.
So why cry? I cry for the two moms who came before me. I cried because they wanted something else. “A girl would have been nice,” she said. “This one wasn’t really supposed to live, was it?” said the other.
I am so sorry for you.
And yes, I am still a foolish, old woman who probably cries too easily.
But I still have my Right Boob. ~ Gean’s Mom
Photo by Gean’s Mom