Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Cats, Rheumatoid Arthritis, The Great Outdoors, The Inner Landscape

Making Home

Sam and I participated in the Arthritis Walk yesterday (many thanks to those who donated!), walking the 3 mile course slower than some people but faster than others, but mostly, by ourselves. We stopped several times so that he might be petted and admired by strangers. We both admit that it’s been a while since we walked three miles all at once, so we paced ourselves. And even with that, Sam dragged behind me at the end.

WhiteVioletsWeb Later in the day, we went to 1PF to drop in at the Spring Sale. I picked up some white/purple violets. I love violets. We bought some purple violets at a plant sale at Light Princess’ Montessori School many years ago (8 or 9?), and they inhabit various corners and create interesting borders in our backyard, far from the places they began. I’m going to plant the white/purple ones in front and look forward to seeing where they will travel.

We’ve lived in this house for almost eleven years. I moved in with children ages 12, 7 and almost 3, along with two cats, ages 6 and almost 3, and we soon added another cat to the family. I think I was a little bit of a crazy cat lady at that point in my life. Unemployed, trying to go to seminary and take care of the kids, what made me think I could manage and maintain TWO pets, let alone three? But there was something about having my own house (possible because my parents had died) and my own life, and I had a determination to create something post-divorce.

I had a desire to make a home.

I didn’t think logically about what might define home. I moved through a process as befits an ENFP, reaching out around me and drawing in what felt right, what seemed needful.

At the time, that included cats. Later I drew in a man, and then two dogs. And as I’ve mentioned recently, the change from a house with three cats, two dogs, two teenage boys, a man, a woman and a young girl to the current cast of mother and daughter with one dog and two old lady cats, well, it’s fairly stunning.

Last night I murmured something about the house seeming unnecessarily large. Light Princess turned on me, “What do you mean?” Her reality does not include the possibility of other living arrangements.

This is home.

Last summer we did some rehab to our swing set in anticipation of young visitors, and after they left I noticed that our neighbors with younger children than mine have already taken theirs down in favor of a carpet of green grass. I’ve noted that their children are never in the yard anymore, while LP strains the swings to their ultimate height capacity almost every day after school. Really, a mother must look away when she turns herself practically upside down and pray she doesn’t get tall enough to have her head graze the ground.

We’ve grown up here, all of us, but it seems that is not quite over.

Pure Luck, far away for at least half this year, may be away for even more of it, as both his car and his laptop appear bound for the boneyard, and he pays cash for everything. We’ve been married almost seven years, and I’m starting to look ahead to the day when no children will be at home, and wondering where we will be and how we will live, but for now, this is home. And perhaps the next phase of growing up is learning not to be a baby about this long absence, to be grateful that he has work in this economy, and so do I.

Which brings me to kittens. You see, there were kittens at the Spring Sale. A church member has three kittens, almost 8 weeks old. They look alike, the three of them, black with a few white wisps, blue eyes from their Siamese grandmother, just precious little creatures. When you hold one in your hand, it bends around you, soft and flexible and full of curious energy.

I’ve said for a long time that when the current generation of old lady cats “retires” I would never have another cat. But apparently, I’m once again attracted to new, young, mewling life. And I think it’s because I feel better. I walked three miles yesterday with more energy than the dog. I’m on half the dose of anti-inflammatory drugs I used to take. I’m sleeping well. I’m happy about my work life. I’m enjoying my dog and my daughter. I’m writing poetry. I feel on the brink of exciting things.

And maybe that’s the lesson of the kitten. Changes are coming. New life is on the horizon. When it stops raining, I’ll plant the violets. If the sun comes out again, the lilacs will soon reach full bloom. When we find a break in the schedule, Pure Luck and I will find a way to see each other. At the other end of a long year, we’ll spend the winter together, making home.