Friday, December 24, 2010
I have never, to my recollection, shared this story with anyone. When I was about 13 or maybe 14, I helped my mother steal a Christmas tree. We never discussed it, at the time, or during the entire rest of her life. My father was out of work, had been for quite a while, due in large measure to his alcoholism, which was also never discussed or acknowledged. My sister is 10 years younger than I, and we could not even afford the $5 a tree would have cost at the time. So one evening my mother told me to come with her, no explanation of our destination or purpose. We went to a corner lot, owned by a local shop which was selling Christmas trees as a sideline that year. She picked out a tree, told me to help her, and we took it. Even at that age, a part of me knew that I was not to ask embarrassing questions, or resist. We took the tree home, decorated it, to my little sister's delight, of course. I suppose relatives and friends gave us presents, I can't really remember. But my mom died in 1998, and we never, ever spoke about it. I am a mother now, and I can understand her desperation to make sure her youngest child had a Christmas tree.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Well, Thelma and Louise have been living with me for 3 years now. They are considered "senior cats", I guess, because they are about 12 or 13 years old, as near as we know. My son had them for 8 years, until he could no longer keep them. The first thought I had was, bring them to me, and we'll find a home for them. They have never lived apart, we wanted them together. I fell in love the second day, and my wonderful landlords let me keep them.
When you are raising a child, your hope is that he or she will grow up to be a healthy, independent adult who can make it on his/her own. But when you are caring for beloved animals, you hope that you will be able to care for them as long as they live, and make their aging years as comfortable and pleasant as possible. I strive to make my apartment "senior cat accessible", putting chairs and tables and chests at levels that Thelma can reach and climb on. Louise is still very agile but Thelma is large and can no longer jump as high as she used to.
And I am touched by the small changes in behavior. Both like to be near the heat registers now that it's cold, neither ventures as far into other rooms as they do in warm and hot weather. They make me happy and content and needed. As I too am aging and less and less able and agile, we are a good little family, I think.