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Lining the Empty Nest

Most of my readers know that my oldest daughter has been out on her own for a few years now and my youngest is off to college this fall. Occasionally it crosses my mind that I am going to have an empty nest and lots of extra time. To be honest, I have not worried about it because I am sure that my “spare” time will become quickly filled. I have not actively pursued any activities to fill the time, because I trust that Fate will bring something my way. I just didn’t know how quickly Fate could work…

For my recent birthday, I received a kitten. A sweet little ball of fluff that is as loving as can be. He was a rescue kitty who needed a good home and I had one to offer. But what I didn’t take into account was that I was going to feel so guilty about his little sister who peered at me from her hidey-hole. I had to take her, too, because they seemed to be so attached to each other, and I always wanted two kitties from the same litter so they could grow up together. They are so much fun to watch as they play together.

So, I came home with Jasper and Ruby. They are different as night and day. Jasper is solid black with a lean, long face and a body shaped like a miniature panther. He walks with those rolling muscles that start at the shoulders and work their way down the body. He is regal…and wimpy. He is a fanatical love-bug, always wanting to curl up in the crook of your neck or have his belly rubbed. Ruby, however, is a different story. It took three days to get her out from underneath the couch, but once she realized that she was at home, she turned into the queen of the castle. She is a beautiful tortoise-shell, full of shades of brown, red, black and white. Her face and body are more rounded and she walks with the typical sway in the hips of a female. She likes to be loved on, too, but she definitely has her limits. She also has a wild streak a mile wide. She is energy in motion and a typical tom boy. I am happy that I brought them both home.

But in the process, I left their sister and their mother at the rescue shelter. I did not feel too bad about it because they had each other. Until I got that phone call that said that the mother had been adopted and they still had the sister. No one was taking her and as she got older, the odds of her being adopted were lessening. The next thing I knew, my car was on auto-pilot to the shelter and Caneel came to live with us. Ruby and Jasper took up with her as if they had never been separated. She does not trust humans and the only way she allows us to touch her is if Ruby is by her side. Solid black, like her brother, the only way to tell her apart is that she is a good deal larger than lean, muscular Jasper. I trust that with time, I will win over her affection, too.

And then the phone rang again. The mother cat, Mango, had been returned by her adoptive owner. During the two months she was gone from the shelter, she gained a good 5-6 pounds. She was over-weight and depressed. Again, I made that drive. When I brought her into my house, her children gathered around her, touching noses and mewing sweetly. She proceeded to bathe each one, as if reclaiming them. Since then, I have noticed her children taking care of her as much as she takes care of them. I have to smile, because I realize that is the way is has been with my own daughters as they have grown older. A shift occurred from me taking care of them to all of us taking care of each other. Funny how some things are not so different across the board.

Over the past two months, I have become the official “cat lady” of the block. I can hardly believe that I actually have four cats in my house. I have discovered that each has their own physical and emotional issues which will keep me busy when my nest becomes empty this fall. Who am I kidding? My nest will never be empty. Fate has a way of filling it up again every time a spot opens. And my youngest assures me that she will be home often because she will miss her newfound friends – and me, too, of course.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Parker. All rights reserved.
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