Carl wrestling with a dog toy--action shot, hence the blur!
This past July, we wandered into a pet store looking for a harness for my black lab, Bella. I never usually look at the cats, but that day I did. About thirty kittens--if not more--occupied one cage. (Horrible, actually.) Out of the heap, erupted a tiny black fluffy head covered with cat litter--but he had swagger. (I've always been a sucker for swagger.) Despite the crowd of furry bodies and dirt covering him, he sauntered up the ramp like he owned it. I had to have him.
Even the kids were shocked by my "need" to save that dirty kitten who was so skinny he looked sickly. I couldn't blame them--I surprised myself with the intensity of my need to adopt this kitten. Only three months old, his chart told a story of abandonment and shyness. When I held him, he fit into the palms of my hands and stared at me with oversized eyes. No way I was putting him back in that cage and walking away!
Carl's addition to the family has brought us more joy than I ever thought possible. Even the dogs love him. He fetches, leaps through the air, attacks shadows, drags interesting things from behind the dryer, wrestles with our Aussie Shepherd, lunges from beneath furniture, allows our black lab to treat him like a puppy, snuggles with us, struts through the house wiggling his little butt and stalks our cockatiel. (Okay, so maybe the bird is the only living thing in the house that isn't overjoyed with the new addition.)
Play. That's the difference. We're all playing--and laughing--every day now.
Funny how we forget to play. It was an easy thing to remember in my 20s when the main motivator was what to do on the weekends. When the kids were little, play was natural and part of parenting. Now, at least for me, life has become more about working, driving the kids around, paying bills, helping with homework, keeping the house from falling apart and juggling solo-parent responsibilities. Yes, we have fun. We travel, hang out, do our thing but...it's scheduled. That's the difference. Where once we had fun every day, somewhere along the way we forgot to play.
I'm thankful for the reminder that play is not only okay, but necessary for JOY. Thanks to Carl the fluffy cat with swagger, play time is back!
Carl the Cat--beloved new addition to the Easton family.