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“Mom, can I go pet that black and white cat on the other side of the fence?”
“What was that, Mom?”
<<giggle, giggle>> “I’ll take that as a ‘YES!'” and off she bounds to whisper private words of love and connection to the skittish-but-loving, too-skinny, juvenile cat.
I’m known around town as the “Cat Lady” –and I admit it, one night I tip-toed out of the house to play with this very same black and white cat–but, really, at this point we *are* feeding our own eight cats, one foster cat and her kittens, and two of the neighbor’s cats, so I’m not enthusiastic about my daughter making friends with yet another one. I know, though, that my daughter’s Animal Addiction Issues came from my genes.
Anya and I had this interchange after an hour or so spent together in the chicken yard and rabbit yards. She followed my early-morning directions of “Can you get the….OH!…the thing-a-majig for me?” and “Please fill that…whatever!…with…Oh, you know!”. I’m so glad she is fluent in pre-coffee, groggy mommy-talk. I count on her intuition about the animals and ask her opinion before I make any changes with their living arrangements or food. We spend hours together discussing each animal: choosing names, admiring baby bunnies, and analyzing chicken personalities.
I remember similar yet so-different times with my own mother in the dressing rooms of department stores. I was pre-teen, maybe eleven or so–with long stringy hair, huge 1980’s glasses, and the cutest little figure *ever*–and I would twirl around in fuchsia dresses with swinging skirts or stand primly in red corduroy jumpers with starched white collared shirts. Mom would be completely attentive, commenting on each one–“that one is LOVELY!”–and (Oh, bliss!) hanging them up after I dropped them in a pile.
Two days before giving birth to my first child 12 1/2 years ago, I resigned from teaching middle school students speech, theater and journalism. It was a hard decision because I truly loved my career and I was good at it…and I wasn’t completely sure I was making the right choice. My Mom did the same thing for me, only working full-time when she was my teacher at the academy where I went to school.
I have friends who have made the opposite choice for a million different reasons and I totally understand them. I watch, though, as they struggle to mash “Quality Time” in to the weekends or after 5 p.m. I am thankful that I don’t have to do that…that my children and I are able to enjoy Quality Time at our leisure within Quantity Time.
Now I must leave you long enough to take yet *more* photos of baby bunnies because Anya has interrupted my writing (does this blog even make sense?) about seven to ten times with descriptions of each cute bunny pose. And–let’s face it–these are the moments I live for.