Hi Baby. I love you. I miss you more than words can even begin to tell you. Tonight we celebrated one of your favorites in this world – animals!
Mommy showed everyone the picture of you kissing Smudge and it still makes me wonder why in the world he was so tolerant of everything you did. How did you manage to make him sit still while you drove your vroom vrooms all over his back? Why didn’t he run away when you made him your personal pillow on the couch? We had to teach you not to grab his tail that was right at your level but he never used his claws to take a swipe at you. It’s like he wanted to play and he was willing to be slightly uncomfortable just so he could be close to you. He kept coming back and rubbing his whiskers against you or flopping right in front of you and letting you “hug” him. I think you must have been telling him things without even saying a word. I think he is still listening, Baby Boy.
Mommy is still trying her best to listen too. We try to be nice to our friends who have hands and feet but also the ones with paws and claws. You always knew your furry roommates were special but some of them are still in shelters and foster homes waiting to have a little buddy to adore them too. All three of your animals you had in your life had volunteers and special people taking care of them before they ever came to live with us. In fact, Mommy had Sofie, your German Shepherd/Lab before she had Daddy or you. Thinking about it now, she was just a few months older than you when I adopted her. This fact in itself breaks Mommy’s heart. We know in advance that our animals don’t have the same average lifespan as humans but even all your animals have been able to stay in our laps for more than 5 times as long as you did. Humans can live past 100 so why did you only get 2 much too brief years? There are so many questions but no answers no matter how many times they come hurriedly into our brains.
Smudge’s brother, Sanka is the shy one but you always seemed amused watching him jump over the gate and up the stairs to safety. I think you knew that most kitties are more like Sanka and that he didn’t mean anything with his stingy affections. Still, you never stopped trying to make him love you the way you loved him. Sanka liked to watch you play at his watchful distance and then check it out for himself after the lively, little boy went on to the next fun thing. He liked some of the same toys you did and still hides in your Thomas the Train tent and behind the curtains the way you would. He is also a little on the small side like you and knows exactly when it’s time to eat. You probably couldn’t convince him to eat frozen peas but if they made kitty food in packets he would probably cry and demand his servants squeeze it out into his dish for him and then immediately act disinterested until he was coaxed back to the bowl. He thinks I don’t notice that he comes slinking around and pawing at me only when he is trying to get me to give in and feed him early but I know all his tricks. A really long time ago kitty cats were royalty and there is a phrase that says that they have not ever forgotten this fact. Sanka has definitely not forgotten but every now and then he will come curl up with me and make your Daddy jealous.
I’m jealous of all the people who get to carry you on their backs or kiss your perfect cheeks right now. Mommy misses her mini, snuggly bear cub more than she knows how to comprehend and I think your kitty knows that as well. Sometimes the overflow of emotions is too hard to contain but Smudge is paying attention. A tear came out of my eye last night and he wasted no time jumping onto my chest. He took his paw and gently wiped the drop off my face and then nestled his head right against mine. I’ve never had an animal do this in all my life and I never knew I could love a kitty like this. You knew how to love all creations equally but I had already selected my favorites. I’m the dog lover so it’s a change for me to have a cat who is so tolerant (that means he puts up with a lot of stuff) and has always acted more like a dog. The childproof locks were in place well before you were born, but he has not given up testing their strength and opening any door in the house that is not securely latched. Also, in case you were wondering, yes, both your kitties still growl and hide when they hear the doorbell. I’m still going to claim it is because your “woof woof,” Sofie raised your kitties since the time they were little fluff balls that both fit in Daddy’s hands.
Speaking of Sofie, you didn’t get to really play with her during your lifetime but I could see it all over your face that you wished you could’ve. I could see it in her soulful stare that she was curious about you as well but she wasn’t as sure about the little boy who made high-pitched squeals and was becoming increasingly more mobile. She had a lot of people let her down in her life so she was scared of most humans. I didn’t know this when I adopted her, but from the minute I saw her picture on my computer I knew we were meant to be. Before Daddy came along, Mommy liked to run by herself at night. I thought Sofie would make a nice running partner but she had a very strict 2-mile maximum rule before she nearly had to be carried back to the car. What she lacked in being my running buddy, she made up for in spades in being the most loyal, protective watchdog I will ever have. Unfortunately, she was a little too protective of me as Mommy discovered very quickly after introducing her to new people. She always went straight for the calves and then ran off. After literally making a significant mark in Aunt “8.5” (something for which I still feel horrible) I tried everything I knew to do, but I still couldn’t fix her fear. I bet you didn’t know this but before Daddy earned Sofie’s trust, even he couldn’t escape the trademark ninja nip she left in his jeans. Despite being shamed in obedience school for being a biter, she passed with flying colors. People told me I should get rid of her or do something that you don’t need to know about, but I knew none of those people understood her and didn’t even care to try. Eventually she came to love Daddy and everyone else who was patient enough to let her love them back on her time frame. I think she knew you were equal parts of both Daddy and me and she hated it when you were upset. When you were a tiny baby, you were having a good cry because your tummy was not happy. Sofie came into the room and started howling right along with you! I wasn’t sure whether I should be laughing or crying because I was so sleep deprived and delirious at that point. In the end, I decided it was entertaining and took a video of the moment in time when I couldn’t make either of you happy. We were still trying to accomplish this when you started crawling so we decided to make the biggest baby and woof woof playpens to give each of you enough space. I truly think Sofie would’ve allowed much more from you than any other typical human, but her circle of trust was too small to risk your safety. You had just learned to walk when Sofie suddenly became very sick. Only days later we had to let her dig her muddy nose all the way to the Rainbow Bridge. I hope you get to play with her and all the other two and four-legged friends with you now. It seems like lately there have been a lot of people who had to say goodbye to their doggies and kitty cats so please kiss and hug each of them the way you did with Smudge, okay?
This month in honor of all three of your “furmily” members, we picked three charities doing their part to make sure animals like yours have a good start or a happier new beginning. We knew that this time of year OKC Animal Welfare would be overloaded with returned “gifts” and furry friends who are sick, hurt, or just need a warm place to live. They are Oklahoma City’s only shelter and they help doggies, kitties, birds, wild animals, snakes and even animals you might see on Old MacDonald’s farm. January hasn’t had very many days yet but they have already found new homes for almost 80 animals!
We also knew that once the shelter filled up, there would be nice people like Safe Haven Animal Rescue who rely on volunteers to foster animals at their house. They have mostly dogs, cats and ferrets but they also take care of mice and rats, guinea pigs, bunnies, birds, iguanas, and other small animals! I can only imagine the faces you would make if you got to see all of these little critters. You loved learning new things and I miss watching the amazement in your eyes seeing your world becoming more unlocked every day. I hope you saw all the people who came to The Garage to show how much they love you and all the fur babies. We got to meet Safe Haven’s president, Nikki during Nice on the 9th and we loaded her car with comfy beds and supplies for all the creatures staying with their temporary families.
After the doggies, kitties, bunnies (and maybe some other small animals) get a safe place to rest their heads, Spayway makes sure they won’t have future babies and that they get what they need to stay healthy. They also put a tiny little device inside so if the animal gets lost, they will have a way to connect them to their home. There are so many doggies and kitties in the world that don’t have families to love and care for them that they end up in really bad situations. Again, I won’t tell you the details, but you will just have to trust me that none of them are desirable options. SpayWay also has a vroom vroom where they go all over the place to help people who wouldn’t have been able to afford to take their animals anywhere else! I hope you will give them a sign to let them know you are cheering them on wherever they go.
We don’t know the final totals of how much we raised from our night at The Garage yet, but I can’t wait to go shopping to get these three deserving organizations some desperately needed items. I CAN tell you that they also got a boost from your very generous supporters who left money for each in their designated collection areas. The total raised just by your friends for all three groups was almost $500! Pretty awesome, huh?
Baby Boy. You continue to amaze me. You really are inspiring a kinder, gentler world. Thank you for teaching us how to love each other and take time to admire all the quirks of beauty in each of nature’s varieties. Mommy literally carries a lint brush everywhere, but you never even noticed when your clothes collected fur from one of your extraordinarily hairy animals (am I right Apple Brown?). You didn’t care about the things grown-ups do and I love you even more for every miniscule way you showed me how to live and love. I know you are still showing us. I want to be just like you, Caleb Lennon. I love your furry family too, but even so, it pales in comparison to how I love you. You are my favorite little being in this world and the next. I will always miss kissing your angelic face the way you loved kissing your kitty. I wish I could sneak up to the couch and grab each of your baby, soft cheeks in my hands the way you did with Smudge. I would give you all my kisses and never let you out of my arms again. Of all the creatures big and small, I will always love you most of all. Thank you for unlocking a whole new, wildly brilliant world. Mama misses you, Baby Bear.
I love you, Caleb.