A mama cat was on our back deck this morning, with five kittens orbiting her like an atom. I called Abigail, so she could join me in the kitchen to watch. She wants to be a singing veterinarian when she grows up. We pressed ourselves to the sliding glass doors, as the mama cat turned to stone, a menacing gargoyle. Abigail called for Lucas, and the two threaded the deck stairs, hoping to be surrogate parents. Predictably, the cat darted across the lawn into a bush, with only one of her kittens hopping after her. The other four kitties clawed their way under our deck, like lost meatballs who’d rolled off the table and onto the floor. Despite the bowl of milk they offered in peace, my beans were still abductors. Freshly laundered children, damp from sleep, a tangle of hair, new freckles, curious eyes and clumsy hands were would-be kitnappers.
“Why won’t they come back?”
“Because you’re the enemy,” I said. “A beautiful and inquisitive enemy.”
“But, Mama, I really want them to come back.”
I told my kitten to appreciate this early morning gift, just as it was. To be thankful for the experience and to relish the memory by writing it down. She took a moment to consider this before responding, “You just want me to do work.”
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