We have a fish tank and I’m not very good with pets, even fish. The things kept dying, so we flushed them down the toilet.
One time you asked me, “Mama, where are all of these fish going?”
I said, “We’re sending them to heaven.”
That was when you looked down at the toilet and said, “Well, Mama, I never want to go there!”
Things got worse after that. I was potty training you and every time I’d sit you on the toilet you would cry, “I don’t want to go to heaven with the fish, I just don’t WANT TO GO!”
Although you're almost potty trained, you aren't the only one who's learning through all of this. Now I watch what I say when explaining where the fish really go.
Birthdays are a HUGE deal around here, so today is shaping into a very busy day. Tomorrow, I need to tell you about the Scribe's 5th birthday (because it's hilarious AND embarrassing), but today's too busy. Since this is the Scribe's golden birthday, I've arranged for Grandma Gertie to take her out on a date this morning. While they're gone, I'm going to completely redecorate the Scribe's room in browns, pinks, blues and greens. I hope she'll love it and it'll be better than that part in "The Little Princess"!
So, to help me out, Dee from Coming Home to Myself has agreed to write another guest post. The Scribe is such a special kid to me. When she came into my life, everything changed, so what better day for Dee to write about someone special that came into her life as well.
Dulcy Claimed and Trained MeYesterday, you read about what happened after the cat with whom I’d lived for seventeen years died. Dulcy channeled the story of our life together through me. On the left side of this page you can see the cover of her book A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story.
Today, I’d like to share with you how she and I became soul mates.
The story begins with me living in Dayton, Ohio. I’d moved there after leaving the convent on Christmas Eve 1966. During the next six years, I made friends, dated a little, worked at a publishing house, taught in the inner city, went to grad school, and returned to Dayton to work in a warehouse.
In March 1972, a friend proclaimed, “Dee, you need a companion.”
“Can’t say I’ve got much interest in that,” I responded.
“Doesn’t have to be human,” she retorted. “Natasha just had a litter. How ‘bout taking a kitten home with you?”
We’d had a barn cat on the farm where I grew up and my brother’s constant companion was a dog named Kentucky—the road on which we lived—but I’d never thought about living with an animal in my diminutive attic apartment. Still, why not?
My friend urged me to visit her home on Saturday. When I showed up, she led me to an upstairs bedroom. For over an hour, I lay on the floor, watching Natasha groom her brood, one by one, in their cardboard box. The rasping of tongue and the answering mews bemused me. The last kitten she licked, the lone female of the litter, wore white with black blotches.
Wearied of mothering, Natasha lay back to nap. Her four kittens, just three weeks old, jockeyed for position against her, eager to suckle. When they, too, wearied, they nestled in a heap against her belly. Their eyelids slowly closed and they slept.
Soon they yawned themselves awake. I held my hand out so they could smell me. I held it steady, saying nothing. Would my scent attract the black-and-white female?
Long moments passed. Her eyes discovered my hand. The tip of her tongue led the way as she staggered toward me. Close now, she licked my index finger, claiming me as her own.
For the next three weeks, I visited my friend’s home often to bond with my new companion. During my third visit she gave me her name: Dulcinea, the “sweet one.” Within the month I shortened this to Dulcy.
In the years that followed, I learned that her deepest heartwish was for me to be a one-cat human. She, of course, would be the one cat. But at the outset of our lives, I didn’t know this. So I also brought home her marmalade brother: Ishmael.
His heartwish was to be surrounded by laughing children. Within three months, he’d wandered away and found them. They claimed him for their own. How could I ever take him away from them? I mourned his loss but knew that they could give him a life I couldn’t.
Did I settle down after that with just Dulcy? No. Dunderhead that I am I thought she needed a feline companion for when I was away teaching each day. So I brought another cat—Bartleby—into our home. Eight years passed and he died.
Only then did Dulcy’s heartwish come true. Just as she’d planned, I became a one-cat human. For the next eight and a half years, she was the one cat. And I was the human lucky enough to be chosen by her.
Twelve other cats have now shared their lives with me and tirelessly trained me. But Dulcy was the first to find me worthy of training. In my more imaginative moments during our years together, I saw her as Antigone in the citadel of ancient Thebes. She was born to rule as queen. I, of course, was born to serve as handmaiden.
Like I wrote yesterday, if you'd like to advertise Dee's book on your blog (like I have), I've included the code below.