My baby comes to me after a long weekend of my being gone and home again, back and forth, home long enough to make a mess and not clean it up. He doesn’t want this to become standard behavior, so he walks circles on my chest starting at 4 a.m., then settles into a curled snake pattern on my chest, purring the whole time.
He knows I’m not going back to sleep.
“Now that I have your attention, Mom,” Leo says to me, in pretty good language, “I just want you to know how much I love you.”
I use a little energy to raise my right arm and run my palm down his back. “That’s nice,” I mumble-jumble, hoping that a small good dream might come back if I lie still enough before it’s really time to get up.
Leo remains in his snake-curl on my chest, purring. He’d probably stay there forever. He is always one to tell the truth.
My oldest one has also come to me recently with dreadful stories of what’s really going on in the house, in my absence. I walk through my entire estate with a winsome grin on my face, and Sara gallops through with indignance, home around the same time as me, back from her job as a sign-spinner.
“Well one thing’s for sure,” she says. I hope she completes her sentence.
“It’s not the same around here as the other time, when it was just you and me and Luce. Now it’s never the same, plus there’s boys, plus you never play with me anymore.” She gives me the big hazel eyes, so often green. She knows how to break my heart.
“But did you have a good day?” I ask, scooping her up and cuddling her under my neck, supporting her backside because a cat’s backside should always be supported, if you want to keep holding her.
“Well I did, Mom,” Sara begins, “but then a car stopped and people started coming out, and I got kind of scared.”
“Did you come home then?” I nibble on her ear flap.
“I did, but I think I was too far away in the first place, and I decided I like it here better.” Sara realizes she is getting schmaltzy, so she gets up, stretches, drags her anal glands across my afghan, and love-bites me through the Mexican weave.
“You are a bad girl,” I say to her. I don’t know where she gets it from. “Welcome home.”
My middle child—the one who follows me around in secret, always hoping for and expecting a morsel of worship, and at the same time, the only one who never grumbles about her snacks—has been approaching me on and off all weekend. I’ve been here, I haven’t—she probably thinks I’m leading her on, even though we’ve been together almost six years. That’s fine; she’s never really trusted me, but I have always loved her. Even though I wanted non-chatty cats and Lucy fit that bill to begin with, apparently she’s been studying up. She’s grown out of her weakness. She is a bold kitty now.
“Meep!” she says to me, in her own good time, after all these years.
“But why?” I say.
“Meep! Meepmeepmeepmeepmeep,” Lucy says.
“But why didn’t you mention this before?” I say, imploring.
“MEEP! MEEP MEEP MEEP!” Lucy insists.
I hate to see anger in anybody’s eyes. I always try to deflect it.
“Sweetpea,” I say, “it cannot always be my fault. You’re putting a little too much blame on the mama.”
We both meep. She gets that from me. We meep as we disentangle and I make another treat plate for the family, somebody always getting something, somebody always a favorite.