Thursday, January 8, 2015

Man of the house

          My mom has been really busy with all kinds of stuff today, so she asked me if I wanted to write her blog.  I figure if Aditi and Jhoti can post on Open Road, I can, too.  (Read "Jhoti's pennance" here.)  Plus I've perched on the desk and watched Mom use the computer enough to know what's what.  She said she'd come in later and proofread my work, but I think I'll be alright on my own.  After all, I'm the man of the house and should be able to handle this just fine. 
          It's not that I'm all that macho.  I was the runt of my litter and almost didn't make it a couple of times.  I've been hospitalized on a few occasions and  my mom nearly went nuts the last time when I got sick from grooming Aditi before she was fully wormed.  Mom needn't have worried.  I recuperated quickly enough.  During the night I even figured out how to unlock my cage at the vet's, pull out my IV, and escape from the exam room so I could go exploring.  I had had enough of that sitting around business and knew there were better things to do with my time.  
         Like bird watching.  
        And (plastic) snake charming.  
        And playing with my sisters. 
         When I was a kid, my littermates took good care of me.  They nudged me to the bottom of the scrum pile so I could stay warm while we napped near our mama's belly.  My sisters knew I tired easily and didn't jump on me when I sat down to watch them frolic and play.  And my brother often joined me, grooming my ears for good measure.  After my human mom adopted me, I soon learned I was the smallest kid in her trio of cats.  Jhoti and I bonded quickly, but I'm still working on Sophia...and it's been over five years, so you'd think she'd get a grip and realize I'm not going anywhere.  
          I've been spoiled rotten, let me tell you, but I hear I'm also a cute little booger, so it all evens out in the end.  When I was a baby, Mom would carry me inside her sweatshirts wrapped in fleece to keep me warm and gave me extra treats to help me gain weight.  As I grew, she nurtured my love of birds by hanging a suet cage outside the window near a sunny spot where I like to snooze.  Along with my Aunt Doris and a few other folks, my mom has bought me enough toy mice and snakes to last more than nine lifetimes.
          But I'm not a Mama's Boy. 
          Like I said, I'm the man of the house.

          But you know, I didn't really understand what that meant until my kid sister, Aditi, came along.  She's a tough little squirt, let me tell you.  And when Mom squirts her with the water gun when she's being bad, Aditi holds her ground.  I even saw her slap Mom once...or twice.  Well, okay, nearly every time. 
          As the man of the house I've tried to set a good example.  I use good manners when I eat my meals and use the litterbox like a gentleman.  Grooming is one of my favorite hobbies and I keep myself neat and clean.  (Mom even calls me Dapper Dan, except my name is Forest, so I don't know who she means.)  Best of all, if it's nighttime and I want to sleep on Mom's bed (she has a thing called an electric blanket, but I call it Paradise), I very gently jump up, slowly and carefully making my way to cozy spot so I don't wake up my mother...unlike two other black cats I know who don't give a hoot and step on her head, her hair, even her face!
          I'm rewarded with lots of love.  With cat nip and paper grocery bags.  With lots of kisses and chin rubs.  But that's not why I do all of those things.  It's in my nature to be a good boy.  Mom says I'm her pride and joy.  And why not?
          I'm the man of the house.
          But you know, I've been watching Mom a lot these days.  She has a lot of papers on her desk and I heard her telling her friend there's a lot to do running her yoga business and writing books and marketing them (whatever that means...I thought the market was where she got our food) and paying bills and making sure the house is in order.  She cuts the grass in the summer and takes the trash out year 'round.  I wish I could scoop our litterbox myself because that's a job no one or woman. 
          From what I've seen lately, Mom does the work of both a man and a woman, but if she doesn't do it all, who will?  I'd like to help, but I'm hobbled by being a quadruped.  I can't reach the sink to wash dishes (although I will admit to jumping up on the counters now and again when she's not looking).  I can't make business calls or drive a car.  I'd like to go to work and help earn my keep, but I figure keeping Aditi out of trouble most of the day is a full-time job.  But at night I bring Mom my snakes and mice.  I drop them in her slippers, hoping she'll know how much I love her.  How much I appreciate living in this peaceful place full of windows and warm beds and wonderful women who come in for yoga classes. 
          Maybe being the man of the house isn't what I've heard it's supposed to be.  Maybe being the only boy doesn't mean I have to be tough and courageous.  That's it's okay to run away from the sweeper and get startled every time the doorbell rings.  I don't have to be strong and steady when Mom's sad or not feeling well.  I can curl up on her shoulder and purr in her ear...and maybe even feel a little low myself just because she's feeling blue. 
          Mom says she loves me just as I am.  And I'm not a big Tom cat or a Bossy Boots.  I'm not rough and rugged and ready to rumble.  She says that if she marries a man who is half as sweet as me, she'll be the luckiest woman in the world.  I guess it's a good thing that I'm a sweet little fella who knows how lucky I am to live with a bunch of lively ladies.
          That's man enough for me...and for my sweet little momma, too.