There is an unspoken rule in this house. When one thing leaves, another shall come. The “things” I’m referring to could be a person, a responsibility, or even a pet. Okay, maybe it isn’t really a house rule. And, yes, maybe I’m the only one who follows it. And, yes, maybe I’m
totally a little crazy. I just can’t seem to help myself. I don’t I want to lead you to believe that I bring these things in because I have lots of free time on my hands. No, let’s be clear, I have no free time. I do this because there is something inherently wrong with me. I mean, really.
Lets go back to the summer of 2005. Boy #1 graduated from high school and was accepted into the engineering program at University of California, Irvine which meant he had to pack his belongings and drive very, very far away. Here I am with him in his dorm room just after moving him in. Note the downright joyful expression on his face. I think this picture was taken just seconds after I whispered in his ear “You know honey, there are lots of fine colleges closer to home”. This was my first experience with one of my children leaving home. UCI is in California but it is in Southern California and a good seven hour drive. This was a big adjustment. Yes, I know, I have three more where he came from but it was still hard. There’s only one Boy #1.
One morning while in the throes of empty nest syndrome, I came across an article in the newspaper about fostering kittens. The Humane Society was in dire need of volunteers who were willing to go through a bit of training and then take very small kittens, usually weighing only 1 pound, or even less, into their homes and care for them until they were old enough to go back for adoption. Well, hello! This had me written all over it. I knew this would be the perfect distraction and would help to fill the void Boy #1 would leave when he happily drove off to Southern California to start college. I’m not sure what it’s like when girls leave for college but boys drive off happily, totally carefree, with a big smile on their face.
Seven years later, and countless kittens later, I am still fostering. This cute baby girl has been with us for about a month.
Someone likes my laptop. This little guy is her friend and crate mate. They aren’t siblings but don’t tell them that; they have bonded in a deep and meaningful way.
My boys have enjoyed the process so much that each year around this time they start asking when the first kittens are coming. They are a total joy to have in the house and it is so rewarding to watch them gain weight and strength and become socialized, happy, little babies that will make fantastic pets for the families that adopt them. There is an additional bonus for my boys due to the fact that teenage girls are completely enthralled with kittens which means we have lots of female visitors at this time of year. It’s that whole cute guy with a cute pet thing. Works every time. This is all well and good because lots of interaction with lots of different people equals very well socialized kittens. The more people moving through the house and handling them, the better. They are definitely in the right place.
Kitten season is not year round so this was not a long term solution. But this was…
Bruno slid right into this family like he had been here forever. He has taken on the role of the youngest brother (Boy #5?) and knows he is the baby of the house. He looks after our aging Boston Terrier, Heidi, and he lovingly tolerates the kitten invasion at this time of year as if he knows just how much they need us. Animals are very intuitive that way.
He’s all growed up but still exceptionally cute. He is very aware of this fact and constantly uses it to his benefit.
This blog was also the result of this filling the void process. My remaining boys are getting older, so although they are still at home; they can drive, they don’t need help with homework (yes, this will happen, I promise), and I found that at night after dinner, I could actually sit for an hour without having to get up. You know what that means? I had to bring something else in. This blog was born last summer taking up the tiny bit of space I had gained and creating something that was far more time consuming but also far more rewarding than I imagined at the time.
And, time marches on…
Boy #2 graduated from high school and wisely chose a college close to home. Good choice honey. But lo and behold, he recently packed up his belongings and happily drove off, with a smile on his face, to an apartment even closer to campus. Although he is still close to home, he no longer resides in our house which is, well, it’s just weird. I have yet to fill that space, literally. I have not done a thing to his room – until recently his bed was still unmade – don’t judge me. I also have not brought in something new, but it’s only a matter of time.
The question is, what will it be? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
The Humane Society and other animal shelters across the country have many volunteer opportunities and are always in need of people to foster kittens and other animals. You can find some general information here from my local Humane Society. Contact the animal shelter in your area to find out more about how you can help in your community.
I promise my next post will include a recipe. Promise!