Tintin came to live with us 6018 days ago. That would be 16 years, 5 months, and 21 days, but who’s counting.
Phillip was not quite two, and Patrick just five when it was time to find a new companion. An already grown up, black tiger cat caught our eye and our hearts that day. She was estimated to be about a year old. When she came home with us that day, she sat on the sofa like she owned it. And she did.
Although she was an adult cat, Phillip called her a “kitten”…except…he couldn’t say, “kitten”. He said, “tintten”, which in very short order became, Tintin.
Tintin died today at almost 18 years old of kidney failure. She leaves behind Matty Cat, Katrina Greycat, and us.
Nine years have passed since I last saw my dad alive. When I left his house that day, I knew I would never see him again. My soul actually hurt. My soul hurts again today. It’s raw, like it was that day. That’s when I did my mourning. When I knew I’d never see him again. I miss him everyday of course, but today…today, the feeling of loss is almost overwhelming. I know I won’t feel like this everyday, but for now the intensity of how much I miss him burns white hot.
…said the excited 11 year old Patrick. I said, “If you guys want the little black one, you pay the adoption fee.” And so it happened. The “little black one”, named Mindy (short for Midnight) by a very proud, 8 year old Phillip, was ours.
Mindy died today. We became her humans 8 years ago last week. Her kidneys failed. Again. This time for good.
She leaves behind, Katrina Greycat, Tintin, and Matty Cat (her mentor and best friend). And us.
I don’t often look in the mirror. I don’t mean to do my hair or make up, but REALLY look. Especially in good light. Yeah. I did that.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the crepe-y skin, not only on my neck, but on my face. When I could no longer deny the existence of the fine (and not quite as fine) lines around my lips (which by the way, are kind of disappearing). My once (naturally) perfectly shaped eyebrows have become sparse. And of course, the dark, puffy semi-circles under my eyes.
I have decided that I do not like being “middle-aged”. I didn’t like being a teenager either. It’s in between. Not an adult, not a kid. Middle age is the in between age of adulthood. Not elderly, but with most of life already passed.
As much as I do not like middle age, all of my lines and wrinkles will deepen with the passage of time. When they’re finished, I’ll be one Hell of an old lady.
I originally wrote this list in January of 2009. It is still mostly true.
1. I procrastinate. No, really.
2. I might be a bit sarcastic.
3. I have a thing for guys with long hair.
4. I REALLY miss my dad. It has been 8 years since I last saw him.
5. I have never been tired of my kids. Not once. Not ever.
6. I hate my house.
7. Flying terrifies me, but I’ll do it if I have to. Xanax.
8. I believe in God but, have no use for organized religion.
9. I played with matches with Bobby Armstrong when I was five…I NEVER did that again! I wish I could find him on Facebook, or somewhere.
10. I love slutty shoes.
11. I love Queen. Yes, still.
12. My mom died when I was ten.
13. I am not a housekeeper. I have lots of clutter. I am working on this one.
14. I have been married to the same person for 24 years. We are too lazy to fill out the paperwork for our divorce. 30 years…wow…
15. I am the middle child.
16. My children amaze me. Even more now as they move toward their adult lives.
17. On a clear night, on top of my hill, when you can see so many stars you can hardly see the sky…I sit there and stare up at the vastness of the universe in complete wonder and awe. That’s what keeps me centered. This has never been more true.
18. I enjoy the Marx Brothers.
19. I still have my favorite stuffed animal from childhood. You can read about him here.
20. I am trying to learn Italian. This did not work out so well.
21. Please do not tickle my knees!
22. I am a political junkie.
23. I have never eaten cotton candy.
24. I had fuchsia hair back in the ’80s.
25. I usually think the best time of my life is wherever I happen to be at the moment. The best time IS right now.
I know this is not the last place I want to live. I have a not-carved-in-stone timeline of 5ish years. This house that has been my home for the last 26 years will be put up for sale. While I may be a bit nostalgic when it sells (after all, I raised my kids here), I won’t be sad. I will be thrilled by the possibilities that lie ahead.
I have been thinking in earnest about how the next part of my life should look. There are so many choices! It’s exciting and scary at the same time. It is certain that I will live in a place where I can walk to the corner for a cup of tea. After all of this time living on the edge of the middle of nowhere, I don’t want to have to take my car out every time I want or need to grab a few groceries. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess as to where I might end up.
Perhaps, back to my mid-western roots. Maybe, some place tropical. Or, will the west win out? It sure is a big world out there. We’ll see where this takes us…
I am at the age where many people are becoming the care takers of their parents. It cannot be an easy transition going from being cared for to being the one who is taking care. For either party. Even still, I am a bit envious. I ran out of parents many years ago.
You know, no one will ever love you the way your parents did. Ever. Sure, I have siblings that love me (and I, them), but it’s different. It wasn’t until I had my own children, that I started missing my mother (d.1973). I really don’t remember her, but I knew, the minute I fell in love with my first child, just how she felt about me. It was devastating.
I am envious, not because of the amazingly hard task many of you face, but for the many years you got to be someone’s child.
So. I’ve already lived most of my life. I know what you’re thinking… How depressing… You’re still young… Why would you say something like that?!
It’s no big deal, really… It’s just a fact.
Yeah, the speed at which time passes startles me. Maybe more than I really care to admit. Where DID the time go? How did I get from here…
My dad and me October 1962
…to where I am? I LOVE my life. Now. That was not always true.The thing is, all of our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are. What would you go back and change if you could? What would be the consequences? Would a small thing make an enormous difference… Or, would a really big thing, change little?
Please read along and help me diagnose my own particular brand of crazy. This is way cheaper than therapy. AND it might be helpful to get the input of not only folks whose acquaintance I currently enjoy, but maybe a few strangers as well.
I can’t promise to be witty and charming (like in real life) all the time. Therapy is not always pretty. I will put myself out there and discuss anything and maybe even everything. We’ll see where this takes us…
Please feel free to comment away, and share if you feel like it.