An Exercise in Letting Go 4


I was kind of relying on you guys to save me from the cute. You did not, alas, live up to this expectation. I just wrote two weeks ago that there was no way these three new baby kitties were staying at this house. No. Way.

Now, they’re all sprawled on the kitchen table, which is incredibly gross, nursing from their mama, which is incredibly awesome. You see the conflict here.

Right now, three little furry bodies are curled around their mother, getting everything they need from her. Just a few moments ago, she was trying to get away from them. My kids like to suggest when she ignores them that she needs some mommy time. Wonder where they got that idea? Kiki, Mama Cat prowled the kitchen, had a little sip or two of water, all business. My son had brought the babies down and plopped all three on the table, where I’m working today.

I didn’t want to, didn’t have time to hold the kitties. They rambled all over the table, sniffing my lunch, poking at each other. Squirt, whom we think is the middle child, picked fights with his siblings. Loki, the eldest, tried to escape them, being far too cool to hang out with the babies. And sweet Star, the only girl, batted her eyes at me, practically willing me to pull her tiny frame into my arms.

Damn them.

Once Mama found her way to where her kids were, slowly havIng made the kitchen circuit on her own sweet time, like I might do if I get the luxury of grocery shopping alone, they pounded at her. I could almost hear them, “Mom. Mom! Hey, Mom! Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Look. Mom. Mom. Mom,” as they surrounded her, like a very serious cute gang. One of them even started to nurse while Mama sat up, licking her chops at the birds bouncing on the other side of the window.

They all finally settled, propped against my computer, four bodies moving in near synchronicity. I can see their sides rise and fall, in the languorous cadence of sleep. It is restful just to watch. And a little bittersweet. The kitties can walk, eat and drink on their own now. They don’t need strictly their mother for sustenance. Any day now, her milk will begin to dry up, and they will continue to grow, up and out.

All parenting, it seems to be, is an exercise is letting go. From the cessation of nursing, to leaving them for the first time with a sitter, to kindergarten to camp to dating to driving to college to kids of their own.

Still, I watch Kiki, both pushing them away and pulling them to her. She seems so wise and regal, knowing how to strike the balance naturally. She pets one, strokes another, puts one back in his place. Then she curls around her babies, and they let her hold them. Until they are up at out, looking for more.