Happy Birthday Sammy and Zoey

Sammy and Zoey are my kittens and they turn two today. The following conversation may or may not have actually happened.

Zoey: Mommy, because it's our birthday will you tell us the story about when we became a Forever Family?

Me: Of course, Zoey. I'd be happy to tell you that story. Why don't you and Sammy come snuggle with me?

Sammy: Will you rub my tummy while you tell the story?

Me: Don't I always?

Sammy (purring): Yes, you do. That's why you're the best Mommy.

Me: On February 24, 2012, your Cat Mommy gave birth to three beautiful kittens - the two of you and a brother - in Chicago. Your Mommy, whom it is believed was a feral cat, loved you very much. Shortly after you were born, she lost her life protecting the three of you from a mean predator. Later that day, you were all found and taken in by some nice people at Illinois Animal Rescue and you went to live with a very nice Foster Family in Libertyville until a Forever Family could be found.

Your Foster Family loved you very much. As I recall, they had three children and a mommy who each showered you with lots of affection. They had lots of toys for you, took you to the vet, taught you how to use the litter box and constantly played with you. Even though they loved you a bushel and a peck, it was their hope that the three of you would be adopted into a Forever Family together.

Zoey: You're spending a lot of time on the back story, Mommy. How did WE become a Forever Family?

Me: I'm getting there, but you need to remember that without the back story, we wouldn't be a Forever Family.


How could anyone resist these two cuties?

As I was saying, your Foster Family loved you beyond words, but they knew they could not be your Forever Family. When you were about 9-weeks-old, they placed adoption notices about you on Petfinder.com. I was on the site just taking a stroll and seeing what sort of kitties were available. Believe me when I tell you that I didn't think I was ready to adopt at that moment.

Sammy: Why not Mommy? Weren't we cute enough?

Me: Of course you were cute enough, Sammy! I didn't think I was ready because my former cats, Betsey and Ross, had died just five weeks earlier and I was still very deep in mourning for them. I couldn't quite see myself being a mommy again so soon. I knew that I wanted to be a mommy someday, but I didn't think I was ready just yet.

But then I saw the two of you. And you stole my heart. I knew in an instant that I had to meet you. Without much thought about my sadness and whether I was "ready" or not, I completed the application and within a couple of hours, I received a phone call from your Foster Mommy and we scheduled a time for me to meet you.

Your Uncle Christopher joined me for our meeting. It was on a Wednesday after work. You were both teeny tiny bundles of energy and showed off your extreme athletic abilities running and jumping and climbing on furniture. I just watched in awe, still a bit nervous and telling myself I was simply window shopping.

Zoey: Window shopping? What does that mean?

Me: Window shopping is when you're just looking, but you have no plans to make a purchase.

Sammy: You weren't sure you wanted us?


I was done when Zoey crawled over to me and fell asleep against my thigh.

Me: No. Well, yes. I guess the answer is that I was nervous and scared, but those feelings were about me, not you. I was worried that I was becoming a mommy again too soon and that I was disrespecting the memory of Betsey and Ross by adopting you so soon. But then Zoey adopted me and I was done.

Sammy: What did I do Mommy?

Me: Sammy, you were a little skittish. You kept running under the sofa while Zoey slept. Finally, Uncle Christopher caught you and you let us take this picture of you.

Now let me be clear: From the moment I began my "window shopping" on Petfinder, I was certain that if I was going to become a mommy again, I had to have a brother and sister who were litter mates and they needed to be kittens. Although I knew that lots of older cats needed homes, I was settled on wanting newborns.

As I played with you, I learned that you were born on February 24th, exactly one month before Betsey and Ross died. I remember thinking that there's an old adage about when one life ends, another begins and I felt that it was a sign from them. They were telling me that they passed away when they did because they knew you were out there needing a Forever Family and that I could give that to you. My decision was made.

There were a few paperwork matters that had to be finalized before I could bring you home and I had to get kitten food, litter and toys. Plus, I had to kitten proof my house so that you wouldn't get hurt when you came home.

I brought you home on Sunday, May 13, 2012. I became your Mommy and we became a Forever Family on Mother's Day.

We've been a very happy family for almost two years and I can't begin to express how much joy you both bring me each day. You constantly surprise me with your antics, but not with your capacity to love me and each other.

I've heard it said many times that people rescue pets, but I believe it's the other way around. You rescued me at least as much as I rescued you when you helped me emerge from my depression. I love that almost two years later, you greet me at the front door each day when I return and you both sleep with me each night. I love that you are always curious and playful and never mean.

Zoey: What happened to our other brother?

Me: He was adopted by a very nice man on the same day we became a Forever Family. That man picked him out before I met you, so I didn't have the chance to adopt all three of you. I would have though.

Sammy: So today is our birthday.

Me: Yes, today you turn two in people years, but that is actually 24 cat years. And, no, that does not mean that you can drive or have wine. Sorry. Did you know that today is your friend Livie's birthday? She's 8-years-old today.

Sammy and Zoey: Happy Birthday Livie! Maybe next year we can have a joint party!

Me: Happy 2nd Birthday Sammy and Zoey and Happy 8th Birthday Olivia!


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    Jessica Gardner

    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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