It's hard to know sometimes what I like more: my kids being small or being older.
I do like them small, but the disadvantage is that they have little memory. It's always sadened me to think that they would not remember their family members should something happen to any of us.
So when our little girl started relaying stories some time ago, incorporating events that had actually happened, we knew we were at the point that she would remember things important.
Last night while we prepared to go to bed and were ready to pray, our three-year-old mentioned Mona.
Desdemona, our white feline, and Othello, our black cat, were part of our household until last spring when we gave them away to an acqaintance who lives on a farm. Though we liked our cats, we didn't like the fleas they brought with them from the outside. We also didn't like the jealousy that Mona displayed through peeing on everything after our little boy was born. With little kids, the price just became too high to have cats in the house.
So it was a sad day last spring when we dropped off the cats at the farm, or Hell's Outhouse, as we have called it. As soon as I carried him out of the van, Othello spied the farm family's big Saint Bernard charging out of nowhere toward us. Othello leaped from my arms, leaving me resembling a scratching post, and bolted toward a cattle pen. He ended up getting trapped between the gate and the fence. We retreived him and petted him and he calmed down. Too soon afterward, Othello and Mona were left to settle into farm life as we sadly drove away.
The cats have come up in conversation from time to time, so it doesn't surprise me when even our little girl brings them up. But last night was particularly sweet.
We started to pray, and our little girl asked where Mona was. I reminded her that Mona was living at a farm with all sorts of animals. I told her Mona was having lots of fun with the cows, horses, pigs and dogs.
She wanted to be sure that the cats were OK, and asked other questions, like if the cats were warm and if they are being held by someone. I assured her that the cats are being cared for by someone who loved them. That someone is one of our oldest daughter's friends.
"Is she nice to them?" she asked.
Oh yes, she's very nice to them, I told her.
"Is she careful?" she probed further.
I again told her that the cats are in a good place. We then prayed for the cats and for everyone else, too, before going to bed.
Today she asked again about the cats and prayed for them at lunchtime.
The cats played an important part of our kids' lives, so I am sure we will be hearing about Mona and Othello for years to come.