My oldest is 17, and my youngest is not yet one, and has four legs and whiskers. Jeremy and Jack. Jeremy adores his little brother—at times we just sit gazing at him in silent worship as he sleeps–but he also resents that no matter what he does, he doesn’t get in trouble. He has smashed just about every vase and glass in the house. His favorite thing is to get up on a surface, get behind a thing, any thing, made of glass, puts both paws on it, and push! Smash, smash, glass!
Ideally at around 5 am. He has pushed my entire computer off my desk and screen first onto the floor, twice, and Jeremy’s also, once. Jeremy picks him up and dangles him, shaking him slightly and putting his forehead against Jack’s as he meowls, and says: “Don’t you ever think anything you’re about to do is not a good idea?”
Jeremy says he is a boy in a really good cat suit.
Jack worships his older brother. He thinks he is going to college with him, but in fact he is stuck with me for the next 20 years. When I see him I start hollering uncontrollably: “WHOOOOOZE MY BABY? THERE HE IZZZ. THERE HE IZZZ. AAAGH. LOOK AT MY BOYYY!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT’S CRAZY!!”
He has learned to leap straight up from any position when I come at him like this– he jumps over my shoulder and runs away.
Last night I watched the movie: “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It was marvelously punishing and horrifying. But it ends nicely, with all its presumptions over-turned. Love conquers.
Well, for get dramatic exchanges of “love,” because that’s not what matters. Love is like this:
Jack wakes me this morning, mother’s day, 8 am, as always, by biting my big toe. This means: “Get up. Feed me.”
Now his half brothers, Carlos and Mickey are staying with us, as their father (also Jeremy’s) is on tour; Because we are on Jack’s turf, he emerges as the tribal leader. Carlos and Mickey sit by the door, watching Jack work his magical powers to get me out of bed. It is a methodical system he has: He starts with the big toe, bites gently, then harder. Then he looks at me, right at me. Waits. Then he moves on to the next toe, bites it. If that fails, the next one. This is what kills me, makes me adore him so: Why does he move across the toes like a xylophone? He must think ONE of them is the magic toe, that makes her GET UP.
So even if I fear he does not “love” me as evidenced by a feline show of affection, like curling up or purring, he loves me enough to ask me for what he needs. (I think that is love.) When he feels his cat pan needs cleaning for example, he sits in front of it, paws perfectly aligned, just looking at it as if watching a boring play. When he sits like this he assumes the exact shape of a snail, hence his nickname, “Snail” which is soon going to eclipse his real name. When he goes berserk and must be put in the bathroom, Jeremy calls it “Snail Jail.” Jeremy says I always let him out of jail too soon. But I can’t bear how it feels to exercise power over someone I love so much. I am so much bigger than him and he can’t lock ME in the bathroom. Imagine if he could!
I don’t trust people who don’t love cats, at all.
My son Jeremy is still sleeping. He is a gift from God. One day God said: “You won’t believe what I have for you.”
On Mother’s Day 2008, my son wrote me a letter titled “10 Things I Love About My Mother.” On my bulletin board at all times, and when I feel like a failed human being, I read it. (Every day)
Number one: She has a sense of humor.
Number two: She feels sympathy and compassion for any living thing in unfortunate conditions.
Number three: She is comforting.
Number four: She is trustable.
Number five: She is understanding.
Number six: She loves adventure.
Number seven: She lives for the moment at the right times.
Number eight: She is trusting.
Number nine: She has the perfect balance of self indulgence.
Number ten: She is so unconditionally loving towards me.
The Subject line says: “This is NOT to be forwarded to ANYONE.”
But I note it does not say: “You can’t publish this.”