Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Moonlight is gone. And my heart is aching.

I'm not a big fan of animals. I can tolerate them - at the zoo or on a leash, but I don't find them cute or cuddly. My kids always knew not to bring home so much as a goldfish, and other than some passing phases, they mostly accepted that and inherited my distrust of anything on four legs.

Well...except for my little boy. He plays by different rules. And he loves animals.

A couple of months ago, he brought home a goldfish. I went on my well rehearsed rant about how this is a people house, and only humans live here...and how we don't have the right equipment or the know-how and it'll die and then what are we going to do with it.

And then I let it stay - to my other kids' surprise and my little boy's delight.

It lived for about a week. And when it died, I felt sad. For my little boy, mostly. But also for the loss of something that became a part of my home.

Two weeks later, I was introduced to Moonlight. My little boy was walking home from school, when he passed a grocery. Apparently, a mama cat living in the store, had some kitties, and the grocer was giving them away. My little boy happily carried one home, never stopping to wonder about what his mother might think.

While I am somewhat prepared to deal with the occasional carnival goldfish, nothing in my parenting experience prepared me for this.

My little boy cried and pleaded.

"I need to take care of her." He looked up at me through tear filled eyes. "She doesn't have a mother!"

I watched my little boy as he held her protectively against him, and I let her stay.

We settled her comfortably in the back yard, in a house my little boy built with his friends. He spent every spare minute out there with Moonlight, feeding her, holding her, playing with her, and I privately hoped she'd wander off one day soon and join some family of stray cats somewhere.

I'm not sure how or when it happened, but at some point, Moonlight began to occupy some space in my heart and mind. Just a tiny space, at first. I'd drive down the block at night, and worry about her wandering into the street and getting hurt. I'd hear a kitten crying, and wonder if it's Moonlight, and hope she's okay. I'd see her curled up in the driveway, under the wheels of a car, and I'd call my little boy to come and put her somewhere safe.

The worry was for Moonlight, too, but it was mostly for my little boy. He loved his kitten. And I loved how it brought out a sweet, gentle, nurturing side of him.

Moonlight lived in our yard for about a month. And then she disappeared.

We combed the neighborhood, looking for her. I knocked on doors. I talked to anyone who might have some information. We suspect that the crazy cat lady at the corner took her. But there's no way to verify it, and it's unlikely that she'd return her.

So Moonlight is gone now. And my little boy is heartbroken.

A tiny part of me is relieved. But most of me is mourning along with my little boy. I don't like cats, but I love my little boy. And his heart is broken.


  1. Poor child! It must be devastating to him. He'll be okay because children are resilient...but right now he must be so upset! I'm sorry for the two of you.

  2. Never was much of an animal person.
    But losing something you feel close to can be extremely difficult. As is watching someone you love go through some difficult challenges.

  3. Everyone's an animal person-- they just haven't met their animal yet. But you met yours.

    Just FYI, I tweeted your post (@onepersonsview).

  4. I believe that every child should have a pet that belongs to him/her. What it does for a child is indescribable.

  5. SIR...

    He's doing ok, but I think that's because he's holding on to the hope that he'll get her back.

    Soul Comfort...

    Or watching someone you love mourning a loss.

    Life Student...

    I don't know... I don't think I'll ever be an animal person.


    I believe that too. In theory. I loved what it did for him in the short time that he had her. But I'm not running out and getting him another pet any time soon.

  6. That's so touching. It hurts when a person loses something they were connected to. That bond is torn and it hurts hard.

    I think that when a child does have a connection to any animal, it does a world of good. When my sister taught kindergarten kids, she had a parrot in the classroom. It teaches children to be gentle, feed the animal on time, think about how it would feel, care for it's feelings, make sure not to do anything that will make it scared (like jump near it with a big banging noise)...in general, it teaches children to think beyond themselves.

    That doesn't mean I'm running to get a pet kitten for my son, for now his stuffed animal kitten (that says MEOW!) will have to be good enough :-)

  7. Devorah...

    I can tell you which grocery is giving them out for free!
    But I'm not running to get my son another one either, so I get you :).

  8. Tell me! Tell me!
    No, I'm not going to get one - I'm just wondering which store is giving away free kittens!

  9. Devorah...

    I doubt they have any left (my son's friend also took one home, but his mom freaked when she saw it and didn't let him keep it :)). But I'll find you another free kitten if you trade your stuffed one for the real thing!