There's a lot I take for granted. The fact that I am loved by two strong parents, the oldest sister of two exquisite sisters, a student of a renowned university, a citizen of America, a fiancee to an incredible man, a woman of the color that has every privilege-- there's a lot there.
I don't call my parents enough. I don't tell my sisters how much I love them enough or how cool it is to be their big sister. I don't go to class enough, and I complain about education (a lot). I loose my temper with Michael, and I don't ask him how his day went everyday. And as far as white privilege goes, I enter into banks, DMVs, Walmarts, gas stations and job interviews without the fear that my ability to be a contributing, trustworthy member of society is contingent on the color of my skin.
So why now? Why have I never written this blog before, because obviously, this isn't a new thing.
Note the cheeseball staring at the tiny moon, he's important. Let me explain:
A few days ago, I was packing up my apartment, and as my scattered little brain attempted to put everything into a couple of boxes, I only half-noticed the emptying room I had called home for the past 12 months. Usually, all the cats would be in my room just chilling (below, observe), but it was only Stuart that day. He was annoyingly insistent about something, butting his head into my leg, sniffing bags and sitting in unfortunate places.
Stuart and Michael had become best buds over the past several months. They would greet each other every time Michael came over, and the plump cat would roll over on his back and dead-eye my future husband. It was a little like he was daring the man to rub his belly, but without fail, Michael would enthusiastically drop to the floor and "rocket ship" (or "carpet swim") Stuart across the floor by pushing the chubster's back paws while the cat propelled himself faster with his little cat arms reaching for the next strip of carpet. Whenever Michael wasn't at the apartment, Stuart would walk into my room and look for him (like under clothes and in the closet and everything). He would try to settle for Meliah rubs, be forever unsatisfied, and then leave before returning five minutes later to check to see if the man had returned (by squeezin through the air vent or something, idk).
Long story short, they'd become best buds, this orange tabby and my fiance. So when I went back into my room after packing up my stuff, and saw this:
I was wrecked.
Stuart isn't my cat, or Michael's, and I never took him to the vet or fed him his meals. I probably didn't even pet him enough. So why do I still get knots in my tummy looking t this picture?
I love my grey kitten, Jack Jack, the most, and yet, I found myself in a puddle of emotions over an orange cat in a desk drawer.
It was true though, I had fallen in love with more than just one cat. I really had fallen for Stuart too, and Skyler, Jack's adorable, doe-eyed litter-mate, and even Norman, the cat that liked to lick people and the one that nobody really liked. They'd all been there at the end of everyday, regardless of what it held, and they were the kitty counterparts of some of the very greatest humans.
And what's messing with me, is the fact that think I took it all for granted-- the cats as well as the people. The unconditional love of the four hairballs in one apartment. The late night shenanigans with my flatmates. The wine nights. The wisdom. The tomfoolery. The food gifts. The laundry machines. The beautiful view. The time we survived a tornado (AND UNKNOWINGLY STOOD OUT ON THE PORCH TO WATCH. Definitely could have died, y'all). I didn't know what I had, until it's all but gone.
This part of my life will always be a cherished one, and the people (and cats) involved will always be close to my heart.
My final home as an unmarried woman turned out to be exactly what I needed, and sometimes it takes something stupid to recognize how good we have it. For me, it took a fat cat in a drawer to remind me just how precious each season of life is.
As my undergrad career comes to a close, and I jet off to Washington to watch my middle sister graduate high school and wedding plan and continue the job search, get married and eventually return to the 'Burg and start my first big girl job, I want to remember that my life is beautiful. That each piece of this crazy, wild life is crafted as an opportunity to grow and to love better. I want to remember that every life is beautiful, and that each piece of everyone's story is of divine origins and memories that shaped their hearts. Seasons change, and I may have forgotten just how good I had it sometimes, but I will never forget the the memories we shared in that apartment on140 Jesup.
To Jasmine, Julie & Biz,
Thank you. Thanks for everything you have done for me, and for the beautiful souls you keep inside of you. I have found rest in this place because of the memories we have, and the love that was shared. This was my first grown-up place, and even though it wasn't perfect, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Each of you are so close to my heart. You will always be welcome in whatever home Michael and I end up in, and at a drop of a hat, we'll always be there for you.
Thank you. May these next steps of yours be filled with excitement, love, second chances, adventures and things that will push you. Oh, and so much kitty love. (PS: Jack misses you)