It’s really quite rare that a dream follows me into waking life. Usually they (if any) fade immediately upon waking, and any that linger quickly run away the more I try to remember them.
Today–from overnight–a dream bucked the norm, and followed me into waking life. I don’t remember much detail, mind you, and it’s one of those things about dreams where things make sense while you’re in the dream itself, but logic and sense dissipate upon wakeful, rational, logical analysis.
I see a little black kitten dart across the road–I’m standing outside my parents’ house. I am often frustrated at the way traffic often seems to wait until I need to back outta the driveway or otherwise park to arrive–and I think that as I see the kitten pause in the across-the-street-neighbor’s yard. A car pulls onto the street and starts coming…I see the kitten dart back out into the road–suicidal, no?–but the car is not even slightly slowing down. Fearing the kitten’s life, I step out into the road, arm out, presenting myself as an obstacle, praying the kitten isn’t hit. Ignoring the car’s driver as the car stops, I search for the kitten–there it is! I chase it back into the neighbor’s yard, where it freezes, and I pick him up. I carry him back across the street and into my parents’ house–I pass Christy on the stairs (how is she here?!? I hope she doesn’t think I’m trying to REPLACE her!–round the kitchen to the dining area & living room. Cradling this terrified little kitten at my elbow, hoping Kayla doesn’t get defensive and territorial….wonder what my parents will think of me–at my age–bringing my first random animal into the house. Then I wake…
And periodically since that, throughout the day, I’ve had flashbacks to Christy as a kitten. Remembering that time we went to the foster home her litter was at. Going back for her. Those first days with her confined to one part of the house, separate from Kayla, so they could get used to smelling each other. Introducing them. The way she was oh-so-playful. Her mischief–the ONE time she actually tried climbing the curtains. The time she streaked past me in a running leap that ended with her hanging from the back of the recliner as it slowly spun around. Seeing her at the bottom of the stairs, and dropping a piece of paper, watching her watch it and pounce. Getting another paper, tearing off a piece, and dropping it, and repeating til she ignored the paper and I had left the lower stairs looking like it had snowed.
More and more, I struggle with the idea of getting a kitten. For all the logic I’ve had in the past of why NOT to get one, the more I think about it, the more I find myself considering just how to make it work. Considering just how willing I am to take on such a responsibility.
I started listening to The Shack today. One bit that jumped out at me was the comment “Love always leaves a significant mark.” And it’s true. And love has its price–if you love, you open yourself up to hurt. When it comes to, say, kittens…a kitten will quickly become a full-grown cat. And with the natural, disparate life-spans between cats and humans…at 27-nearly-28 years old, it’s a reasonable assumption that even if I got a kitten at the youngest it could be independent of its mother…I would long outlive it. Chances are, I’ll outlive two consecutive long-lived cats if the first were born today.
I know that despite the thoughts, I’m NOT ready for a kitten. I still hurt too much from losing Christy. But I would also have to face the fact that: I’m hurt this deeply having lost Christy. Taking on even a young kitten now–I’d almost certainly face such a loss in the future. On top of knowing that Kayla at 18 years and a month now is statistically at the extreme upper end of a cat’s lifespan, and I can hardly imagine what another deep loss will do to me emotionally.