Monday, September 7, 2009

The End of the Summer and New Beginnings

Labor Day, the last "real" day of summer was always kind of a sad day for me. It meant that summer was "really" over. Even though sports practices had begun early in August and school usually the last full week of August, it still seemed like summer, until Labor Day. Once Labor Day was over - - summer was over.

Back in the day when I was in school, I did look forward to the end of summer because it also meant the beginning of something - - another school year. For some reason, I always had this feeling that some how, I could re-invent myself going into the new school year. There were always endless possibilities.

Now that I'm almost as old as dirt, I look back and realize it was the summer that held all the possibilities for me. The seemingly endless days spent at the pool or beach (from 15 to 22 years old, I life guarded - - so it wasn't entirely unproductive). The long cool nights spent reading an endless pile of books while listening to the crickets through the open windows. Oh, the endless adventures I went on through time and space! All things seemed possible in the summer.

Now, the days of summer melt into fall into winter into spring into summer with no real milestones with which to keep track of the years. I feel like Rip Van Winkle when my friends and sister talk of their kids going to kindergarten or worse yet - - high school. The kids can't be THAT old already!? How old does that make ME? Where has time flown? Why, the last time I saw you, you were just a toddler!

It seems so fitting that the last day of this summer be chilly, cloudy and drizzly. The weather kind of reflects how I feel.

The beginning of the summer, it was full of so many possibilities. I wanted to have a BBQ at my house once a month. I wanted to go here and there and all over the countryside of Virginia. I didn't do nearly all the things I had planned and I did many things I had not planned.

The wonderment of childhood was re-introduced to me in the form of four little furry kittens.

I would have to say the kittens were the highlight of my summer. I really didn't think I'd have them as long as I did. With the economy being poor and what seemed like a HUGE wave of kitten births, they were with me all summer. They invited me into their magical world of play and the miracle of growing up. I got to watch their personalities develop and in some way I hope, I shaped the good beings that they will become as adults. Every day there was something to laugh about. Some new adventure. Being a foster has been one of the most rewarding things I've done, next to volunteering at the museum.

I picked up this skinny litter of kittens Memorial Day weekend. The beginning of summer. It was only fitting that the last of the litter be adopted Labor Day weekend, the end of the summer.

Yes, Dash and Stache were adopted.

I think I knew it was going to be this weekend. I hoped it would be this weekend. You see, I was getting really attached to them. They were integrated with Ranger, Scout and Stryker, it was like they were all one big happy family. Scout was grooming them, Ranger would wrestle with them, Stryker would show them all the best sunny spots under the dining room table. As they became 'half-cats' and people would pick them up at adoption events and oooo and ahhh over them, only to then go for the younger heart would break. But I knew that God had the right family for them, they just hadn't come to an event yet.

Last week, as the days ticked by, in my mind it was one less day with the kittens. Thursday, I had every intention of going straight home after work, no gym, just go home to play with the kittens. But something drew me away from that plan. My old, comforting friend, Books, was tugging at me. I spent entirely too much time at the bookstore. I was avoiding going home. Subconsciously, I didn't want that to be the last evening I spent with them.

When I got home, I could see the white of Dash's face in my dark front window. When I opened up the door, there he was. Stache came running across the top of the sofa toward us. Their excitement when I got home at night was always so nice. I was loved, wanted, anticipated. We played, but not as much as I had planned and I feel sad about that.

I'll be honest, I felt sad. I prayed Thursday night that God would bring their forever family to the adoption event. For purely selfish reasons...I really loved those little guys and I told God that the longer I had them the harder it was going to be for me to let them go -- so please, please bring their forever family to the event. I prayed for a young couple, like the couple that adopted Spree and the small kitten Zola. People who loved animals and who would love them and spoil them.

I cried. I think it was the first time this whole summer that I have cried, so three months of it unleashed. Stache had curled up on the pillow next to me. He cooed and then I felt this soft paw on the side of my face, wiping at the tears that were streaming down. Well, that just made me sob. Poor little guy, he'd probably just reached out to touch this strange wet thing running down my face because he'd never seen a tear before. Then Dash got into the act, licking my face - - tears are salty after all. That all combined with a sad book about a man and his dog - - well, you can guess where Thursday night went for me.

Friday - - a young couple came in and adopted Dash and Stache. They both grew up with lots of animals and the wife missed having a cat. They were exactly who I had prayed for.

So, while the summer ends, along with my season of being a foster to Dash and Stache, their lives are just beginning and are full of possibilities. I think I even heard their new "parents" say they were going to keep their names Dash and Stache, those were cool names. Even if they get new names for their new life in their new home, I'm sure they will be their loving, crazy, playful, affectionate selves that I adored and I know they are going to be loved.

Thanks to all my friends for indulging me as I shared photos and stories of their little lives with you this summer. Thanks Lost Dog Lost Cat for giving me the opportunity to foster them. Thanks to the families who adopted them. May they bless your lives as much as they blessed mine.

1 comment:

liberal army wife said...

thank you for the story and thank you for fostering. Fancy Cats (the rescue group I work with) has lots of fosters, but due to the attitude of a small cat who allows me to share his apartment, I don't. I clean cages and am an adoption coordinator - and I get so sad when one of my favourites isn't adopted, but also sad to see them go home. I always tell them, I never want to see them again.. but it is nice to get pictures, isn't it? or to get an email from the new home to tell you that they are doing well, that they are happy, a quirk in personality. thanks for opening your heart and your home to those cats that people throw away.