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Lost and Found

by verdemama on June 29, 2010

Meet Emma.

Emma was my baby before I had an actual, real-life human baby in February of 2009. I got her in 1999 when she was just a wee kitten. She lived with me during my final year of college at Kent State, then moved cross-country with me to Phoenix in 2000, then to Louisiana later that year, and finally to California in 2002. She’s been with me through 11 years of big moves and big life events, including marriage and having a baby.

Monday she went missing.

She’s an indoor/outdoor cat who roams the back yard and surrounding area as she pleases. Usually she comes in every night by 10pm, ready to snuggle, but Monday night we waited and waited… no Emma. Tuesday A.M. she was AWOL for her regular morning breakfast of succulent canned, uh… whatever that is. She NEVER misses a meal, so I officially started to worry.

Worry turned to obsession and obsession turned to heartache. I started imaging the worst. I thought about what my life would be like without her. The backyard that is teeming with lively, growing, flourishing things now looked dead and empty to me.

I made “missing cat” fliers. Fighting back tears, I walked house to house, talking to my neighbors, many for the first time ever. I went through my old photos of her. I spent the day blaming myself for her disappearance, because the last time I saw her, she was trying to get my attention by swatting at me, and I called her a brat and blew her off.

I couldn’t really blame her for wanting my attention. She’s gone from being my furry little princess to blending into the scenery ever since Orion’s arrival. See, here she is actually blending into the scenery somewhere around Orion’s seventh month.

I bet I could find 500 photos of Orion with Emma sitting somewhere in the background. She’s the Where’s Waldo of my iPhoto library. She’s not too crazy about him (read: jealous), so she keeps her distance for the most part. But there have been a few moments where she’s gotten close to him. This, for example. Orion’s probably five months or so here.

I wasn’t ready to not have her in my life anymore. She was supposed to grow old with us. I couldn’t bear not knowing where she was, what her fate was. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being scared or lonely or injured or worse. I had a long, sad day of thinking about what life would be like without her.

And then at the end of the day Tuesday? We found her. She was hiding in the neighbor’s backyard in some overgrown bushes. She hadn’t come to me when I called her. When I was searching the neighbor’s yard earlier, she didn’t make a sound.

I still haven’t figured out why she was hiding from us. I’m her favorite person in the world and usually she comes when I call her. Maybe she’s sick or injured… I’m keeping her inside the house for a while where I can keep a close eye on her. Maybe she ran away and hid from me on purpose to teach me a lesson and remind me how much she means to me.

Whatever it was, I’m so grateful to have her back and will be spoiling her silly for some time to come.

*****
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