I have so much fodder for the blog now. It's just a matter of which topic to go with first.
Stepfamily Christmases are just bizarre. I don't know if it's ever going to be normal ever again. I'm thinking not. I think this was the most successful year yet, somehow. And yet I still come out of it feeling like everything is just wrong.
We have this cat we adopted when she was around 10ish from a no-kill shelter. I nicknamed her the Queen. She is a bossy old lady who lives to complain. She has moments of affection that are decreasing steadily as she ages. Her quarterly 2 minutes of playtime have decreased to non-existant, maybe. It's enough for her to deal with kittens and a dog. Primarily, she wants to sleep. She may cuddle a little during the day if I work from home or take a nap, but I'm pretty sure that it's only for her warmth or a nice back rest. She rarely exits our bedroom, let alone our bed. When she speaks, it's to demand food, water, or a halfway decent litter box. Sometimes she amusingly jumps in the tub.
That completely describes that cat. And I realized sometime around 3am that she loves me more than my stepkids. A pea-brained cat. She may be soft and cute, but she's still only an animal. I even rescue pets, but I am still aware that they are only animals with needs, and we are there to fulfill them. We can give them homes, care for them, and love them- and we perceive their affectionate moments as love. Which are probably only necessary signs of thank you or requests for continued petting, food, and shelter. I still love it, knowing that I am simply caring for them. I can pretend all I want that they love me back and know how much I alone mean to them. Ha. Yeah. My mom would spoil them more than I ever would.
A coworker told me about how she owned a dog with her family for years. They went on one single trip for only 2 weeks and the dog stayed with her mother-in-law. When they returned, the dog hated returning home and decided it wanted to be with grandma from then on.
Again, I'm talking about animals here. They may miss us, but we're not talking about destiny or soul mates. They are animals.
But when the Queen, after only a long weekend of being gone, climbed up on top of my husband and I last night and wouldn't leave, and then hooked herself to me the rest of the morning... I realized she loves me more than my stepkids do. This cat has shown me repeatedly she has no need for me other than to fulfill her demands, but for one of the only times, she showed us that she missed us and was glad we were back. I couldn't believe it!
I'm sure you're thinking that stepkids are the same- They act cold and just needy but they do love you and just are bad at showing it.
My reasoning is more along these lines- This cat pretty much knows she doesn't need me, especially not me in particular. I don't know why she missed us so much and was so overly affectionate last night. It will disappear today, and in the meantime I will know that she is not betraying me daily. The affection and message from an animal last night was simple. "I missed you, and I'm glad you're back. Please let me be with you." She will go back to being demanding, but that one morning of affection still exists and doesn't go backwards.
Humans, on the other hand, can purposely not like someone, purposely hate, purposely ignore simple truths of how much a caretaker does for them. "Someday, someday- they will get it." Ask my friend who's husband has an adult child from before their marriage who only demands money. Literally. The latest was when the daughter demanded their social security numbers and other identification information to apply for college funding which she was no longer eligible for. My friend was uncomfortable with this and afraid her social security number and other information could be misused, as she doesn't even know this person. I told her about how my parents always filled my applications out for me, which meant that they could do it for her. When they requested that she simply give them HER information so that they could do it for her, she disgustingly refused and stopped talking to her father.
At least my ornery cat knows who gives her food. I'll take the pure affection of my fur-ball children.
Best Cat Mom
All My Children Have Paws