Today, I found this bounty in Tesla's backback (of course, she forgot to mention it to me; luckily I fished it out in time for dinner).
This is from the school garden (they have two), and they are introducing edible flowers now. I love Rosa Parks Elementary school. It didn't hit me until recently that with the age difference between Tesla and Aila, we will be spending a decade involved with this school. And I'm quite ok with that.
I had to put Wakame to down a little over a week ago. I still look for her when I go to our bedroom, or when I come home from work. I still have an urge to make sure her water bowl is clean and full, and my eyes automatically go to where her insulin and needles are for the daily routine I’ve been doing.
She had been getting sicker over the past 6 months so I knew it was coming, and had even made arrangements to put her down twice before that were false alarms. When her brother Katsuo started having heart issues when I was pregnant with Aila, it was clear I needed to put him down, even though it was very hard. Wakame’s time, however, was less clear since her decline was gradual, and had ups and downs. I debated up to the last hour. Even though my feelings were totally against it, I forced myself to understand it was time, and that prolonging it would risk her really suffering.
Pets are awesome, but the end sucks. Especially since Wakame and Katsuo were my cats alone, and making the final decision had to be 100% mine.
And now it’s the end of an era. I got Wakame and Katsuo at the San Diego SPCA when I was in grad school. I’d only experienced dog pets up to then, but the apartment I was in only allowed cats, so I got cats. I expected to get only one, but Wakame and Katsuo were glued together. Wakame, clearly the scrawny runt of the litter, stuck close to her big strong brother.
They were incredibly fearful when I got them, and it took months to gain their trust. Even then, for pretty much a decade, I was the only one they warmed up to. When I had guests over, they hid in the closet, only to come out at night when I was alone. I loved the trust they gave me.
With them, I got married, quit grad school, got divorced, moved to Japan and back (with them), married Dav, and had 2 kids (Kats never met Aila, but she was in utero). These cats were part of a huge chunk of my life when I went through transitions. They were my cats, and I knew I’d care for them until the end.
Wakame was challenging in old age. She really was a whining grumpy lady. She was diabetic and required shots twice a day. At some point, I decided to do no additional tests and medication other than insulin. Near the end, she had some bodily function issues, so I was constantly cleaning up after her. But it was all worth it. I think she knew it was near the end, and I felt particularly close to her.
Since her decline was gradual, I had time to really appreciate our bond. When we rented a house in Sonoma one weekend, I brought her and documented her enjoying the grass (she’d been an indoor cat for years at this point). In spite her grumpiness and other issues, I let her sleep in bed and snuggle up in her favorite spot. She seemed to appreciate it.
The hardest part was making that call to the vet to arrange for the appointment Friday morning. I held her all morning. My friend Lorene came with me, which was incredibly helpful. At the office, the vet gave me all the time I needed, then took her to get sedated. Wrapped in a blanket, back in my arms, I felt she was already semi-gone with the sedation, but I cherished holding her. It’s weird with the final medication. There was no demarcation between alive and dead; just life energy goes. It was the same with Katsuo. Eyes stayed open, and I couldn't tell until the vet told me she was gone. I held her with all my love, and snipped hair to keep.
I am aware that not everyone would love a cat the way I did. And I’m a bit self-conscious about my emotions, but I did truly love my kitties, and am grateful for them sticking with me. I could go on and on with neat little stories about how our bond was evident. And kudos to Dav, for accommodating my cats. From Day 1, he knew I came with 2 cats, no discussion. Even when Kats peed on his jacket multiple times when we first met (jealously?), or when my cats kept me put when we imagined adventures like sailing for a year, he understood my cats were non-negotiable.
Now they are both gone. Although such a difficult experience, it is a good experience to hold life, then death in your arms. It’s something we all have to face. Makes me appreciate the time I have with family and friends.
Interpretive dancing at its best!
Yeah, she's inspired by Tesla's princess gloves, but I'm still kinda amazed. : )
Every Tuesday, I take Aila with me when I take Tesla & Nora to school. Aila loves this. She tries the morning rajio taiso (morning calisthenics) with everyone (video). She is so happy to be part of Tesla's routine. Sometimes she joins on Friday when I volunteer in the morning, and she sits and waits, happy at a "desk."
Here they are, Tesla guiding her little sister into school. By now, everyone knows Aila. Even the Principal enjoys her when she explores the hallway.
Rosa Parks has 2 gardens, one each classroom has a spot in, the other more general, used for Salad Days where kids eat veges from the garden. Along with their chickens, I just love this part of Rosa Parks.
Today, Tesla was excited to show me her carrot. Sometimes updates from Tesla aren't clear, but it sounded like there was a leftover basket of carrots, and the kids got to choose. With an assortment of carrot colors, T chose white.
Initially, she got confused when telling me, and said she got a daikon radish. But it's a carrot. After chomping on it, she then shared with us at dinner.
A parent from T's class notified us that the best low tide until December would be today at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, meaning it was a great time to check out star fish, sea snails, sea lions, and urchins. Apparently there is an elusive red octopus, that T really, really wanted to see, but to no avail. We did spot tiny shark-like fishies.
For me, it was just a beautiful day to be out at an amazing beach, barely 30 minutes from our doorstep. What an incredible area we live in.
I kept Aila on my back the whole time as it was a bit treacherous. T did great. Was fun to meet up with a few Rosa Parks classmates on the weekend too.
↓ Tesla exploring.
Oh, I love sea urchins ; )
Aila on my back. Holding Marida from Brave the whole time. (Pic courtesy of T.)
From our bookshelf in the hallway, Aila picked out a dusty book from my grad school days - Race and Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. It's not your typical bedtime story.
But Aila insisted on reading. We learned a new word, "mandy pants."