The first couple of days of the “mom”bbatical were difficult, I’ll admit. I’ve had “mom”cations before, but this felt completely different. I knew that in a year, my son and I would be changed by our experiences. Physically, he’ll likely look like a different kid altogether. His voice will have completely changed and I’m sure he’ll have added a few inches.
What I didn’t really think about was the impact this decision would have on the other member of the family. . .our cat, Ruby. A house guest once shared a theory with me about Ruby. She said that based on her behavior, Ruby thinks that she and I are both raising my son. . .that she’s his mom, too.
I was surprised to learn that I was in an inter-species, same-sex relationship with my cat. But, as I observed more closely, it made sense to me. Ruby would curl up beside “our” boy while he did his homework, protecting him until I came home from work. If I was out of town and my mom was staying with my son, Ruby would abandon her usual sleep spot on my bed and park herself on his as protection. And if he didn’t come home from school at the expected hour, she would show her displeasure by peeing on the couch. . .worst nightmare.
Alas, Ruby was none too pleased when Emmanuel didn’t come home those first nights. When I woke up each morning, there she was sitting on the floor in front of his door, looking up at me as if I had betrayed her. Her meow was deafening as if she was asking, “What did you do with our kid?”
It’s hard to explain to a cat the changing dynamics of family life and co-parenting. She’s since transitioned from sitting on the floor in front of his door to laying on his bed, so I’d say she’s not buying it…
For Ruby, it’s going to be a long year.