Petra’s seventh birthday was one for the books. She’d been talking about how this birthday wasn’t going to be a big deal because it was the year for *Silas* to have a party. We kind of thought she was right about that.
Life has a way of surprising us.
Petra’s been fostering kittens for about two and a half years now. Nearly a year ago, we asked her if she hoped to “foster fail” with a kitten. She said that she wasn’t ready because she knew she’d outlive any cat that we got, and she wasn’t ready to face a cat’s death yet. It kind of blew our minds that she could look at these lively, tiny balls of fluff and think about how taking on a pet’s life is also taking on its death.
We have this most recent clowder, found in a bucket of bleach water, and given Harry Potter pun names (Hairy Pawter, Draco Meowfoy, Ron Fleasely, Purrmione). They are one of the sweetest litters we’ve ever had; every single one of them is friendly and cuddly.
Recently, we read His Dark Materials to the kids. In it, the people have “daemons,” which are animals that are the embodiment of their souls. Our cat, Lyra, is named after the main character in the books. JC has always said Lyra was his daemon. One night, as we got ready for bed, Petra said, “I think Hairy might be my daemon.” I said, “Do you think you might actually want to keep that kitten?” and she nodded.
In some ways, it wasn’t a surprise. Hairy follows her around the house and cries outside her door when she goes into her room without him. He asks her for belly rubs every time she sits down. This cat has chosen her. But how amazing that she would choose him.
I played it REAL COOL. I deserve some major points for that because, I mean, look at this guy.
I said, “We’ll have to talk with the cat shelter, I don’t know if someone else already claimed him…”
But instead, what I talked to the cat shelter about was arranging to adopt that little cutie!
Petra’s birthday started out just fine, and kept getting better.
She opened presents in the morning–she was very excited to get a set of Harry Potter wands and a dragon hatchling figurine from her aunts, and a fort-building-scaffold thing from us.
That afternoon, we met up with her friend Emmy at the trampoline park. They had a good time. Petra loves Emmy, who is one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. Petra’s also finally tall enough to do nearly everything at the trampoline park, including the obstacle course and trapeze. One bonus to being homeschoolers–we had the place nearly to ourselves on a Tuesday afternoon.
After everyone had bounced their wiggles out, I took them next door for some ice cream.
I told Petra we needed to stop by Cat’s Cradle on the way home to pick something up. We have to go over there frequently to pick up or drop off things, so the kids didn’t think anything of it. Silas (who didn’t know what was going on) asked Emmy if she wanted to come inside and see the kitties.
The folks at Cat’s Cradle helped us out a bunch. JC had dropped Hairy off there on his way to work. They kept him for a few hours and told me where he was without tipping off Petra. When I came out with him hidden in a big gift bag, they followed me, wearing “Happy Birthday” crowns.
Petra didn’t seem to realize what was going on. Later she told me that she didn’t realize it was Hairy in the bag. And then she thought it was a joke. Once she realized that this was the real deal, her smile was the purest thing I’ve ever seen. She was nearly crying with joy.
JC videoed the whole thing…
Petra is thrilled and she’s been telling everyone. She said, “This is the best birthday I’ve ever had so far!” As for Hairy, I can’t imagine how this is possible, but we think he knows. He’s walking around like he owns the place, showing off his bow tie collar, attempting to make friends with Lyra. It’s the craziest thing.
Her seventh birthday, it turns out, was pretty unforgettable.