About a year ago, my outdoor tabby disappeared rather mysteriously. I asked one pair of my older neighbors yelling driveway to driveway if he’d seen her, he said no… then I knocked on the door of the other. When I asked the round, old man about my cat, his wife chimed from their kitchen table, “No, and my squirrels are sure happy!”
I recalled the day that the vermin truck pulled up outside a few weeks back and removed what looked like a squirrel from under their deck, and this wasn’t the first time. I’d seen Ruby tango with many a squirrel, each of them losing to her after a vicious battle. I don’t view squirrels as cute little critters that you want to cuddle with and become life-long pals. I see them as the destructive rats with fluffy tails that they are. They have destroyed the netting surrounding our trampoline. The cushions in outdoor furniture. The screens. The electricity line from my house to the pole. But my sixty something neighbor across the street? She feeds them.
Don’t get me wrong, they are entitled to their quality of life, and if Ruby was impeding on that right – then as her owner I am obligated to abate that nuisance. The problem, is that the grumpy old man didn’t give me a chance to do that. I could have re-homed her very easily and she would loved my parents house. Instead of growing to the ripe old age she should have, her life was very likely ended traumatically and unfairly. And I am to blame.
I’ve spent the last couple of days outside trying to give our front yard a bit of a facelift (a repurposed one of course, because I hate buying material if I can help it) and I’ve found myself missing her a lot. My eyes wander to the spots where she used to lay, and I find myself getting angry again. Anger is a strange emotion for me, because it can spawn into different shapes and manifestations… some quickly, and some sort of evolve over time. When I work in my yard, I become angry – because I miss my cat, and therefore do not want to work in the yard (that and it’s 100 degrees). Today, I was not angry and I’m trying to figure out if I’ve possibly allowed myself to forgive myself… or them? No (I think aloud), not them… otherwise I wouldn’t smile at the thought of them watching me shoot squirrels from my front porch. So, I let my mind wander to my weekend and what could have brought on this change of heart.
On Friday, we started the day correctly – with love and light (more on this to come, I think I finally “get it”) from people I care about. But I was a slave to my job the entire time I was off, partly from my own doing. I feel like I should be available when people need me, as it’s the only way to build a solid client base. But at the same time, if I can’t shut it off – then I am no good to those I am supposed to be spending time with because I am consumed with work. So I told myself, “The job does not make the man.” My children were patient, though visibly annoyed so I decided to take them to a movie, and promised not to look at my phone the entire time. I chose Eat, Pray, Love – and told my kids that I had heard that the novel was really thoughtful and that the movie, while not as good as the novel, was uplifting and profound in a number of scenes. It was.
One of the things that stuck with me from the film, was the “God” part, and the trip to India. There were more than one aspects of this section of the story that has put me in a bit of a trance and possibly firing up a dormant part of my brain that might lead to some very noticeable growth, and I’ll start with “Selfless Acts”. Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer that takes off for a year after a painful divorce and travels to Italy, India, then Indonesia. You have to like Julia Roberts to see this film… she’s in every frame. She’s not my favorite, but I think she is a passionate actor and I love the way she laughs. Sincere laughter is hard to find… so, I don’t mind her. Anyway, when she gets to India, she is told to change in to work clothes so that she can do her selfless acts, and that they are required from everyone who stays there. What a rudimentary concept of life that has been forgotten! I recalled the years of struggle I’ve had to get the older kids to chip in and do their fair share around the house, and rearranging this principle in every form possible. Then it hit me…why aren’t the people in my house being taught to perform selfless acts on a daily basis, and why has such a simple concept been so hard for me to find? Who knows what kind of parent I might be if I could snap out of this full-time career-mom, no time for anything enriching, sort of spell that has been cast upon me.