It’s two years today since a lot of stuff happened around here, but perhaps the best way to mark the occasion would be to celebrate Obi Day. Two years ago today, we adopted a fluffy little kitty guy who had been hanging out in our yard for about 48 hours or so. Unlike a lot of other stray kitties who had come and gone over the years, Oberon was laid back enough to pass muster with Othello…and of course, it didn’t take much for Olivia to decide he was a new friend. I’m going to hazard a guess that there are probably all of two months’ difference in Oberon and Olivia’s age. The rest litmus test, though, was always getting Othello’s approval. That was a rare and precious thing. Othello had readily accepted Olivia earlier that year, but she was a tiny kitten and it was pretty easy for him to establish dominance there; Oberon was bigger than Olivia and – more importantly – male, but Oberon never made an attempt to be the alpha male of the house. Even when challenged, he was laid back – he’d give ground. I’m sure that appealed to Othello in his old age. Obi had permission to stay.
There were a few other things that happened a couple of years ago today, too. This was also the day that my horse drowned (and I had a good go at getting myself killed trying to save her). That was a key event in Oberon’s story. We might have taken him in and then taken him to the animal shelter otherwise, not worrying about whether or not he’d get along with our two cats; so many cats have stayed a night or two here, like a safe house before going to the humane society, that we probably wouldn’t have hesitated to send him on his way. Except that I had a gaping hole in my heart and was wanting to feel like I could do right by some kind of four-legged critter that day.
It’s also pretty much certain that this was also the day that we created a certain little guy who now toodles around the house with Oberon all the time. Exactly nine months – to the day – after that day, Evan arrived. Lucky for him, we already had a cat ready for him. Or is it the other way around? Did we make an extra person just for Oberon?
I still fiercely miss my horse, and in each of the two years that have passed since she left us, we’ve lost another one of our horses; we only have one left and I’ve been making noises about getting her out of the country next year before it’s her turn. I’m only half joking there too. It’s been painful to lose all of them.
I wonder sometimes about that day – December 19, 2006 – and how many things went on in the space of about 12 hours that turned everything upside down for us. It was also the day that my wife and I had a discussion that ended in an agreement that I would give my notice at the station the next day and fly solo. That decision was made before we knew we were expecting, and I almost can’t wrap my head around how things might’ve turned out if I was still working at the station when the news hit us. Would I still be a stay-at-home dad? Or would I still be working insanely long overnight hours and almost never seeing my son? Who would be taking care of him? I can’t even begin to imagine the answer to that last question. Basically, for us, December 19th, 2006 was one of those days that stands out as a dividing line: there was the time before that day, when we had all of our horses, two cats, two incomes and not a care in the world, and then there has been every day since, with fewer horses, three cats (though now back down to two), one income, and a child on the scene.
And in the middle between those two eras? That one day. Obi Day. Little did we know it, but he was the messenger: everything we knew was about to change radically. It was a message he delivered with purrs and grateful cuddles. If he ever doubts how much a part of the family he is now, all he has to do is pull one of his run-out-the-door disappearing acts and watch us all turn to gibbering emotional train wrecks waiting for him to return.
After all, we’re awfully fond of our messenger – and most of the changes he’s brought with him.