Every year at this time I re-run my post, The Cat Who Came Back Home For Christmas. I am a big believer in the spirit of Christmas Eve. Reach out, help each other so this world is a better place for our children . . .
By Catherine Hughes on Dec 21, 2007 in Pets 101
Christmas Eve, the glorious night when Santa flashes across the night sky, children lay restless in their beds and parents spend the last waking hours wrapping, preparing, building and swearing.
And a time when wishes can come true.
In the year 2000, my son Brian and I moved out of our country home and into a tiny condo. The move was last minute, because dwellings were in high demand due to the Telecom boom in Sonoma County California. To ease the adjustment from country cats to city cats, I left Brian’s kitties for the last thing to move.
However, (the best laid plans of mice and men . . . ) in my delay to return to the house, the cats vanished. All the here kitty, kitty calls went unanswered. It was almost as if the cats never existed.
Brian was five – old enough to ask the difficult questions we parents wish children wouldn’t ask.
“Where is Annabelle? … Why did she leave? … Did someone take her? … Doesn’t she love us anymore? … Is she dead? … What about Black Kitty?”
And every time the weather turned bad I would hear, “Do you think our kitties are cold? … Are they homeless? … Do you think they are starving? … Do you think they hate us for leaving them?”
Over the next two years, I returned many times to our old country home. I’d stand in the field and call the kitties names without response. I’d check all the shelters and the paper. The cats are never there. Two years pass without a word about our missing kitties. I gave up all hope of ever seeing them again.
Enter Christmas 2002.
The 2002 year was a difficult one for Brian. It was a year filled with many unhappy adjustments to situations and personal disappointments. Rolling into Christmas Eve he still didn’t seem his usual happy Brian-self. I said a short silent prayer to God and knelt in front of Brian.
“Do you know what day this is boobello?”
“Yes. It’s the night that Santa comes.”
“That’s right. But it is also the night that special wishes come true.”
“Yes, and I have a special wish, but I need your help.”
“I want to wish that we find our lost kitties tonight, on Christmas Eve. Let’s close our eyes and think really hard and make a wish that our kitties come home.”
Brian stands up in a flash, ready to try anything to get his kitties back. He squeezes his eyes so tight that I think they might disappear forever. I pray that God will forget my transgressions and bless this great kid with a miracle.
When Brian opens his eyes we gather our coats and get into the car.
“Will this really work Mom?” He asks in that tone of a child who has lost the hope and magic of Christmas.
“Of course it will,” I answer as my throat goes dry. I silently tell myself that God will not let this great little boy down on Christmas over this small request. Something in my gut tells me it will be fine.
We drive over to our old house. The sun is just beginning to set, and all the Christmas lights are starting to come alive. The country is beautiful, like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
We get out of the car and walk right out into our old field. We hold hands as I instruct Brian to wait a minute before we began calling for the cats, so the Christmas eve magic has a chance to work. We take a deep breath and call to our kitties.
We call a second time.
The silence tares at my soul.
Brian looks up at me with that face which says: See! Christmas doesn’t love us after all!
Just at that moment I hear a faint meow. The meow is so faint that I almost think I am loosing my mind (this happens often to me). I call out to the cats again, and this time Brian hears a meow too.
“Mom? Did you hear that?”
We walk quickly forward through the tall grass now yelling their names. The meow now approaches us, as if answering “I’m coming! I’m coming!”
Out from behind a tree appears a very skinny, much older Annabelle – Brian’s favorite kitty. I stand frozen, as I am sure she can’t be real. Brian screams and starts umping up and down,
“It’s our Annabelle! It’s our Annabelle!”
I walk up to Annabelle, bend down and scoop her up. She immediately begins to purr. Her eyes look at me as if to say “I’ve been waiting – where have you been?” Brian is still jumping up and down yelling her name.
I am stunned that my plan as worked.
God lord, our wish has come true. We place our Annabelle in the car and continue to call for Black Kitty. He does not respond. Brian hardly notices, as he is too preoccupied with Annabelle. He wants to hurry and get her back to our condo.
I make a few last calls for Black Kitty before leaving to return home. Brian carries Annabelle so tightly into our home that I am afraid her head will explode. I have to nag Brian to put her down and let her explore the condo. I dig through the cupboards and find some tuna. Annabelle eats then drinks some water. She heads straight for Brian’s room – just like she often did when we were in the country. She curls up on Brian’s pillow and falls fast asleep.
“Mom” Brian whispers as he stares bright-eyed at Annabelle, “I love Christmas Eve magic.”
“Me too, son.”
It was the best Christmas.
Annabelle, our Christmas Eve kitty stayed with us until she died of old age.
Black kitty was discovered years later living with a real estate neighbor friend who adores him. Black Kitty made it clear to us that he preferred his new owners posh digs to us. Brian was OK with it – he had his Annabelle.
Brian and I still make Christmas Eve wishes.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you – may your Christmas and holiday wishes come true.
Until next time –
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