On Wednesday night, after I’d fed the babies and was dozing off into a dreamy sleep, one of the kitties came into the bedroom and meowed.

He meowed again. And again. And again.

“Do you think he’s hungry?” I asked Doug.

“Maybe.” He mumbled, half asleep.

I sighed. The kitty meowed again. So I threw off the covers, slipped into my slippers, and went down to the basement landing. I was not pleased: the kitty’s food bowl was half full. Annoying animal. I filled the bowl all the way full and went back to bed.

As I was once again drifting off to sleep, I heard a thump-thump-thump on the floor at the foot of the bed. The kitty was wrestling something. “Doug,” I said, “I think he has one of Jane’s shoes. She left them in here. Would you mind?”

Doug groaned. “This cat is pestlike.” But he got out of bed and grabbed the shoe.

Then he yelled and I heard the shoe thump to the floor. “Ugh! Ugh! Ew!” He jumped back onto the bed.

“What?” I sat up, wide-eyed in the dark.

“That is not a shoe.” Doug shuddered beside me. “It’s a mouse.” He shuddered again and made a grossed-out guttural noise in his throat. “I picked it up. It was still warm.”

“Ew,” I said. Then, “Is it dead?” Then, “Go wash your hands.”

It was dead. And he did wash his hands. Three times. In scalding water. With lots of soap.


On this first Friday of February I am grateful:

That I did not pick up the mouse with my bare hand.

That the kitty did not jump onto our bed with the dead mouse in his mouth.

That he did not drop the mouse on my chest.

Or my pillow. (My sister’s cat did that to her once. Ew. Ew. Ew.)

That January is over. It is, every year, the worst of months – too wet, too dark, and too long, like Narnia under the White Witch: always winter and never Christmas – and I am so grateful we have moved on to a drier, lighter, shorter month.

For antidepressants. I cannot believe how much less afraid I feel most days. (As promised, I hereby rise up and call the makers of Zoloft blessed. Three cheers for psychotropic meds!)

For sunshine.

For a walk through the neighborhood with all four of my kids.

For friends who believe in me, even when I don’t, especially when I don’t.

For my mother, who came and stayed with me for two weeks and washed every dish we dirtied and folded every piece of laundry we washed the whole time she was here.

For good books to read to my kids and to myself.

For more cherry blossoms.