Our Cat Died

Aden is 9 years old.

Her elementary school principal has lovely handwriting.

I would know, because I get letters beautifully addressed “To the Parents of Aden.”

My pretty little angel follows all the school rules and behaves perfectly.  Whenever she feels like it.

All the rest of the time, her behavior’s in the crapper.

This month’s hand-written reports:

  • hitting
  • biting
  • kicking

Additionally, she urinated all over her top bunk mattress.  More than lots of times.  And, no — not accidentally or while she was sleeping.  While she was awake and playing.

Additionally additionally, she had to be hugged (read: restrained) during children’s church.

Aw.  Doesn’t it make your heart feel all gushy and squishy?

Yes.  Mine, too.

Then, this week, we had great news.

Aden’s been cooperating again at school.  Yay!

Her reading abruptly and dramatically improved all the way up to grade level.  To grade level, ladies and gentlemen!  For one of my developmentally delayed kids, that’s practically a miracle.

What a relief, to be able to praise, and praise, and praise her.

She ran off the bus exclaiming, “I got caught being good, Mom!” and “I only got sent to the office two times today!”

Dare I say, we’ve turned the corner?  That we’re on the track back to — well, if not to socially appropriate behavior, then at least off the track to suspension?

I need a freaking giant piece of wood to knock on, please.

So imagine my dismay when Aden hopped off the bus yesterday crying.  Emotionally shattered.  Face wet with tears and snot.

While out loud I was saying, “Whatsa matter, baby?,” on the inside I was thinking, “Oh, crap.” Except I didn’t think the word crap.

And as I was reaching for her backpack, looking for another envelope with beautiful handwriting, Aden managed to murmur, “I’m sad.”

“About what, sweetie?”  All the while thinking, “Did someone finally hit her back?  Don’t tell her she had it coming.  Don’t tell her she had it coming. That wouldn’t be nice. Don’t tell her she had it coming.”

“Because,” she hiccuped, “because…” big breath, “because our cat DIED.”

Oh.  Of course!

How terribly, horribly insensitive of me.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself.

When a child’s pet dies, the parent really should consider the grief impact on a child.  The parent shouldn’t dismiss it as paltry or small.  The parent should understand that the child has a bond with the pet and is going to need time to process and come to terms with its absence.

Because our cat did die.

Four years ago.

Yes, that’s right.  Can I just say it again?

Four years ago.

Of extreme old age, and, ironically, because I couldn’t take the cat peeing all over our stuff anymore.  I probably shouldn’t tell Aden about the pee part, eh?

To clarify, “Aden, you’re upset because our cat died?”

“YEeehhhs!” she wailed.

“Okaaay.  What was our cat’s name?”

“His name was Andy, and I miss him so, so, so, so MUCH!”

Our cat’s name was Annie, and she was a girl.

The End

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
8 comments
  1. […] told you about how we were turning a corner with my biting, kicking, hitting […]

  2. Miss Aden’s pretty fabulous. And I mean that in all sincerity, despite…

    Just wait. Just wait for the update. It’s going to be… well, I can’t say “amazing” because I haven’t written it yet, so it could be crappola… but interesting for sure. I think I can promise interesting. What a Friday.

  3. awww…that’s sweet! you’ve got a tender hearted little girl.

  4. i seriously love that girl!

  5. K is it weird that I read “Her head-butting abruptly and dramatically improved all the way up to grade level.” Was wondering what lexactly that level would be and if my 9 almost 10 year old was at head-butting grade level when of course i began to giggle as I re-read the sentence.

    1. Bahahahaha!

      The last things Aden needs if for her head-butting to abruptly and dramatically improve.

      Thanks for the laugh. I needed it… ’cause stay tuned in the next few days for an Aden update. That piece of wood I was supposed to knock on? It didn’t get knocked. @#$%^!

  6. Now that is funny! You have one smart little girl. Bet you can’t wait until she’s 16.

    1. My biggest fear, Laurel! 16-year-old Aden. And what am I going to do about posting stories once she can read all this?

      Great to hear from you!

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