Kitten Watch Update: June 26

I finally introduced a very special guest to the babies. My golden retriever, Zoey. She is a very, very good girl. Still as a statue so she won’t scare anyone. (The labradoodle, on the other hand, will not be meeting the kittens because he thinks they’re snacks.)

Little Miss Mary is continuing to grow despite the odds. I took her this week when the L kittens got their vaccines. I wanted the shelter folks to see her naked belly & sparse fur, her bloated torso & skinny face, & tell me—one more time—she’s OK. That energy and tiny gains are enough. And that’s what they said. But they also said she’s SO underdeveloped compared to the Bigs. Premature, they think. She wasn’t quite ready for this world so she’s playing catch-up. Always catch-up. And I thought, “Isn’t that all of us?” Not quite ready for this world? Always playing catch-up?

Yesterday was rough. Not for Mary. For me. My kid’s wedding was amazing—fun & communal. My meds were on track, my mood was light. I PEOPLED, and I liked it. And yes, it was exhausting, as it is for the Introverts & the Mentally Wonky, but I was grateful. And then I waited for the Aftermath. The Sledge Hammer that follows great bursts of energy. But it didn’t come. Monday I was tired. Tuesday I was fine. Wednesday came. Thursday. All good. And then BOOM. Crash. Hit by the Panic Train. Shallow breathing. Rapid heartbeat. And my favorite bit—The Certainty Everyone I Love Will Die. My 14yo twins hung out with friends—I was sure they would die. Abby drove home from work—I was sure she would die. I suddenly realized I can’t actually leave the kittens in the care of my adult son for 3 days next week BECAUSE MARY WILL SURELY DIE.

Lord, friends. LORD. Bless my darling brain. Bless it to the moon and back. Bless.

So I did what I’ve learned to do when my brain breaks. I tell it to shush. I tell it it’s OK to be afraid, but I’m not necessarily going to believe what it says. I make no decisions while it’s dark. I put myself to bed. I tell myself tomorrow is soon enough to Lock Everyone I Love Inside My House and Cancel All Future Plans. But not yet. Not until the brain has slept. Not until it has a chance to get ready for the world. Not until it has a shot at playing catch-up. And today? Today is a little better.

Today is a little better, and that’s really all I can ask. For Mary. For me. We’re not always ready for this world. That’s OK. We’re not always ready, and sometimes we’re playing catch-up. So in case you’re in our boat—Mary’s and mine—I want you to know you’re not alone. We’re going to chug along together.

Our Lady Jane is tiny like her sister Mary, but not QUITE so tiny. And not quite so hairless. And not quite so wide-eyed. She’s still too small for her 4-week vaccinations, but she’s on the Weight Gain Train. Since I featured sweet baby Mary earlier, I wanted to update you on Janey, too. The weed sisters are coming along, and I only fret about them forty-hundred times/day. It’s FINE. We’re fine. But sometimes we snuggle and listen to each other breathe just to remind ourselves we’re OK.

Zoey the Golden Retriever and Quasar the Giant Godzilla kitten are striking up a sweet friendship, and it’s everything my heart needs rn.

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