Sunday, January 13, 2013


The semester that I did my student teaching I moved back in with my parents. At the time, there was an old wooden shed behind their house where they stored Christmas decorations and tools and craft projects my brothers and I made in elementary school. One day, Dad came in from the shed and said, "There are kittens in the shed!"

I excitedly went to ooh and aww at the squirmy rat-looking creatures with the eyes scrunched tight. Days old, if that. No mama cat to be seen, but we assumed she was close by and let them be. We lined a box with some cloth and sat it in the shed along with a bowl of water. The next day, we checked and the little ones had been moved to the box, but no sign of the mom at that moment. Long story short: eventually the kittens had all been moved but one remained, mewing and making teeny tiny little crawls around the box.

We left him alone for a bit to see if mama cat would come back for him, but she didn't, and despite my father's protest I scooped him up into a little box and drove straight to a pet store and had them tell me everything I needed to know about a weeks-old kitten. (My mother was on my side and cheered the rescue along!) I had to be at student teaching the next day, but Dad took him into the vet where they discovered he had a small infection and weighed a grand total of 8 oz. They said the sickness was probably why he had been abandoned, but a quick dose of human veterinary medicine cleared that up and he was good to go.

For the next few weeks there were bottles and 2 a.m. feedings. I dropped him off at kitty daycare on my way to teaching and picked him up at the end of the day and practically had to pry the cute little ball of fur out of the hands of the vet techs who had fought over his bottle feedings all day.

I was told that when I was feeding him I would know that he was eating enough if his belly looked like a full pear. And, it did. He'd be slim and sleek before the bottle, and then after sucking it all down a round, full, warm belly. A nap was soon to follow.

A sign that he had had enough. That he had been nourished. That he was full of good things. Here, the prelude to rest.

When I looked up the synonyms of enough as I ponder the word the year, bellyful was a surprise, but certainly the most vivid one. This year there is sure to be various connotations swirling throughout my head, but I imagine this one will stand strong as I picture the kitten's greedy sucking of the bottle, the full tummy, the rest that came later. And even the human part of this picture of "enough" - my alarm clock going off far-too-often, the community-of-people that helped (pet store, the vet, my parents) to provide the "bellyful" to this little, seemingly inconsequential, kitten.

So much goes into, comes from, enough.


  1. Not the point, I realize, but... Was that Wilbur (I think that was your older cat's name)?

  2. smiling and remembering the pic of your dad giving him one of those feedings :-)