Home is Everything–

Yesterday late in the day, we arrived in the car and momentarily waited on the driveway for the garage door to open, then after driving the car into the garage, I opened the door to alight and get Sousé out of the back seat.  Quickly, we made it up the ramp to the laundry room door, the door I looked forward to seeing for the past weeks and smiled because Sousé wiggled anxiously and gave me his gruntled meow to let me know of his impatience.  Stepping into the laundry room we both exhaled a giant sigh–we were home!!   As we moved into the family room, Sousé  meowed, “Migraults!”  Knowing better not to tarry,  I quickly set him down.   He raced at full  seal point speed to cross the family room and reach the kitchen, recognizing the track changed  from carpeting to slick tile and he knew he was in the last stretch.   As Sousé entered the kitchen I paused to make a clumsy, pirouette and before me the wall of glass continued to fuel my serenity through the windows prisms  highlighting the primary colored pillows in the room, the colors that my Mother chose to use to make the room as bright and cheerful as possible following her stroke.

Sousé beat me to the far side of the kitchen and sought to find his feeding and water station.  Immediately, a loud call from the master sounded……..this time  a demanding meowed,  “MiNukNot”, which means for me to get down to business.  I quickly get him water, not in his water bowl, but another  and ask that he be patient because the cat food is in the car.  “MarRook,” he answers and I know he has given me limited time to provide him with dinner.  If I am not back before his time clock strikes,  I know he will tell me he has been waiting long enough for dinner!!

Yes, the little demon was so good in the car (well as good as good can be after he let a little warm drizzle flow while sitting on M’s lap)  and waited the last hour without food when I told him he would eat at home and not in the car.  As I set the food on the floor, he pushed my hand away and gives me a quick “Guark”, the meow which tells me  thank-you.   His simple response makes me  realize our little cat is as happy as I am to be back in our home, his house, my house,!!

Darkness arrives soon after and reminds me how tired I am.   One stair at a time will bring  me to the second floor and as I climb the stairs I peer down to look where my Mother should have been.  Instead, I see Sousé curled up, with nose under paw, on his love seat  sleeping.  I bid Momma Good Night and touch my lips to throw a kiss and then continue on to bed.  Hastily, I ready the bed and myself to jump in side.  As I fall asleep, burrowed deeply under the covers,  I think about “Home” and its relationship to humans and pets.

Home is where I belong, where Sousé belongs.  It gives me my identity, a locus of security and a point of centering in our world.  Home is where I can kick off my shoes, fall on one of the sofas to rest and ignore the doorbell if I wish.   This place of “home”  surrounds me with memories, freedom, levels of thought and an environment of safety.  It is the place that is born of family traditions, of gaiety and sadness, of humor and bittersweet moments.

When I think of it those elements are much the same for Sousé.  It is the place he feels the most secure, has his secret hiding places in all the rooms and a stairwell to race up and then down or sit on the balcony and call till I look at him!

Home brings our special likes to mind and often makes us want them again.  Home is my Mother’s ravioli, gnocchi and sauce.  It is her smile and outstretched arms.  It is my understanding  of my Mother’s faith in her God and acceptance and curiousity in M’s Jewishness.  It is my creativity in unique entertaining that one day you may enjoy and it is my thoughts that you feel when you look at the art on the walls.

Home is the essence of Spring and Summer as you walk through my roses, bend to take a whiff and have a thorn catch you by surprise and so you continue on to an array of wild lilies, miniature apple trees, fresh strawberries, a peach tree and a changing carpet of colors from all the rest of the flowers.  It is also to walk the weaving fence of willow and feel their wispy branches move in the breeze and understand the sound you hear is their spirit speaking to you.

Home is everything I want and provides everything Sousé needs!
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A Gift Now Treasured

From the time that I was a small child my father represented a distant figure, only moving closer when he thought he wanted my sister and me to do as he declared which, left us without options, unless we wanted to see his wrath. All too often, we walked on tender eggshells making sure we did nothing to disrupt the peace of the day, thus leaving our childhood at the door and becoming something akin to a Stepford sons or daughters. Later, after I left home, he seemed to worsen at times–his gruff appraisals and rough demands would often make my sister and I happy to leave; or at worst never wanting to return. As the years multiplied we noticed slightly more quieter times were evolving until during the last year of his life most of the gruff exterior disintegrated and he became less distant; yet I always felt somewhere deep inside of him there were many conflicting stories.

My mother, on the other hand, is gentler, if not almost suffocating in her need to extend protection and love, while also being too sensitive, too delicate, and too needy. I often compared her to a Mother robin fussing over her young, feeding, protecting and nurturing, but not wanting to let go. Even though Momma is fragile and psychologically needy, she has always had the mental strength to endure.  I remember the night, when I was very small and very frightened, she held me during a thunderstorm, telling me of all its wonders, while all the time being unbelievably frightened.

Many years have passed since I lived in their house and during those years, I had often thought of the two of them as one gruff, stern and distant, the other gentle, needy, and fragile. Both continually appeared to control my sister and I, yet, I used to question why had I been able choose the direction for my life and leave the coddled and controlled nest so easily? Why had they never stopped me from going in any particular direction and how could they support all my decisions? Why was I never guilty about leaving them all alone on the farm so many years ago? Moreover, what was it that gave me the strong sense of curiosity that I have always had; curiosity–the one important ingredient you need if you want to succeed in unknown ground?

Much later in my life, I carefully studied their actions during my childhood, adolescence, and teen years and I realized my father’s distant wrath was rage at his domineering mother, while my mother’s sensitive fragility in motion was set in motion by a Mother who was very selfish and doled love out only when she received something. Each lived within the shadow of strong parental prisons, and somehow broke partially free to become determined that their children would not experience the same suffocation as they had. Their control was merely a facade, an outward cover they had to develop to cope with their early lives, a facade not easily broken without professional help.

Deeply seated within each of them was a burning desire to ensure that their children had the freedom to choose their own destiny. Our parents gave us the basic values of good, the tragedies of evil, and the cognitive tools for evaluating and determining our own lives. Possibly these values and abilities were given to us in daily lessons we received from them. Maybe the discomfort and frustration we felt was necessary to understand. Although, and more importantly, my sister and I received an unspoken spirit tenderly placed in our hearts- -our freedom.