The Little Stockings
At the beginning of this week, I mentioned how we bought stockings for new family members. Now the significant others of our children are there dangling beside their partners. Well, Char also bought three tiny stockings, as well, and while the children’s names went across the top of their stockings, the abbreviation of names went across the top of the itty bitty stockings. Skim was glittered on for Skimbleshanks, Bags for Baghira and Took for, well, Took. My son had a reason for the name, something along the lines of “We took him from the pet store,” which makes him sound more like a thief than a new, legitimate pet owner. Yes, Took is a dog. The others are cats and not one of them live with me, which is why I stared at my wife like she was crazy when she wanted to buy the little stockings.
I can almost understand buying the cats something. They did live with us for the first eight years of their life, destroying my couches and bringing us squirming lizards as gifts, and Skimbleshanks was Char’s cat. Bagheera was Chris’s cat, however, and when he decided to move in with Michael, he wanted to take his cat with him. The two cats had been together since birth and we didn’t feel it was right to separate them after being together so long. We weren’t sure how either would handle being suddenly alone, even though I doubted Bagheera would even notice that he was in a different abode. It was decided that both cats would go with Chris and we were suddenly pet-less and almost childless. The search for new furniture was soon underway.
Took, however, has never lived under my roof. Nathan and Christina bought him soon after they were married, probably as a deterrent to having children right away. I should have thought about that way back when. Now, don’t misread me. I love the little dog, mainly because he can visit, I can play with him, and then send him home. He is cute and I gladly babysit whenever they ask. I’ll sit on the porch and watch him bounce up and down, whining to get inside, while Teri shakes her head saying, “No frigging way.” I don’t even mind buying him a little chew toy and having a doggie toy box right next to the 8-year old’s toy box. But a stocking? Isn’t that the job of my son? Chris should be purchasing stockings for the cats and Nathan for the little terrier. The boys are the ones who should be hanging them from nails in their walls, not mine. They should be the ones hoping Santa fills them with catnip and Kibbles and Bits. Not me. I’ve paid my dues. Done my time.
I’m afraid this is setting a bad precedent. When the two legged grandkids finally arrive, am I to buy them stockings, as well? I mean, are they going to be devastated when they see their family pet has a stocking at my house and they don’t? It could be a traumatic experience.
“Grandpa loves Took more than me!”
“It’s your grandmother’s fault! I didn’t want to buy one for any of you.”
The idea had always been that the kids grew up, married and moved out. Not necessarily in that order, of course. Well, hopefully, they grow up first. With Zac, there’s some doubt, however. The key word here is “out.” Once they are out of the house it’s supposed to get easier, cheaper. The girls and I can sleep in and enjoy a leisurely pace on Christmas morning. Yet, now Santa is coming to pets that don’t live here! I’m thinking of putting a sign on the roof for the jolly old man that reads, “No Kids Here,” but then he would skip my stocking, so I can’t do that.
I get it. Pets are family. My mother often said she loved her pets more than her kids and I believed her. The dogs didn’t have to eat her gravy. Those four-legged munchkins need Christmas just as much as the two-legged ones. We always had something for the animals Christmas morning, usually catnip for the felines and bacon treats for the dogs, as a reward for not peeing on the tree. That’s probably why I get toys in my stocking, as well. One of our dogs even had a Christmas sweater that looked better than mine. Yet, those pets lived here! I can see us now dropping Santa goodie bags off behind the local grocery store for orphaned pets who hang around the dumpsters. My life isn’t getting easier; it’s getting more entailed.
Still, they deserve it. The pets that is; not the kids. When no one else understands us, the loyal, furry friend places their wet nose on our knee, looks up at us with those marble black eyes and says, “Screw those suckers. I love you.” And that’s worth all the squeaky toys in the world.
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