Update: The cat-sitter’s mother wrote the story as she heard it.
Christmas with the family was a joyful event, just as it should be. Not entirely stress-free, of course— it never is—but enjoyable nonetheless. We traveled to be with our just engaged-to-be married daughter and her fiancé and his soon-to-be-ours-too family.
The only hitch was leaving our two young cats in a cage at the vet. We had no choice until I thought to ask our 20-year-old grandson, a sophomore at Cornell, if he’d mind them. (I deliberately mention these biographical facts.) I figured it was a win-win proposition: Brulé and Zulú could stay home, we’d save a little money and our sitter would make a tidy sum.
Well. We came home and things were not quite what we expected. I know he’s absent-minded and he has ADD like me, so he’s easily distracted, but still. No wild parties as far as I know; I did agree that he could have a friend over. I’m finding things in strange places, sometimes in far-from-optimal condition, and the litter box was not pristine by any stretch of the imagination. It’s amazing how little of what you tell a very bright young man actually sinks in.
Yet the cats survived, a little plumper than I left them, but happy to be home and no worse for the wear. The experience reminded me that teenage boys don’t grow up quite as quickly as we expect them to, even after a year and a half of college. He is a terrific kid, though, and I do love him very much.