Six Years Old

Six years. Like all parents, I’m constantly surprised by the years ticking by. Ouest is a big girl. She’s tall, she’s smart, she’s sweet. At six I think she is still more innocent than any child her age I’ve ever known. Today she came up to me looking upset.

“Tango (the campground cat that has adopted us) brought us a present.”

Uh-oh. I knew where this was going.

“Oh, honey, what did she bring us?”

That was all it took. Tears started to drip down her cheeks, and she couldn’t get the words out.

Finally, “A m-m-m-mouse.”

I wrapped her up in my arms and told her that is just what cats do.

“I don’t like animals dying. I don’t like dead animals. I just don’t like it,” she sobbed.

It took a few minutes, and I had to deal with Lowe walking around the corner with the large dead mouse in a bucket, but we finally settled things down.

She’s sweet, and caring, and innocent. She’s also frustrating, and stubborn at times. But she’s not any one thing, she’s everything—she’s wonderful.

Happy birthday, Ouest.

edit: Later on in the afternoon Ali told me there was more to this story.

Ali and I both told Ouest that this is just what cats do. That they want to bring you some food because you’ve been giving them food. It’s their way of paying you back.

So Ouest goes up to the cat and says, “Thank-you for the gift, but we have plenty of rats in our pantry. You don’t need to bring us any more. Thank-you, though. Thank-you, Tango. Okay?”

For the record, we do not have rats in our pantry.

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