The kidlets have not yet completely realized their pet has vanished. They’ve mentioned Mr Tree in passing conversation, alluding to his habits or, one terrifyingly close occasion, how old he will be on his next birthday.
But they’ve not asked where he is, or wondered why they have not seen him. He was an outdoor cat, an explorer– true to his name, he spent a lot of time climbing the thirty foot banksia tree in his backyard. He would pop indoors for a few minutes a day to eat or just check out the action, then retire on the lounge, exhausted from his hobby of terrorizing the native bird life for hours, when the night chill set on. More fearless feline than lazy lap cat.
|You spotted the cat… right?|
So, really, it’s logical my children wouldn’t ask, not for a while… I wonder if they know already. They just haven’t verbalized it yet, to me at least; but what they say to each other is anyone’s guess. I worry that they, like me, have just come to expect things like this to happen… that the things they love will die.
When I realised Mr Tree was missing (that worrying, spreading dawn of ‘I haven’t seen our cat for a few days…’) I made the stubborn desicion that, until I saw a fluffy orange carcass on the side of the road, I would not tell my kids that yet another one of their pets was dead.
I’ve amended that policy, in light of no carcass being found– I’ll tell them if, and when, they ask.
Is that a course of action I’d recommend…? Most certainly not. As we know, I’m a believer in telling my children the truth, or as much of it as they are capable of processing at the time. This feels weak, like a cop out… it feels like a lie.
But fuck it. The five year old in my mind is stamping her foot and simply refusing to budge on this one. And why should she? Why on earth would I want to do that, again, when three explanations is three too many for children who are still really only babies… and my babies at that?
I’m not sure how long the spirit of Mr Tree can remain in limbo like this… but, for my own peace and sanity, I’m more than willing to find out.