Everything's Coming Up Rosen

Emily’s been writing a column, essays, travel stories, profiles, features for over 20 years. Her work is available for syndication and reprint.

A CAT FOR MOTHER’S DAY

 Icons Fetishes Symbolism and Learning to Live with it

My son Chip was of the mind that a cuddly gift was Mother’s Day appropriate. Perhaps that was part of his Peter Pan affinity.  Thus, my overwhelming collection of 3 feet tall fuzzy Teddy Bears, Elephants, Snoopy Dogs  and more, in assorted pinks and grays and whites.

You might easily  conjure the picture of this 6 foot plus, very fit, rather unsentimental not-so-young man in his sixties  walking into my house with an unpackaged cuddle-creature, never a surprise and always welcomed as time went by, as an entitlement.

Granted, as my collection grew, and my acquaintanceship with children developed, I was happy to give away several of them to those little people whose smiles were rich rewards. But to be honest, I hoarded most of them, enjoying their company  and conversing with them like the friends they were to me. And what’s more, I took advantage of the tactile sensations I felt enfolding them in my arms, always a creature as I am, of the pleasure of touchy-feely-ness. And I looked forward each year to increasing my ‘family.’

But it was not to be. Closely coinciding  with Mother’s Day,last year.  Chip managed to make the purchase and presentation despite failing health.  It will soon be a one year anniversary of his untimely demise and as the painful missing-ness never leaves my heart, it rings bells throughout my being  as each “first” flips the calendar. 

But, we go about our businesses, as we must, and although dug deep into my conscious as were all of these feelings, they were not quite on the surface as I entered my local Walgreens today.  I collected my purchases and as I was about to seal the deal, my eyes wondered around the store, and I noted a pack of cuddlies.

The yearning stung deeply as a plunged knife and I swept my purchases off the counter and walked towards the animals and hung out there for a few brief minutes, hearing the sounds of Chip’s voice. “Yes, Yes” he insisted, ”I want you to have one.  Pick the little guy this time – the cat clutching his soft blankie – you need a cat.”  I didn’t know it, but I needed a soft cuddly cat who would not make a mess for which I’d be responsible.

During his hospice time, Chip had given his cat, Alvin, to his best friend, and all year, I’d been getting updates on his welfare.

And indeed, I added the cat to my purchases and the woman at the counter held it in her hand and tried to read the infinitesimal print on the tag. “A lion?” she asked, squinting .

“No, a cat,” I corrected.

“Who is it for?” I can only imagine what she had conjured up in her mind.

“Me,”

 “What’s its name?” she asked with a smiIe.

“Chip,” I said with no hesitation.  

“Nice” she said.

“Nice?” I repeated as I walked away with my package.