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The Kittens Are Here!

In the wee hours of the morning on Friday April 15 Sharif and I woke up to a sound that was completely out of place. The tiniest meow broke through the silence of the night, informing us that our cat, Grey, was finally giving birth to her kittens.

We had been on kitten watch since the beginning of the month (note to self, write down heat dates) so we expected kittens, we just didn't know when. I was recovering from a stomach bug that had taken me down all day Thursday so I hadn't been paying as much attention to her as usual before bed that night.

With that first tiny meow we both sat upright to see where she was. Thankfully we keep a flashlight close at hand, but we didn't have to look far to find her. Right between our feet at the foot of our bed we saw the source of the sound; a sweet little orange kitten was wriggling around trying to nurse and protesting loudly that his mama was not laying down and allowing it. Grey had gotten straight to work cleaning and drying him off. Of course I struggled to fall back to sleep, but the sickness from the day before had worn me out and eventually I was able to settle back down.

About an hour later I woke again to check on her. She had given birth to another one while we slept; a beautiful grey bundle squirmed around beside her brother. Grey was licking her babies, and as I watched she gave birth to her third kitten. Seeing that little face, still encapsulated in its amniotic sac was a magical experience. It lay there, motionless as Grey began to clean away the membrane from its face, and then it gasped its first breath of air. Right there, nestled into our bed, I watched that kitten take its first breath. It was such a special moment. I watched for a bit as she cleaned the kitten up and it started to move it toward her to eat along with its siblings. Grey laid back and I assumed that she was finished, so I lay down and went back to sleep.

Sharif wakes for work at around 4:15 in the morning. On that Friday morning when he got out of bed he woke me to show me that there was another baby born. It was brand new, still wet, and it appeared that it was black. We had both hoped for a black kitten as we have two black cats that we adore. As Sharif left for work, I lay back to go to sleep with thoughts of a black kitten in my mind.

I woke for the day at around 5:30 and when I checked on Grey and her kittens I could see that there was an orange kitten that was still damp, but it didn't seem to be moving. Up to this point I had not touched any of the kittens, but intuition told me that I needed to feel it. The kitten was cold, and clearly lifeless. As I moved it Grey tried to pull it back into her, she was licking it and nuzzling at it to no avail. I sat with her for a few minutes, talking to her as I prepared myself to move her kitten away from her. Once I took it I could see that it was much smaller than the rest of kittens and was not fully developed. We buried it in our pet cemetery once the kids woke.

The "black kitten" ended up being a beautiful dark grey, and with that she was done. We moved her off of the bed and into a space we had prepared in our closet for her and let her snuggle in and enjoy her kittens. Grey is the most wonderful mother. She is attentive to her kittens, but allows for us to love on her and them as well. We feel so blessed by her. With that I want to move into this week's reflection.

This week I want to talk a bit about how important it is that we find people, and places that make us feel safe and sheltered. We had set up multiple places for Grey to have her kittens, but in the end she chose her favorite place in the house; right between our feet. That is where she felt safe, and secure. It is vital that we have the same in our lives. People and places that give us a sense of security. So that when we are required to move outside of what is comfortable for us we are not totally adrift. As human beings we are social creatures. We require other people in our lives, but it has been my experience that we don't always work to find people that enrich our lives. Some of us are blessed to be born into families that fill all of our needs, some of us find long lasting friendships early in our lives, but some have to work to find those things.

It is not always easy to seek out people, in fact, sometimes it is really really hard. But it is also vital. Allow God (or whatever you feel guides you) to move the people that you need into your life; and those that you don't out. This process is sometimes painful, but when we allow God to make space in our lives for the people that He wants there, we are making ourselves stronger. We are allowing God to build our shelter so that when the new and uncomfortable comes, we do not feel alone.

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