Thursday, June 4, 2020

Claire and the Kitten Quest

Today this little baby turned 10. She was my biggest, chubbiest, smiliest, happiest baby and she remains my bright, happy, rainbow girl. My fiercest hugger, constant cuddler, and always up for all the things, I can't imagine our trio without Claire in the middle.

Ten feels like a big age. Double-digits, the end of the phase of life where you can show your whole age on two hands. More than halfway through her time at home with us, already so much shaped into the human she is going to be. She's been excited about this day for weeks - the decorated table for breakfast, donut run with dad, and picking her meals for the day (donuts and fruit for breakfast; Mac & Cheese "from the box from the store" for lunch; BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad for dinner). Presents and phone calls from family, and in this strange new world, a drive-by birthday honking from friends later that night.

Her gift list consisted of a new scooter, two books, some tiny toys I don't understand, a mermaid tail fin for the pool, a light-up writing board, and unicorn slime. I hate slime and she knew her best change of getting some in the house would be for a birthday. A DOUBLE-DIGITS birthday. And so my sister totally got her some.

And between family and friends she actually got everything on her list, except one thing. A kitten.

(And not a balloon one, no matter how adorable. This one was from my brother and his wife- Claire loved it, named it "Hope" and sadly declared it the "only kitten I'll probably ever have.")

Claire has wanted a kitten for YEARS. For as long as she's known how to say the word, really. It's the top of every wish list and a part of any school journal entry she can work it in.

We picked up her school books last week and I smiled as I flipped through:

Aug. 22, 2019
What I have been wanting forever is a kitten, a very small and playful kitten. If my mom or dad did get me one I would want it to be a boy because they are a little bit nicer than girl kittens. I would want the boy kittens color to be brown or black. If it was brown I would name it moose or something else I don't really know yet. But if it was black I would name it ninja. But if I did get one it would be in like next year cause my dad doesn't want one but my mom does just not as much as me. But hopefully I will get one soon.

Sept. 16, 2019
A pet that I really want and have been wanting for a long time is a kitten. I really want a kitten because they are cut and small. I have a bulldog that is really big so it is hard to hold her. But that's why I really want a kitten because you can hold them and snuggle with them really well. A pet that I already have is a bulldog. She is a girl and is named Magnolia but we call her Maggie for short. I love her with all my heart and love to spend time with her. And kid of play with her but mostly inside because bulldogs get really hot when they're outside for a long period of time. I love Maggie very much.

Oct. 8, 2019
If I could buy anything I would buy a kitten. I would buy a kitten because they are cute and friendly. And my parents never let me get one. And my dog would be such good friends with a cat or kitten.

Nov, 2019
There are many things I want to do in the new year. This new year I really want a cat. One reason is because me and the cat can play. Another reason is I could teach the cat tricks. I could teach the cat many things, like how to sit, stay, and lay down. I could also be a little more advanced and teach it how to hold a ball on its nose or how to ride a skateboard. You never know what you could teach a cat. Now that's just one of the reasons I want a cat. I also want a cat so I can play with it when I'm bored and lonely. When I invite my friends over we could play with the cat. I also just really really really want a cat.

June 1, 2020
If I could make 3 wishes I would wish for a kitten so I could play with it and hug it. My second wish would be to have no fears at all, so I could be able to to go and swim at the lake without being scared of alligators. My last wish would be to get a car for kids (that you could drive and press pedals) so I could drive around the street.

June 2, 2020
My favorite memories with mom are when we talk about getting a kitten. (Even though I know we won't be getting one any time soon :(). I like this memory because I always laugh when we talk about it. And it always brings up funny conversations. But don't worry mom I have lots of other great memories of you and me too!

I smiled because I'd already been to visit a kitten.

Two weeks ago I'd met this fluffy, spunky little boy, rescued from an overcrowded shelter in Laredo through Saving Hope and currently being fostered by Claire's school music teacher. Maggie happened to be with me (we were returning from cleaning her teeth) and though somewhat bemused by meeting her first kitten, she seemed to quickly and heartily approve.

I filled out the adoption papers, bought everything in the cat section on, and waited. We snuck boxes of kitten supplies to the garage (at one point, while transferring another box, James was like, it's one cat right? one small cat?), kept joking with Claire about her fruitless kitten campaign, and waited. We waited for two whole weeks until this morning when I ran over to the foster mom's house at 8 a.m. to put the little guy in the carrier I'd ordered weeks ago and bring him home while James took the kids to pick out Claire's donuts. He delayed a little, running an extra errand, so I could get our new cat sequestered and safe in our bedroom.

Claire got home, donuts in hand, and we ate and opened her presents. She was ecstatic with her things from our family- from Papa & Gigi, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even a sweet blog reader who treated her to some temporary hair chalk that was a very fun surprise. James and I got her a James Avery necklace to commemorate what felt like such a special birthday and she was so excited and honored to have her first "real" jewelry.

She told me she felt older when she put it on. It's engraved with her name on the front and "Happy 10th, Love Mom & Dad" on the back. I hope she can keep it for a long time.

And then I told her there was one more thing. I'd wrapped a file box with wrapping paper days before and lined it with a towel. I stepped to our room to gently place our big surprise inside and walked out to the dining room, already crying while singing Happy Birthday. What unfolded was pure joy and kitten magic:

I had tears running down my face, Claire still couldn't bring herself to actually touch the kitten she was so overwhelmed, Landon and Cora was in shock, and James was just beaming holding the phone to film it all.

I helped Claire take the little guy out and set him on her lap.

She remained utterly overwhelmed.

This continued for some time.

"I can't believe this is really happening? Is it really happening?"

"That's a cat. It's a real cat. I got a cat mommy.

It was the best morning we've ever had, except for the one in which we met our Clairebear, so it's only fitting that on her 10th birthday I can introduce you to Moose.

Playful, feisty, sweet, and shockingly relaxed given the volume of love and attention thrown his way so far, we all love him very much.

And I look forward to telling you the future tales of Maggie and Max, our dynamic duo

If you need some joy in your life, I can't recommend this 90 seconds of video more. I've watched it a dozen times and cry every time. It's just the most pure, joyous thing. [Link is fixed and shouldn't require a login now!]

Happiest Birthday sweet Claire, we love you so.


  1. I don't even like cats and the pics of Claire and the kitten made me all teary! You are such a good mom. So how did James get talked into it?

    (we have the same situation here with a dog - kids begging for one, I want one and the husband says hell no)

  2. So sweet! But you have to log in to see the video.

    1. Oops, fixed!! Thanks for letting me know.

  3. My younger son turned 12 in late March and his present was Astros tickets, which of course didn't happen. All he has wanted for years was a kitten. We already have a dog and another cat... but 2 1/2 weeks ago, we adopted a tiny orange and white tabby. He is the cutest and we all love him (though the kitten is not a fan of our dog yet). Congratulations on your new addition! Cats are awesome:)

  4. Oh wow, this is just everything. A shining light in all the darkness, thanks for sharing it, it really brightened up my day. Happy birthday Claire, you're such a lucky girl and that's a very lucky little kitten.

  5. This is so sweet, thank you for sharing. As a huge cat lover, I got a little misty eyed seeing Claire's reaction. There can never be too many animal lovers in this world.

  6. Oh my gosh I am sobbing! And I don't even really like cats. But Claire's heart! She's so sweet. That lucky kitten. Thank you for reminding me that as a parent you can make your child's heart burst with joy. It can be so easy to forget.

  7. So, so sweet! My 8 year old daughter had the same reaction when we got our kitten. We went to the animal shelter and as soon as they brought him in she burst into tears! She said he was just so cute! I had never had a cat, but kittens are overwhelmingly cute!

  8. That is probably the best thing I'll see all day. Happy birthday Claire!

  9. OMG, I definitely DID need that video and these pictures in my life - thanks for sharing them! I feel exactly like Claire does about kittens. Can't wait to see the further adventures of the new member of the crew!

  10. Oh my goodness this is exactly what the world needs right now. Thank you for sharing that!!!

  11. THANK YOU for fixing the Youtube video link, I needed that so much right now --- Happy Birthday Claire and I cannot wait for all the cute kitty updates!

  12. This video added years to my life and erased days of stress. How special. What a great moment!

  13. Oh my heart. What a beautiful family moment! Thank you for sharing it with us. Happy Birthday sweet Claire!

  14. My daughter did the same thing when we got a puppy. Held him and sobbed... and just was all, “I’ve wanted this for sooooo long.” It was the best. (This past Christmas, she also did it with a pair of hard-to-find Vans, so she may just be an emotional gift-receiver?)

  15. Fully burst into tears. Pure joy!!

  16. This is one of the BEST things I’ve seen EVER. Yay Moose! (I’ll warn you that black cats can get a little manic, but they are the best. 😄)

  17. That is the best surprise response I have ever seen! I literally started crying just looking at the pictures. Amazing! :)

  18. She will be the BEST kitten mom ever! I have to go blow my nose now...

  19. Love to you all. I've watched the video twice yesterday and a few times this morning. Somehow, and not just because of the kitty, probably least of all the kitty, I vicariously get to experience thru your posts what it feels like to have a good solid family structure and good parenting. I'm so thankful you're such a good writer that you can convert so many things so well, but also that you like doing it. Thank you so much.

  20. You guys are the best!! I am so happy for Claire! You will love having a kitty. SO HAPPY!

  21. I don't even like cats and I got all teary eyed. This made my day. Happy Birthday Claire. I loved Cora talking about the extra poop to pick up :D

  22. Aw! Very sweet 🙂. Happy birthday to her!

  23. Yup, I cried. What a perfect gift! That kitty is going to be so loved!!!

  24. A very happy, very important double digit birthday to Claire! And that video of her is everything we need right now during these sad and infuriating times.

  25. Happy birthday Claire!
    Totally unrelated but I seem to recall you have a trip planned to Polynesia and were wondering if it could still happen in spite of covid. If I am not mistaking you with an other blogger (sorry!!) : there are relaxing quarantine requirements (sorry that's in French…)

  26. That video made my day! I've never commented before, but wanted to say hello as the fellow mom of a 2007 2L baby. Mine is headed to high school this fall and reacted much like Claire when she recently learned we were adopting a dog.

  27. This is so sweet! Happy birthday Claire!

    On another note, I love your blog and found it because I am a rising 2L thinking about getting pregnant. I was hoping you could provide some advice on any tips on timing of when to get pregnant in law school, and if you (or anyone you know) experienced discrimination during OCI as a pregnant woman, or as a 2L summer associate who was pregnant and discriminated against in terms of getting that end-of-summer offer.

    The other issue here is that because of COVID, OCI was now pushed back from summer after 1L year to spring semester of 2L year. And 1L spring grades became pass/fail as we moved online, so now 2L fall grades count like 1L grades. But of course nobody knows much about what to expect from all this since it isn't the norm!

    I sent you an email on all of this as well--any insight from you would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  28. I don't think I've ever commented on your blog although I have been reading it since law school... and we graduated the same year! But I just had to let you know the kitten video also made me cry happy tears. So thrilled for Claire and your whole family. Happy 10th birthday to her! P.S. We have the same job! I'm at BRO (I swear I'm not stalking you). Maybe we will get to meet one day on a WebEx or (gasp) live training at the Home Office if that is ever a thing again. Love the blog and your writing - thank you for sharing! -Dahlia R.

  29. I am absolutely sobbing. I hope everyone enjoys the new family member! Happy birthday to Claire...she will never forget this one.