Back in December, we were very excited to surprise our children with a fluffy new addition to our family in the form of a kitten. The level of shock and excitement from the kids when they discovered her was an amazing gift to me in itself. She was so soft and cuddly and loveable, exactly the kind of kitten we hoped for. She was also spastic, full of energy and quickly ruined half of our furniture with her razor sharp nails on her double paws. But she was beautiful and delicate and we all adored her, arguing over who would get to snuggle with her at night sitting on the couch. With her mainly white, soft fur with black spots all over, we named her Cookies and Cream and call her CC for short. Each day, she greets us at the door when we come home with a purr and a few short meows and takes turns sleeping at the end of our beds at night. She is a love and the continuous sunshine in our home.
Last weekend, my husband and I were kicked back relaxing on the couch in between the day’s activities. CC was curled up on his lap. As we were talking, she stretched out on her back and like a pig sticking his nose through a fence, the “red rocket” made an appearance. My husband gasped, questioning what he saw. I didn’t believe him. It couldn’t be possible! Our beautiful little girl may really be a boy?!?!?
You would think two grown, educated adults would be able to tell the difference between the two, but really, we didn’t. The cat anatomy is trickier to identify than you’d think. And I never thought to second guess what the woman told me the kitten’s gender was when I picked her/him out. So of course, like every smart adult finds their answers, we Googled it and spent the next 20 minutes examining our kitten in every form and pose, afraid to acknowledge what was now CLEARLY obvious…she really was a boy.
And the questions began. How will we tell the children? What will they think? How will they feel about their feline sister really being a boy? She was our little princess, our sweet, precious girl. Will we have to change her name? My husband thought we could just call her/him Chocolate Chip…brilliant!
For the next 24 hours I looked at her/him differently. I felt like I wasn’t sure who she/he was. I had gotten to know her/him as a girl, I didn’t feel like I knew her/him as a male. She/he looked different to me now…more masculine and big…although her/his father was a Maine Coon, so that could be it. But she/he was different. Or was she/he?
Even though what I thought I knew about him was different, I still loved him down to my core. He was still my beautiful puffball of love and he still snuggled and purred the same. He still made me laugh with his silly kitten antics and he still followed me around the house like the sidekick I’d grown accustomed to. He was really no different at all. Even though he was a boy, he was the CC who won me over when I chose him over his brothers and sisters. He was my cat, no matter what.
For some reason, I was nervous to tell the kids. I was preparing myself for their disappointment. I plotted out the words in my head and instead ripped the bandaid off and said, “hey, guess what, we think CC’s a boy.” Their response? “Oh, I thought she was a girl.” to which I replied that I thought so too, but turns out she’s not. And that was it. No tears, no drama, no real concern at all actually. The only disappointment was that my daughter realized the boys now outnumbered us, and my son was thrilled to be in the majority. But that was it. She/he was still their CC, no matter what.
Like our kitten, our children may not always meet our expectations. They may not always turn out to be who or what we thought they would, but they are ours, no matter what. There may be days where we don’t know them or recognize them, or have any idea where they came from, but the core of them will remain consistent and recognizable once we have adjusted our expectations and our vision clears. They will change and alter themselves and wear hundreds of outfits before they finally find the one that fits…and sometimes it’s incredibly hard to be patient while we’re standing outside the dressing room waiting. But no matter how tasteful we find their fashion sense, they are still who we knew when we picked out their outfits for them.
We are in transition mode with how we address CC, as old habits die hard. When talking about him we often use he and she in the same sentence. We sometimes correct each other, and other times don’t. It doesn’t really matter. Our CC may be the boy we never knew, but he is still the kitten we always wanted.