One year ago, you became the youngest member of this family.
You looked like this:
Now, you look like this:
As cute today as you were a year ago, though less fuzzy around the edges.
In that pic from last year, you were scared of, well, most things. We kept you separate from everyone because you had worms and we wanted to do intros with Newt as carefully as possible. Newt’s finicky, as you now well know.
So, you stayed in a bathroom for part of the time, my office for part of the time, and occasional forays into all the other areas of the house, all while we slowly did some scent exchanges with Newt.
When you were out and about those first few weeks, you hissed.
You hissed at your reflection in the oven.
You hissed at a piece of toast popping up in the toaster.
You hissed at Cooper.
You hissed at the baby’s swing.
But, even that early on, we noticed that you would hiss, sometimes floof up, but then you always went to investigate the scary thing further. It should’ve been a sign to us, even when you were the size of a grapefruit, that you’d dance to your own beat…
I don’t know that we consciously realized it at time time, but you came into our family with a humongous weight on your teeny, tiny shoulders. See, we had lost Lucas, then we lost Emmett, and we were a bit lost without them, and then Violet came home, and Newt and Cooper rattled around the house. They’d lost their moorings, and we had no idea how to anchor them. Newt slept in Emmett’s bed. Cooper stopped playing. John and I were balancing our stress over their sadness with our own sadness with our intense joy and sleeplessness with work with all of it. And then your face popped up in my Facebook feed, and I asked John, “On a scale of one to 10, how much do you not want a kitten?”
And so you came home.
We couldn’t have known or predicted or planned for it then, but your little mischievous self filled those gaps. You anchored them.
We thought it would take ages for Newt to accept you. Of course it didn’t.
Cooper loved you immediately. Of course. As did the baby. As did we.
You gave Newt the sister she needed, a sister to teach and inspire and push around and bicker with. You two spend massive chunks of your days together, occasionally swat and irritate each other, but mostly just hang out in each other’s orbit.
Cooper loves to thwomp the two of you… he runs up and top speed and pounces–intentionally, about a foot away from where you actually are–and watches you both scatter. Then he walks away, tail held high. But he also loves, loves, loves to cuddle you and you him.
You are Trouble. <—- see that capital T?
You love to get up to some $h!t and can make a mess/break something/cause a ruckus in seconds flat. You scale the TV and doorways and the tops of mirrors. You hang from hangars and climb up window screens. You chase the laser like it’s your job, and you wrestle and pounce and play with Newt for as long as she’ll let you each day… for which we’re grateful. You’re keeping her young. And thin.
I have to end this with the most Ripley thing of all because I’m not sure if you’ll grow out of it or if this is just who you are.
Ripley, you have a problem. You are an addict. A hoarder.
You stockpile toy mice in the corner of the kitchen, and you break them out in frantic, frenetic bouts of play that are hilarious and entertaining. And you also deliver your mice each day to somewhere you deem necessary: inside my shoe, on my pillow, in the shower, in the water dish, and so on. Recently, we went out of town, and when we were going through our suitcase at the hotel, we found a neon pink mouse nestled in with our clothing. You lose them every day underneath closet doors, and every few days we’ll open the doors and fish them out for you to return to your pile. It’s funny and endearing, and I wish I could have a quick chat with you to find out… why?
Although, it’s just so YOU, so Ripley, so perfectly quirky.
You are such a delight, Rip. We love you to pieces, no matter how naughty you are. Or maybe because of it. Despite it? I don’t know. You’re just so you that we couldn’t ask for more.
You’re such a tiny little thing, but you filled a pretty big role in this family, and we’re forever grateful to you because of it. You bring joy to everyone you meet, and you’re just the sweetest kitty around, rubbing and purring and snuggling everyone.
Happy first gotcha day, Ripley! We’re so lucky we found you and can’t wait to celebrate many, many more! For today? A piece of fish, just for you.
We love you, Rip!