H loves to feed the cats. More, he signs enthusiastically as soon as we walk through the door, meaning something along the lines of, “The kitties surely need more food.” Or maybe, “I want to give the kitties more snack. RIGHT NOW!” I hold him aloft at the cupboard, and he removes the food storage bin with eager nods. Sitting on the floor now, legs in a V, toes pointing up, H scoops cat food from the square bin into bowls, a few pieces in one and a few more in the other. The cats have not embraced H the way he has them, but one approaches warily and stops a good six feet from where we are sitting. We wait, H quiet and still. No one moves. Finally, I set one bowl to the other side of me and H and push it an arm’s length away. The cat comes closer to eat H’s small offering, keeping one eye on us the whole time. I can tell by the way she lingers and eyes us that she would like more, but she will not walk past H to reach the second bowl. We wait. H looks at the cat. He gestures wildly at the second bowl. The cat does not move, but she does not run away. H looks at the bowl, and I see the plan hatching in his mind. He picks up the bowl and places it on his other side, closer to the cat and as far away as his little arm will reach. He sits back and waits. The cat comes and eats. H sits still watching her.
I watch H watch the cat. This, this moment with this child, witnessing his enthusiasm and love and gentleness, yes to this. This, as we sit in a dirty, dusty basement with unfinished concrete floors, boxes piled on all sides, exposed carpet tacks everywhere, yes to this. This, as my life is shifting in seismic ways and falling apart around me, yes to this. This life with H is a gift. Yes to every single part of it.