Saturday, July 9

The Father’s Day gift that keeps on giving

The challenge of yet another gift giving holiday – the present. What is an appropriate present on father’s day? I’ve already given the tie, the tie rack, the picture frame, the mug – you name it’s been wrapped and offered up as the gift above all others. This father’s day, beyond the heartfelt, thoughtfully crafted card made by the children in less than 90 seconds, I was stumped for ideas.

And then I landed on an idea so brilliant, so original, even I was impressed with myself. I spared no cost and gave the gift of life. Yes, you guessed it – kittens. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The trusting relationship between an animal and owner is priceless. Pet owners will tell you that the memory of a loved pet lives on in the annals of the family history forever. Pets punctuate the passage of time. Many families have a story that begins with “Do you remember when we got our cat fluffy?” What father wouldn’t want kittens on Father’s Day?

Armed with these arguments, the children and I trooped down to the Humane Society for a look-see. The Humane Society is cleaner and nicer than my daughter’s old daycare. The volunteers are some of the nicest people in the world and should really be assigned to the Naples visitor center to greet tourists. People would be moving here in droves if the Humane Society staff was represented as the average Naples citizen. How could we not adopt two kittens from Dottie, the lovely volunteer? If I could have adopted Dottie as my Aunt, I would have taken her home as well.
There was no way my children could keep two kittens a secret so we didn’t bother to wait until the actual date of father’s day to present our gift. The secret lasted exactly two hours as we waited impatiently for him to come home from work. My husband innocently opened the door, walked across the threshold and was greeted with shrieks of delight. “Happy Father’s Day Daddy, we got you kittens!” He stood stunned and motionless as the children pushed a box of kittens across the floor towards his feet. He walked into the never used living room, slumped down on the sofa and stared up at the ceiling. I have never seen that look on his face before and I have known him for over twenty years. I chose to interpret his expression as extreme glee and behaved as if we had just given him a Rolex watch.
I recently read an advertisement for a DVD that could change my whole life for only $19.99. The ad said “if you believe it will happen, you can make it come true.” I didn’t pay $19.99 but I decided to try the philosophy anyway. I believed that my husband was thrilled with his gift, knowing that it would soon be true. The children enthusiastically detailed the litany of kitten names under consideration, “Doodads, Pop Tart, Sprinkles, Fluffy” and finally agreed upon “Cupcakes” and “Pickles.”  My daughter plopped Pickles, a black fluffy kitten in my husband’s lap and said “look Daddy, she loves you!” My husband stared blankly at all of us and said “Do we have kittens? Are we keeping these kittens?” All of us squealed “yes” and I said “Aren’t they adorable? Don’t you just want to snuggle them?” His silence was deafening. 
How could he possibly dampen the happiness of his hopeful wife and excited children with his true response which I suspect wasn’t extreme glee. Finally he said, “Yes, they are adorable, I love my present.” A father’s love is the gift that keeps on giving. Happy Father’s Day.

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