Andrew and I were having another one of our rational discussions. It had spanned days.
“I swear to God, if you get that cat you can’t come home for Thanksgiving. Both your brothers are allergic to them. Anyway, you’re a college student living in a studio apartment. How are you going to take care of a pet?”
“Fine Mom”, Andrew said in his most reasonable voice. “I WON’T COME HOME!”
I hung up the phone.
I was right, of course. On the other hand, the idea of my youngest son not being home for the holidays was already making me sad. I picked up the phone again.
“Remember when you told me I was so generous when you were in law school and I said not to worry about it?”
“I guess so.”
“And not to think of it so much as a gift but as a retainer?”
“Andrew got a cat. That is so wrong.”
“That is really wrong, Mom.”
“I told him he can’t come home for Thanksgiving if he brings The Cat. That doesn’t feel right either.”
“Of course Andrew has to be home with us for the holidays.”
“I won’t apologize because I know I’m right. I need you to take care of this.”
And he did. I don’t know what Neil said but Thanksgiving came as did Andrew and The Cat. There was lots of food, laughter and some sneezing.
I told my friend how smart Neil had been to fix my problem.
She said, “But Andrew still got the cat. I don’t see how he fixed anything.”
I patiently explained, “I didn’t have to say I was sorry and Andrew still came home.”
After a few months Andrew brought The Cat to us.
“I was wrong and you were right. I can’t take care of him, Mom. Is it okay if I leave him here?”
Andrew carried the litter box to the laundry room, smiling and talking to himself. “Neil said this would work.”
“Mom, I said I hope I’m not a jerk.”
Nobu and I now have permanent custody of The Cat. We love him a lot. Evan declared if I could I would take down the family pictures and put cat art on the refrigerator.
Next week The Cat is learning how to paint.