Family: Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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Was I missed? Only by a whisker

After a few days away for work I arrive back home from the airport, open the door and adopt the brace position for my crash landing. Sink full of dishes, food bin overflowing, heating cranked up despite the sun splitting the pavements, someone’s spilt coffee on their sheets and left them to dry. Aw, it’s good to be home.

I’m jetlagged so I let it all go as offspring appear, give me hugs and tell me they’ve missed me. I bet they have. No-one to Mrs Mop for them. But that’s all right, because I shouldn’t have had children if I didn’t like it, as Youngest is so fond of saying, bless. All’s right with the world.

Except... Biggie Smalls is not in situ on my bed.

“Where’s Biggie?” I ask.

“On the bed,” says BoyF. “He’s hardly moved, as usual, while you’ve been away.”

“No, he’s not.”

“He was there! Hang on, now I remember, last night, there was a terrible noise outside, sounded like two cats fighting to the death. Oh.”

“Yes, oh. If there’s a ginger hair on his body harmed in any way…” I leave the threat hanging and go out to scour the streets, my calls attracting the cat women of the neighbourhood, my people. “Is it the wee stripy tabby?” says one, concerned. “The fluffy black and white one?” says another, running through her cat-alogue (sorry) of visitors. “Oh, that fat ginger softy?” says a third. “Not seen him today. Don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye out.”

I return to the homestead and start to clean, shop and cook my way through the guilt. I shouldn’t have gone away.

“Glad you’re home mum,” says Eldest, arriving to see if I’ve filled the fridge yet.

“Why? Better food?”

He laughs. “Well, obviously. But there are other reasons.”

“Such as?” Hey I’m needy…

“Dunno. It’s just so much better when you’re here. Feels like home.”

“Yes, but where’s…”

There’s an almighty thud as FatCat barrels through the cat flap, lips still a-licking from wherever he’s been cupboard loving, paws still warm to the touch.

Now it feels like home. n