March 2004

Confessions of a Drama Queen

By Suzanne Strazza

I have a friend that seems to think that everything in my life is a drama show; it’s all one big crisis after another, keeping me in a perpetual state of “freak out.” I have always begged to differ, actually feeling quite put out at his absolute misrepresentation of me. Insulted, to be honest.

Until this past week.

As an aside, let me say that I have always scoffed when people claim that “my pets are my children.” Obviously those people don’t have kids and do not really understand what it means to be a parent.

With this said, I will tell you about my week. I have had a cat, Bruce, for the past seven years. He and I have been through thick and thin together. He has been there for me when my husband has not. When the entire family has hated me, Bruce still loved me. He’s never gotten mad or resentful, never brought up past grievances and absolutely never talked back. To be quite honest, he and I have had more quality time together over the past seven years than Tom and I have.

Last Wednesday, though, Bruce’s short life came to an end because he decided that the world inside our home was his litter box. We tried everything within our power to break the habit, but when he started peeing on the clean dishes, we knew that it was time.

I was calm, cool and collected leading up to the morning. I rationally explained to the children that he was not well and that it was the only way that we could help Bruce. I loaded up the car and drove over to the vet, cool as a cucumber. He was only a pet after all.

Then I walked into the vet’s office and came unglued. In 0 – 10, I was sprawled across the vet tech’s lap, sobbing buckets into her clean scrubs. I begged her not to think of me as cold hearted. I filled her in on every single precious moment that Bruce and I had had over the years, choosing to ignore her desperate looks at her watch. I pleaded with Bruce to forgive my betrayal and then I turned to the vet and said the words, that dreaded phrase that I had always ridiculed:

“I feel like I’m murdering my child.”

It was said. It was done. I had never imagined that crossing into that realm was possible for me, but there I was. My pet had become my child.

Well you can just imagine what an emotional basket case I was after that. I drove home, barely seeing the road through my tears. I picked a fight with my husband and my older son.

I lay in bed with a cold cloth on my head and the curtains drawn, barely able to eat or drink. I was grieving. I was in mourning.

Two days later, crisis over, Bowen and I planned a trip to the shelter. Unfortunately, the trip was slightly delayed due to the amazingly flat tire that was the result of the minor car accident that I had gotten into.

o, after buying a new tire and getting it put on, Bowen and I headed to the shelter and picked out a new, almost all gray kitten, which Bowen, in a moment of pure inspiration, named Golden. This is actually a step up from Baby Kitty, our other cat that Everett named.

Well, Golden needed to see the vet within three days of her adoption, so I made the appointment for today and after picking the kids up from school we headed to Cortez.

We had to make two stops on the way, one of which was at KSJD to drop something off. When we got to the vet 15 minutes later, Golden was MIA. After tearing everything out of the car including the torn tire, sleeping bags, sleds, water wings, Frito bags and 50 copies of the Free Press, we found no cat.

I retraced our steps, panic rising like bile in my throat. Back to the radio station where I alerted everyone, adding at least six more people to my insanity. Then after repeating all of our stops, we ended up at home, with me explaining to the boys that the kitten was gone, it was all Mama’s fault and that they could hate me if they wanted to.

I then called Tom at work, offering him the opportunity to make me feel even guiltier. After putting the teary-eyed kids down for naps, I went back out to the car to quietly mourn my loss in the last place that I had shared with Baby Golden.

Sure enough, there she was. In fear of returning to the shelter, she had climbed up behind the steering wheel and cowered.

Needless to say, I had to rescue her from the dashboard, calm the children, reassure Tom and then fall apart for the next two hours, having suffered such a horrific scare.

Now they are all in bed, resting peacefully and I am sitting here wondering if my friend’s nickname for me, Suzy Epic, really does fit?

Suzanne Strazza is a wife and mother who writes from Mancos.