Tess - aka Tessie Lumpkin or The Bunyip - is celebrating her 15th birthday today. Well, at least we think she is 15. She was a stray who showed up in our garden, and no one in the neighborhood seemed to be looking for her, so she became one of us. In her earlier life (lives?) she must have not been treated very well, because she had some front teeth that were sheared at an angle, and she was pretty mean, especially to the other cats, for a long time after we adopted her. But age has mellowed her to some degree, though not completely, and she knows that we aren't going to hurt her, so I think she is pretty happy these days. One of these days, I'll find a picture of her and post it so you can see what a pretty girl she is.
OK, this has nothing to do with knitting. But anyway.
When we first took Tess to the vet, she was thought to be about a year old. We have always celebrated our pets' birthdays (something that my family did while I was growing up too, so the craziness is inherited), and when we have a good idea when they were born, will actually celebrate the day they were born. But with strays, who knows? So we "assign" birthdays. Tess' day is extra special, because she has the same birthday as my father and my father-in-law.
My father would be 90 today, if he was still alive. He died when I was 13 years old, so he has the advantage of remaining the same dad he was as long as I knew him. Which is to say, we didn't have any time to develop a crummy relationship based on me wanting to wear makeup, or date boys, or pierce various body parts. Though it sounds strange to say so, I had the chance to realize from a very early age that no one lives forever, and that you need to appreciate people - especially your parents - when you can, so there are no regrets later. So happy birthday, Dad. You were the best and always will be.
My father-in-law would be 84 today. Unfortunately he died in 1989, so he's not here to celebrate either. I knew him for about ten years or so before he died, and he has the advantage of being someone who only knew me as an adult, and I have the advantage of knowing him once all of his kids had been raised, schooled, etc., and he was enjoying his retirement. He was the King of the Pun, and one of the truly gentlest people I have ever met in the universe. He was one of those people who could fix and/or build things, which was an amazing quality to me (as my father could change a light bulb and that was about it). I remember one year for Christmas, he MADE a lap desk for me! I still use it on a regular basis, and once my sisters-in-law saw it, he had to make them each one too. My husband is like his father in all of the good ways, so my father-in-law has the advantage of being someone who I remember as giving me a special gift. Happy Birthday, Dad. Thanks for making me smile then and now.
So back to Tess. Why shouldn't she have her birthday today? For someone who seems to have had a rough start, she deserves a birthday that is a special day anyway. And even though lots of people seem to think that it's rude/weird/sick to give your cat a birthday that belonged to a parent/in-law, I think each dad would be amused in his own way. So Happy Birthday, Tess! We hope you'll have many more with us.