To my Aria,
Four years ago this weekend, you adopted me. I thought I was going to the cat rescue to adopt a cat. And for a little while, I thought I did. Now, I realize that you picked me as much as I picked you.
The first months we were together were...interesting. I had never had a cat before, and you had never been in a loving home before. Were cats supposed to spend all day under the couch? I didn't think so, but I didn't know what else to do. So I did the only thing I could think of: I lay down on the floor, stuck my head under the couch, and began talking and petting you.
You didn't come out. Not for almost 6 months. But you did start to trust me.
Looking at you now, I would never have known you were the same kitty. You pester me incessantly, looking for tuna and treats. You keep me groomed- my hair and eyebrows have never looked better! I wake up and find you all snuggled up on my pillow, a comma-shaped sleeping cat.
People say that I've done so much for you by giving you a good home. No doubt that's true, but I have to say you've done as much for me. When I get down and start struggling, I remind myself that I will never be separated from you again. I hold you and remind myself I am loved. I look at you and see self-esteem incarnate. You eat what you want, when you want. I'm not sure you have ever berated yourself for being too lazy (nor do you know what insomnia is).
Sweet Aria, you also taught me patience. Persistence, I knew. No one would ever accuse me of not being persistent. But I was NOT patient. As I cavorted with you amongst the dust bunnies under my couch, I had to realize that you were going to come out on your time, not mine. All I could do was wait. Wait and play and love.
I know how you roll around on your back when you want to be loved. I know that if I pet you right above your tail, it will swish back and forth madly. I know you like squirrels, chipmunks, and bunnies, but that you prefer birds. I know that you are terrified of cooking spray and air freshener (you hate that hissing sound). I know you know when you are going in your carrier and have to devise a thousand ways to outsmart you- which usually fail. I know that if I kiss you on the very top of your head, I will get a hug from your ears.
I have given you, I hope, a good life and a happy home. A good deal for you. But whenever I am asked, I still say I got the better end of the bargain.