Four years ago today, Eric and I packed up the car and moved to San Francisco for the first time. It was only for the summer - he had an internship and I went along for the ride - but I cried as we drove out of Fort Collins and headed west.
That summer was a pivotal one for me. Away from home, friends, and family (the three things that I hold most dear) for the first time, I had to learn to fend for myself. And it was HARD - but I made it. I felt lonely a lot that summer and I was so uncomfortable in the city that I had to push myself to venture out on my own. At first, the bus ride to the beach or a walk through Golden Gate Park had me anxious beyond belief, but as the days passed I felt more at home. Overlooking a grocery store parking lot, I spent my days playing with simple, non-soldered jewelry designs (I didn’t have a torch at the time!) and a mini enamel kiln while watching the comings and goings of the San Franciscans below.
Eric grew up in California - and a few times we were able to meet up with some of his old neighbors, north of the city. Those get-togethers were some of the highlights of that summer - we ate ice-cream under the starry skies, laughed till our cheeks hurt, and got to try kayaking for the first time. I spent as much time snuggling their cats and dog as possible during those visits, realizing for the first time how much animal companionship mattered to me. And Stacy, also a metalsmith selling on Etsy, talked with me about jewelry making and selling online - and she told me, honestly, that I could absolutely make a living at it if I put my mind to it.
When we finally got back to Colorado in August, a week before our Senior year of college began, I had a few things figured out. Firstly, I had decided I was going to be a self-employed jewelry maker someday. No matter the obstacles, I felt a growing conviction that that was the path for me. And secondly, I realized that I couldn’t live without animals anymore. Dogs, cats, horses - they have always made my heart beat fast. And I realized that there was no way I could be completely happy in life without a furry companion by my side.
Right at the beginning of September, Eric and I went to the humane society, “just to look” at the kittens waiting for new homes. We didn’t have a litter box. Or kitten food. Or toys or any idea what our lives would look like with a kitten. That was all ok, because again, we were just looking. For the sake of research we said. But a little grey cat caught our eye right away and and as we went to say hello -
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. You see, to tell this right, we need a mini flash back.
Because on the same day that we set our sights on California, before my life and sense of self changed completely, a kitten was born - at least, that’s what her adoption paperwork says (and who am I to argue with a sign like that?). Maybe it was before we hit the road that morning and maybe it was after - but deaf and blind she came into the world all the same. Throughout that summer she grew and learned just like me until, one day, she became separated from her mother. That little kitten was lost and alone…until some kind soul found her and brought her to the humane society…
…where she promptly swiped my leg with her little paw, making sure to keep all her claws in, to pull my attention away from the grey kitten and down to her cage, positioned below.
When I crouched down, I found myself face to face with the sweetest tabby girl - both arms through the bars, meowing all of the little meows, and begging to snuggle. So we took her out. Played together for a minute. And in whisper voices, laughing (and in my case, trying not to cry) - Eric and I both said that this was the cat for us.
First Fur Child. Queen Bean. The one who always knows how to comfort me when I’m sad. I’m so very glad our paths crossed, my friend. Happy birthday - I hope you enjoyed all of the treats!!