When I saw Bean for the first time, she was maybe 10 days old, eyes barely open, sticky, sickly, and frail. She was in her foster home with moms Sarah and Kim, and they were doing all they could to get Charlene and her brother healthy and strong.
I did not know much about kittens at that time, but it did seem as though these two weren't long for this earth, and though I wanted to scoop her up and hold her close, I resisted because I was afraid I would fall in love with her and my heart would soon be broken.
Sadly, Brother didn't make it, but Charlene began to thrive.
We had just moved into our neighborhood, coincidentally, the day we closed on our house is the day she was born. While we settled into our new home, I popped over frequently to Kim and Sarah's house to visit wee Bean and check on her progress. We weren't really thinking about adding another animal to our lives, we were totally happy just with Drewey, but I was falling hard for Charlene.
I knew I was going to have to pitch the idea of adopting her to Craig soon -- I had been talking about her with him, but hadn't yet suggest we make her "ours".
When Charlene was about a month old, Kim asked if we could "babysit" her. It was a ploy. It wasn't babysitting at all -- it was just a way to get Craig to spend a little time with Bean and get to know her.
Kim dropped her off in her carrier, and left for the afternoon. Craig was in the shower when she arrived, and as he stepped out of the bathroom, I handed him Charlene.
"I know what you're up to," he said.
"I know," I replied.
He held her up and gave Bean a quick once-over, then kissed her on the head and went into his office with her in his arms. When he came out of the room later he announced "OK."
"OK?" I asked.
"Yes, OK," he confirmed.
Here's a photo of her taken on that very day.
This was ten years ago, which I can hardly even believe. She's changed a lot over these years -- from awkward thing to gushing gorgeous feline. From pesky little kitten who once tortured to mature madame. I've loved all of her phases, but the Bean I see today is my favorite.
She is patient, tolerant of my affection, and loving. She's purrs generously. She's chatty and a great communicator, which makes it easy to meet her needs. She's happy, still goofy, and triggers many smiles and giggles every day.
Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives, Charlene. I am grateful for you. I am thankful for the many kitten lives you've touched. I'm happy to know you touch human lives, too, and that so many are celebrating you on this day.
You are loved by many, Charlene. I hope you feel that.
I think that you do.
Happy birthday, dear Butterbean.