The Parent Gene

I don’t know how they do it — mine, or anyone else’s.

I don’t know how they have the energy to focus on anything more than when their next nap will be. I don’t know how any quality sleep can ever be had when their ears never rest. Even the slightest noise that’s out of the ordinary has them up and out of bed in a flash.

On a really small level, I feel like I’ve finally experienced the parent gene. Granted, it’s because of my cat, but it’s something.

He’s had a cone on his head due to an abscess and related surgery on Friday. I came home yesterday and found that he’d managed to weasel out of it, so I put it back on. He’s not happy with me, but he can’t get it off which means he also can’t make his wound worse. So I’ll take it.

This morning around 5am, I heard a faint squeak of a meow and jumped out of bed without hesitation to find my cone-headed cat trying to headbutt my bedroom door, attempting to get in. I spent the next hour petting him, getting him calmed down and back in his pile of blankets. The cone doesn’t make for quality sleep, so when the purring stopped, I took my red, bloodshot eyes back to bed. He was in the same place when I woke up a few hours later.

I’m dead tired. The first night with the cone was the worst, and while the second night was better, it has me wishing there was one more day of weekend left. But it left me thankful for my mom and dad who spent years getting broken sleep and with one ear to the rest of the house so that they could be ready in times of need.

I guess there are just some things you do for your kids, whether they’re children or pets. For years of caring for dogs and cats, and decades of my parents setting an example, I am thankful.

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