My mom has been having a lot of fun, in recent days, with one of her Christmas presents. My dad, likely in an effort to stay on her good side for a few days, got her a kitten.
So far, it's worked like a charm. My mom, who is the most avid cat-lover I've ever known, has had a smile on her face that won't go away.
For a long time, I've wondered exactly why my mom is so enamored with those little creatures. After all, they don't do tricks, and they don't seem to have that innate sense that dogs do, of when something is wrong.
Their whole outlook on life seems to be, "This is my house, and it is your job to feed me and pet me. Get on it."
However, that's cats. Kittens, on the other hand, are an entirely different animal - no pun intended, of course.
My mom's new kitten, who I believe she named Lucy, has seemingly taken over the house in her own way. Unlike my parents' other cat, Lucy doesn't seem to demand a lot. She seems perfectly content to run around the house at lightning speed, stopping only to eat and, occasionally, sit in someone's lap.
Her older counterpart, Velvet, is a bit overweight, seems to have no interest in games, and little patience for human beings in general. Once upon a time, Velvet was a kitten, too, but I can't remember what she was like at the time.
Call me crazy, but I'm seeing a parallel here, as it relates to how children and adults live their lives.
Children - at least a lot of the children I've come across - love to run around and play, stopping just long enough to eat or sit in someone's lap. Many adults, on the other hand, are so caught up in their own lives and their own frustrations that they don't know how to have fun anymore.
And no, I'm not talking about the kind of "fun" we have no business engaging in at all.
I'm talking about taking pleasure in the little things, and not being afraid to take chances.
Whatever happened to our days of being fearless, of leaping into situations without a care in the world, like Lucy's doing a lot right now?
I know that, speaking only for myself, I've gotten into a rut of doing what's expected of me, rather than trying new things. If I were more like that little kitten, or those children I spoke of, I'd probably have a lot more fun, and life would likely be much less intimidating at times.
Granted, there are certain aspects of my younger days that I'd rather not relive at all.
But if I could be as fearless as that kitten, or those children, maybe the future wouldn't be so scary.
Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161, or via e-mail at email@example.com.