Career Day

“Just what do you do, Mom?”

This is the question I used to get asked by my children on a regular basis. I understood and accepted their confusion. My job isn’t like anyone else’s and my kids alternated between being really proud of me and being really confused.  

I am a certified cat behavior consultant and I work with people to correct their cats’ behavior problems. My kids had decided that because I have this “special” knowledge about cats that I must also be able to work with cows, pigs, horses, birds, snakes, bugs, you name it. When a spider walked across the floor my son would look at it and then back at me to see whether I was analyzing its behavior. “What is the spider thinking, Mommy?” asked Jack. I wouldn’t even wait around to offer an answer. I’d be busy grabbing a paper towel to end the misunderstood spider’s life.

One day at the pool a butterfly landed on Gracie’s knee while she was sitting on her towel drinking juice. Remembering that she had heard me talk so much about reading a cat’s body language, Gracie asked me if I could read the butterfly’s body language. I totally impressed my daughter with my observation that the butterfly was probably spying the drop of juice just inches away. Sure enough, as if on cue, the butterfly flew up and then back down again and landed on the juice droplet. Gracie looked up at me in awe and amazement. I smiled the smile of an all-knowing mom.

When we would pass a farm where there were cows grazing I would be asked if any of them looked depressed or in need of my behavior help. When we watched Animal Planet, my children pointed out the various tigers, sharks, cobras and grizzly bears that could use my help. Telling them repeatedly that I only worked with cats – the small ones – didn’t matter. In their eyes mommy was the behavior expert to all things that crawl, fly, slither, jump or swim.

I was starting to get used to being the Goddess of all animal behavior and then one day my reign abruptly ended. That day was Career Day at school. Each child had to talk about what their parents did for a living.

I stood at the entrance of the school at 3pm and waited for my children to emerge and then we walked back to the car.

“It was Career Day, Mommy,” Gracie said, “I talked about you.”    

“Oh, did you tell them I do cat behavior?” I asked while trying not to let my chest swell too much with pride.

 “No, I told them you were a rock star.” She said matter-of-factly.

 “A rock star?”

 “Cat behavior is too boring. A rock star is more interesting.”

 I have to agree. Being a rock star must be so much more interesting. One of these days I’m going to go up in the attic and look for my old guitar. I’d try on my old leather pants as well but that really wouldn’t be a pretty sight these days.

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