It's taking longer than I expected, though, and meanwhile, yesterday we took our ancient cat (coming up to 21 years this spring) on a very stormy boat ride to town for a final visit to the vet, saying goodbye to this feline we adopted reluctantly some 17 years ago when our daughter and her partner moved to the big city, and their apartment didn't allow pets. She was always rather skittish, just enough feral to testify to her barn/field cat heritage, and she had an unfortunate tendency to very occasional, completely unpredictable lapses in her housetraining. These always involved fabric, our down duvet serving as makeshift litter box once, and our precious Persian tribal rugs soaking up cat pee far too often to recount with equanimity.
So yesterday afternoon we came home without her, pet-free for the first time in 31 years. The emptiest our nest has ever been.
I suspect we're not the only parents whose empty nest was tantalizingly kept out of reach by the continued presence of a pet. Were any of you
Amended just to add, because I realize you can't really tell from reading this, that Kleenexes were used for eyes, not just for the nose, yesterday. I admired and grew to love, oddly, this cat whose feist was foisted on me. I will truly miss her. But some of that missing will be relief...