The Choice

I still remember the first day we got the 8-week old fluff ball. She looked like a ball of hair with eyes. We couldn’t come up with a name. She may have had 3 different names before we ended up with the name Princess. The kids were 3 & 5 at the time.  Over the next 9 years, Princess would become an integral part of our family. Even moving across the state with us, although she wasn’t thrilled with the Seattle weather that awaited her. Kharizma was her person from the beginning. Every now and then Princess would make her way out to the living room after the kids were fast asleep. She would hop on my lap, and purr as I pet her, careful to stay away from her “bad spots” which was her tail and her toes. She would attack if I got near those places. Princess was a good, loyal cat to our family, through thick and thin she was there. A couple of years ago, our beloved Princess just disappeared one day. Frantically I put up flyers all over the city, made online posts to all the animal sites and made several calls to every vet in a 100-mile radius. Kharizma was crushed as were the rest of us. Our Princess was gone.

I always knew we would get another kitten, it just had to be the right one and the right time. Fast forward 2 years, the time came. I found a kitten that I fell in love with, the only kicker was, we would have to wait two months to get our sweet girl.

Over the next two months, I would get updates and pictures of our growing kitty. I got the call last Thursday:

“She is ready to go! You want to pick her up this weekend?”

“Yes, I will!”

And so, began the shopping trip to pick up all the things a new kitty would need.

Except we forgot to pick a name.

So, naturally who has 8 cats and would be able to help me come up with a great name?

“Jen, I have no idea what are we are going to name her!”

Of course, for the next hour, we bounced around some names, eventually coming up with Ashey Delilah. The Delilah part of the name is a meaningful one. For those that know me well, you know that I have had a borderline obsession with the Delilah radio talk show for the last 20+ years. This story needs a blog all on its own and hopefully one day I will tell the whole story, but for now, we will keep it as that.

Anticipation built as we made the 45-minute drive to get the kitten. I thought about how Ashey Delilah would become a part of our family, just as Princess did. She would be loyal and a part of the family, only if we could get our 20-lb. furry feline Daisy on board. That was going to be the hard part, so I thought.

“We are home!” The kitten is heeeere!”

The kids, now 13 & 15 (going on 25) come running out.

“Meet Ashey Delilah!”

“Mom, we are not naming her that!!”

“Why not? It’s cute. I like the name.”

“We are gonna come up with another name!”

A few minutes later, I get a text from Jen.

“How is Ashey Delilah? Send me pics!!!”

“The kitten is great. Her name is no longer Ashey Delilah though.”

I didn’t need to explain anything. Jen knows my strong-willed daughter very well. She already knew I got overruled by a 15-year-old.

Because she is my best friend, she took the liberty and sent a little text to her that went something like this:

“Kharizma, do you know how important the name Delilah is to your mom? It’s just breaking her heart that you don’t want to use the name.”

20 minutes later Kharizma informs me we can use Delilah for the kitty’s middle name.

I have always been a pretty easy-going parent. As a single mom for most of my kids’ lives, I had to be everything all rolled into one, so sometimes I have had to just pick my battles.

Which is how I have been in other areas of my life. For so long, I just went with the flow. In my relationships, my jobs, and even my family.  I would just allow them to be in my life because I never really thought I had a choice.

This all changed about a year ago.

I decided that I had paid my dues to people that didn’t really deserve them. I am not perfect by any means but I have always had good intentions whether it be with co-workers, friends, acquaintances, in relationships, hell, even my neighbors could come to ask for a cup of sugar every day and I would give it to them.

I have been lied to, cheated on, treated like shit and made to feel like I deserved all the above. Times have changed and so have I.

In this last year, I have cut-off people that are no longer beneficial in my life. If you can’t bring something to the table like support and positivity, then guess what? Take a seat at some else’s table because there is no room for you here at mine. I keep my circle small. Most of my friends have been in my life for 10+ years.  I no longer need to entertain anyone for any reason.

I am learning to be very selective about who I let in. If I feel any bad vibes or intent, I will excuse you promptly with no reasoning because for so long, I have explained myself to people that didn’t deserve a word.

I am taking back the power that was lost so long ago. It really isn’t about the cat, but more about me taking control of my life. I have come this far. As some of you might know, I will be graduating with my BA next year which I know will yield big changes for me. Some I am not sure of yet. But what I know for sure is this, I will not settle for anything less than what I deserve. In my career, friendships, relationships…I will weed out the bad and keep the good for myself because I have earned it.

Like Carrie Bradshaw said when she was forced to choose between Mr. Big and The Russian in the final episode of Sex and the City…

I choose me.

It’s about time that I choose me.


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