Though I only gave birth to my sweet son a little over 14 months ago, my first "baby" came into my life just over 13 years ago.
In the summer of 1998 a field near my house was cut down for the first time in years and with it, came lots of mice. We set out traps and called pest control, but the little varmints were there to stay. My dad tried everything in his power (and budget) to get rid of them.
I returned from my first day of high school band camp and sitting on the hearth in our living room was a beautiful black and white cat. I had begged for years for a cat, but my parents were firm in saying no. Our cocker spaniel, Alexis was enough for our family according to them. But here was this beautiful feline with a black "mask" over his eyes. There was no other name for him: Bandit.
The mice were gone within a week, but Bandit is still very much part of my family. He lived with me through my high school drama, trials and tribulations. He greeted me when I came home on long weekends and summer vacations during college, and, much to my husband's chagrin, moved in with us after we got married in 2007.
He is my original snuggle bunny. He is curled up next to me as I type this entry, purring and desperately wanting my full attention right now. When I was pregnant, he would fight for the little space on the couch so he could snuggle up next to me. Many times he climbed atop my big round belly when I laid on my back. Thomas would kick him, but Bandit would continue sleeping, purring and keeping me company.
Now Thomas chases him and tackles him, and we warn him to "be easy" with Bandit. He loves him so much.
Bandit is getting older and it's getting hard to realize that my "first" baby might not be with us much longer. But just as with my real child, I cherish every moment with him. I snuggle with him. Play with him (although these days he doesn't play much). Talk to him and love him. I used to find people who treated their cats like children kind of creepy, but I'm starting to realize just how precious my relationship with my fur baby is.