Paige and I were different people when you and Ariel came into our lives.
We were newlyweds, both in school, and I knew two kittens would be just what Paige needed in our new apartment in Lake Mary.
What a birthday present you were! I remember driving on Interstate 4 home after work, and I could see you peering through the wicker basket you were in, anxious to get to your new home and surprise Paige.
Ariel was so excited, she was starting to rip the basket apart and get her paws through the holes.
19 years ago. The world was a different place. The Internet was just being heard about. I was still carrying a pager, Paige was working as an electrical engineer and Claire Metz was anchoring the morning news on WESH-TV.
What fun we had together. You were so playful. Anything that moved was fair game. We tossed those paper coasters you get in restaurants around the apartment and you would catch them as if they were your prey.
It was hard to sleep at night because you had so much energy all the time. Sometimes you would hide and couldn’t be found. I would then realize you had leaped on top of the highest kitchen cabinets and were staring at us from above.
We knew we had outgrown the apartment shortly after y’all arrived and found a new home in Lake Mary. The extra space just gave you more room to run.
Ariel and you provided us much comfort through the years, especially when we learned J.P. was coming and had no idea if he would survive birth. You cuddled with us to help us calm our fears. We shared our worries with you in confidence, and you never betrayed our trust.
When J.P. was born, you treated him just like family and knew that from then on he would have to be our top priority.
Luckily, by then your energy level had fallen significantly, and just being able to have that time with us after J.P. went to bed made you purr with delight.
We still loved you though, and you knew it. Eventually, we had to start making accommodations for you as you aged. We fashioned steps for you so you would no longer have to leap from the floor to our bed, but you always wanted to be right there with us from night to dawn.
It’s been sad in the last few weeks to see you having such trouble getting around, especially when I can still remember you so vividly as a vivacious kitten.
So that’s how I’ll always remember you, and I thank you for the many wonderful memories you’ve left me with.
We will always love you, Belle, and you’ll be missed more than you’ll ever know.
Jeff, Paige, J.P., Ariel and Karina
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