My husband claims it is hard to buy me gifts.
In our family lore is the time he showed up for a date bearing carryout Indian food and a Spanish-language birthday card inadvertently smeared with sauce. It wasn’t my birthday. I don’t speak Spanish.
I will admit, I didn’t gush. Maybe I even looked perplexed. Our kids wonder why this wasn’t a deal breaker. My husband maintains that he has absurdist humor. The long misunderstood artist thing.
Since then, he has become more discerning in what might strike my fancy and I have, truly, become better at expressing my pleasure at receiving a gift. I even make a point of letting him know when I not only appreciate his thoughtfulness, but grow to like the gift.
In this, I believe, Pettigrew and I are similar.
Last weekend, in celebration of the anniversary of his adoption, Pettigrew was feted with a stuffed toy sloth, a soft blanket, a braided stick and an Icelandic lamb’s horn.
Like me, he had no problem enjoying the food. The Indian food from that fateful date was great.
It’s the things that take both of us a bit more time.
He eagerly pulled the sloth from its bag, carried it into another room, pressed on it sufficiently to find the squeaker, and then abandoned it. Over the next few days I occasionally found him cuddling the sloth between his front paws, or a loud squawk would startle me out of a reverie. But, often as not, the sloth remained sprawled on the floor, days on end, in whatever attitude Pettigrew had abandoned it.
Likewise, after thoroughly inspecting the blanket. Sniffing. Pushing it this way and that. He left it alone.
I understand it can take time.
Now, a week later I find Pettigrew spending quality one-on-one time communing with his sloth.
And the blanket. We moved it out from under the piano and put it at the bottom of the stairs where Pettigrew likes to sleep.
At first it was just parallel sleeping: Pettigrew on one side, the blanket on the other.
But just the other night, he was curled on top of its plush surface.
He’s officially moved from appreciating to liking.
I knew he would ultimately get there. Me, I still don’t understand that card!