Now and then a little thing here and there appears in life that a dear friend once described as “a God winking at me gift.” A thing perhaps you know you want but for which you haven’t the time to dwell upon, or the focus to pray. But God notices anyway and cares enough to bring it to you when you least expect it.

I’ve always liked calico colored cats – especially the tortoiseshell pattern of black and ginger with elegant touches of white. It’s a feline coat encoded by chromosomes that appear in, with rare exception, only queens (female cats). For a brief time when I was 12 I took in a tri-colored stray kitten and called her Tigrillo. But for awhile all our long-term family cats were solid black or black and white. The color palette expanded when a couple of ginger cats took up residence at Fair Hills Farm: Victor, a ginger tabby adopted from a kitten giveaway at a Wal-Mart parking lot, and Felicity, a swirly ginger and white tabby who chose us over the neighbors. She was so emaciated and bug-eyed that she was initially nicknamed “Sméagol” when she was mistaken for a young tom cat.

In the early morning hours of March 14th, 2018, a few days before my wedding, Felicity gave birth to their four kittens: a ginger and white queen, a calico queen, a ginger and white tom, and a ginger tom. I said right then that I wanted the calico (perhaps more descriptively called “tortico,” because she has more tortoiseshell pattern than a calico but more white than a tortie).

By mid-May, the kitten was old enough to move to a new home. Joshua and I were visiting my family on the way to our friends’ wedding, and I was about 7 weeks pregnant with Theodosia at the time. I carried the kitty to the living room and asked Joshua “Please?” in Hebrew (we were completing daily Pimsleur language lessons at that point). He looked at the innocent, white-whiskered kitten and said to her, “Don’t look at me with those eyes.” He graciously allowed us to make her our first pet and even suggested her name – Minerva, like J.K. Rowling’s character Professor Minerva McGonagall who can transform herself into a cat.

Minerva lived mostly indoors for a few months, and then became quite the wide-ranging, street-wise huntress who preferred to be outdoors when she could. But she always wanted to come indoors at night to cuddle. She grew into an uncharacteristically social and vocal cat.

When we brought newborn Theodosia home, Minerva was curious but initially startled by the infant’s cry. But as time went on, they became the best of friends. To this day Minerva (who has a protective streak in her) is a resident “babysitter” who keeps Theodosia entertained safely (though they can be partners in mischief!).

Happy 3rd Birthday, Minerva! I hope that you live an extraordinary long life especially now that Theodosia loves you so much.