Although this story ends with an “ahh, how sweet” moment, it begins with my great-niece and great-nephew, emphasis on great, having the time of their lives at the Lowe’s. No joke, dear readers. They were having so much fun exploring everything from patio furniture to gates that I legit asked if it was their first time at the store. Of course, I also enjoy trips to the Lowe’s, so maybe it runs in the family. By the way, I semi-joked that if my niece and nephew are any indication of how most kids act in the home improvement store, then schools should start taking field trips there.

After our adventure at the Lowe’s, we went to the Burger King for lunch. The children donned paper crowns. You know where this is going. My crown drew stares from our fellow diners, but it made the children smile, and that’s all that matters.

Next, everyone descended on my house so that my nephew-in-law could deposit my purchases, which he had transported from the Lowe’s in his pickup truck.

The children seemed to be having a good time. Not as good of a time as they’d had at the Lowe’s, but I don’t sell riding lawn mowers.

Anyway, near the end of the visit, my niece asked if she could pet my cat, Cady. As you might remember, at one point a cat army protected the perimeter. Nowadays, I live with only one cat. She’s 18 years old. That’s 88 in human years. When Cady was younger, she was, uh, I’ll say assertive. So assertive that I wouldn’t leave her unsupervised with others. Indeed, my great-niece knew to ask if Cady was the cat who would scratch her eyes out.

I told her Cady would have done so at one point, but she was too old now. It would be okay to pet her.

She petted Cady.

And Cady hissed so assertively that my niece fled from the house in tears.

I felt bad. I went outside and she cried, “You said it would be okay.” I apologized. We hugged and she assured me things were fine between us.

Now, I need to rewind this story. A few weeks ago, I found a googly-eyed toy the children had left at my house. I handed it to my niece on this visit, telling her I had found a toy belonging to her and her brother.

Well, when her brother saw it in her hands, he wanted it immediately, if not sooner. After I decided that she’d held it long enough, I told her to give it to him. She did. He had it when she fled from the house in tears.

And when he saw that his sister was upset, he handed her the toy.

Ahh, how sweet.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.