Once again, you can't find the wrapping paper.
You thought it was where you put it when you bought it last January, but it's not there. You found the tape where it shouldn't have been and the ribbons were somewhere else, but the wrapping paper is nowhere to be found.
You know, of course, that as soon as you find it, the scissors will be missing.
It's all a part of the holidays, this wrapping lost-and-found you do every year. But in the new book "The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas" by Julia Romp, some losses are worse than others.
Julia Romp was definitely not looking for a cat.
She already had her hands full. She and her 10-year-old son had just moved into a cute little cottage, life was settling down, and Romp was looking forward to having a nice garden.
No, a cat didn't figure in the plans. But then George spied the moggy.
When he was born, George didn't act like other babies. As a single mother, Romp had dreamed of a cuddly newborn to love, but George did little but scream and fight her hugs. As he grew, he became distant, uncommunicative, unable to make social connections, and was given to unpredictable rages.
She took George to doctor after doctor but no one had solid answers until finally, an understanding teacher recognized that George wasn't merely naughty. He was autistic.
Romp tried to muddle through. And then came the afternoon when they spied a scraggly black-and-white kitten.
Soft-hearted Romp took the animal to the veterinarian and when no one claimed it, she agreed to "just visit" it. But when George peered into the cage, the most amazing thing happened: he started to talk to the cat.
For boy and cat, it was love from then on. Ben (also known as Baboo) was George's constant companion, which opened George's imagination and his world. He began responding to his family, making friends, and having lengthy conversations. Romp was elated; it was as if a new boy lived in George's skin.
But then Ben went missing. George was devastated and he lashed out at his helpless mother, who vowed to find his cat, no matter what.
And what it took was a Christmas miracle.
Trying to get into the holiday mood? "The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas" can help, but not til the end.
In the meantime, though, you'll be treated to a cat lover's dream book. Author Julia Romp, who says she "never got on at school," does a fine job in sharing her story, her son's, and that of a beloved cat. There's also a sprinkling of humor in her tale, a whole lot of maternal love, and a nice feel-good between these pages.
I think you'll like that.
Be aware that there are Britishisms in this book that may be hard to understand, but not overtly so. Just ignore them, sit back and enjoy. This holiday, "The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas" is a sweet book to get lost in.
"The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas," by Julia Romp, copyright 2012 by Plume, is 274 pages and sells for $15.
Contact book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer at www.bookwormsez.com.