One morning this week I entered the bathroom where our new kittens were sleeping and my heart melted. Here’s what I found:
Tears filled my eyes as I felt a familiar love I haven’t experienced in a long time. It’s been nearly three years since we shared our home with Poupon, our first rescue, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude that our journey of loss and grief had led us here.
Already, in a few short weeks, I’ve had to reinstall curtains, clean up tattered fringe from around the furniture, and scoop more poop and pee than I ever imagined now that we have two. I’ve also enjoyed daily meditations with two purring kittens on my chest and I’ve laughed till I’ve cried watching them chase each other and then wrestle and play.
I forgot how wonderful it feels to care for small, vulnerable beings who rely on us for everything that’s vital to their lives. It’s a good reminder that self-care muscles work both ways. We contract them when we set boundaries or learn to say no to protect ourselves and build strength. But we must also expand them by sharing our time, energy, and affection in order to experience the grace of intimacy and deep love.
As a caregiver of creatures who depend on us for food, shelter, clean litter boxes, and stimulation, I also realize that they depend on us for something more – to be respectful of the fact that they’re animals not human beings, to maintain proper impulse control when they knock over a favorite vase, and to exercise patience and kindness as they learn to navigate the landscape of our home and what they can and cannot chew or rip apart.
Yes, we’re back at school learning to be good creatures ourselves and I couldn’t be happier.