We love our cat.
Oh, how we love our cat. In fact I'm not sure it's healthy to love something this much that probably doesn't love us back the same.
We are of use to the cat, because we feed him, water him, turn on the bathroom tap for him when he wants to play. We would do pretty much anything he asks. He tolerates our adoration, like a queen does, waving wanly from her carriage, or a film star signing an autograph. In return, the cat grants us an audience now and then by sitting on a lap.
When the kids and I sit at our desks during the week, the cat comes and finds us. And no matter what we are doing, or how focussed we are on our work, we all stop and suddenly adjust our sitting position so we each have a flat, inviting lap to curl up in.
We watch as he inspects our desks like a drill sergeant. He checks our work, padding over the pages, his tail lightly touching an arm, or a cheek. He leaps from desk to desk, checking. When he's satisfied, he almost always picks my lap, settles down, and snuggles in. Then the next few moments are filled with my daughter saying, “Oh, he's so cute. He's just so cute!”
My son sighs and says, “Why does he always pick your lap, Mum?” and I say for the hundredth time, “Because my lap is the biggest and I sit still the longest.” One day, I tell them both, he'll pick their laps, and do it often. But one day isn't now, and there's so much wanting in between now and then.
The other day, he picked my daughter's lap. He picked it over mine, stunningly—as my daughter and I sat side by side on the couch. It was beautiful. The look on my daughter's face. So much love in one little person—how could there be room? The cat stayed for ages, and she, practically trembling, carefully stroked his head, his soft belly.
Yes, we love the cat. The cat keeps me at the computer for hours because, I swear, I'm just about to get off and not read a single other inspirational/amusing insight into life, homeschooling, parenting, when the cat comes and claims my lap. Then I have to stay, and stay for hours. The cat is possibly (probably) the reason I write so often in this blog. And my husband has become used to saying Good night, and going up to bed before me.
The other night, after my husband had seen me settled in at the computer, said good night, and gone to bed alone, the cat claimed me, as always. But this time, I thought, I should hang out with the person I married. Not this sweet but fickle ball of purr. So I lifted the cat, all soft and warm he was, and placed him gently on the chair. And went upstairs to bed.
There was my husband—my partner, who listens to everything I say with patience, treats me with such care and kindness, wants, actually wants, to hang out with me and tell me things, and always has a hug ready when the world is tilting. He was so delighted to see me. It made me happy, how pleased he was. And, after we'd talked and gotten sleepy, and snuggled up under our blankets, he said into the dark:
“I can't believe I beat out the cat!”