Two nights in a row Plum went to bed quite unhappy with me. Highly unusual, this is our snuggle time, the precious moments when his last wonderings of the day spur questions that fascinate me, when he wants to be a bit closer, when he reverts to being just a tiny bit smaller. I love bedtime, when our guards fall down under the nightlight glow and we can be our truest selves. Not so on these last couple of nights though. The first was after being at church too late, bedtime pushed far enough back that self-control was lost. Somewhere between the church front doors and ours, he morphed from my sweet boy into a horrid monster who found no delight in my presence. I was good with that, not the morphing really, but I didn’t take it personally, it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with tiredness and my role as the enforcer of pajamas and brushed teeth and butt into bed. He very nicely in his horrible monster voice told me he only wanted grandpa and that I could not snuggle with him. His precious sing-song voice roared that he wanted to put a sign on the door saying no grandmas allowed. Delightful child. I accepted the rules of engagement, sent in Chef and told them both to hush and go to sleep. The miracle of the sunrise brought my sweet boy back to me. Until bedtime the following night.
I have read that it only takes one time of doing something to create a habit with a cat, maybe Stella taught me this. I think Plum thought he was on to something, was in touch with his feline side. I declined his offer of exile and chose instead to pick up one of our love books and begin reading over the growls and hisses next to me. A weird thing happened though. He stopped. He settled in. He forgot that he was mad at me while listening to me tell him all the ways that I love him.
I get it, he is growing older. He wants his grandpa more. Trust me, I know, everyone wants grandpa more. Still, I want those precious moments as long as I can have them, those still quiet minutes before he drifts off. Those are the times I remind him that my love will follow him anywhere. Right now he thinks those books are about him and I which is true. My love will follow him even when he turns into a horrid monster and turns me away. But one day it will occur to him that I was whispering to him each night as he slide into slumber about God’s love. That a greater love than mine follows him. That a deeper love than mine forgives his monster morphing and knows the Sonrise will always lead him back. I am sure of this because sometimes I morph also, too tired to resist the bait, fall into temptation of anger and strong words, morphing into my own worst self. Then I rely on the love of God to bring me back, I listen for His loving words to invite me back into fellowship and grace.
Fortunately our morphings are pretty rare, we mostly delight in nighttime book reading and quiet questions. Maybe a new habit has begun though, one in which I am banished from his room and Chef is the hero. A new stage in our journey, perhaps. Like sneaky cats that seek out a new solution to any problem, I just have to find new ways to show him God’s love endures. Awareness of our changing relationship requires that I give him the space to push me away and know that I will never go too far. I can morph into that.