As fate would have it, the timing was advanced. A friend of mine was fostering some kittens. We paid a visit and were selected by this lovely little face ... My daughter named her Elena Marie -- Ellie for short. And she proceeded to capture the hearts of all who met her.
She's seven months now and quite a personality. She loves to have her belly scratched and greets me at the door. She wraps her paws around my hand. She's playful and independent too. Ellie is fascinated by the sound of the water hose in the refrigerator. She's snuggly and allows us all to pick her up, giving out sweet kisses. She likes to stalk her "prey" and leaps about. Oh, and she loves knitting and selected a lovely ball of yarn as hers :) There are so many little things about her ... She is also quite vocal about her wishes, needs and wants.
In the morning, she wakes me with a gentle sound ... a sweet little purr (well, it's sweet except for those days when I'd really rather sleep that extra hour or so.) She's more consistent than an alarm clock, telling me it's time to get up. That it is time for her.
You would think that means she wants food, right? Nope. She wants me ... she wants time with me. We go downstairs, I fill her food bowl, provide fresh water and only then make my coffee. All the while, she continues to purr and indicate the importance that I speed things up. As I grab that important first cup of caffeine, she scampers beside me till I sit down in my chair in the sunroom and she climbs on my lap. It's our time. It happens every day this way. This routine ... 30 minutes for her alone. 30 minutes with my cat.
Ellie likes attention. But after her time -- her 30 minutes -- she wanders off to climb under or on top of the couch. She eats. She plays with toys. She does her thing. She's had her time. All is well with the world.
It's funny ... how a pet can change your life. Teach you things. See, I'm like Ellie. There are special people in my life -- they know who they are because I tell them regularly. I don't always get hours and hours or even a full day with them. I get time here or there based on our schedules ... life is busy for me and those dearest to me. But the time we share -- be it moments or hours -- is meaningful. And it grounds me or gives me energy or revs me up or calms me down like a walk on the beach. Depends on the person, the timing and what I need at that time.
I like to think I give them that as well -- these people who surround me and complete me -- who live close by or across the miles. I hope I give them something they need ... and that helps us remain connected when life can create barriers and the potential for drama and distance so easily. It's just like my 30 minutes with my cat ... I give Ellie what she needs and Ellie responds with her unconditional love -- though when I'm out at the theatre a lot, she does let me know she's displeased by my absence. She's like a parent waiting up for me! Sheesh. Can't sneak in without her knowing.
It's simple, really. Sometimes it's locking eyes with someone special and feeling a flow of energy. Sometimes it's a hug or a smile or a light caress on my arm. Sometimes it's a hand that holds mine or a companionable drink or a day at the spa. At yoga, it can be a gentle touch to relax a pose and remind me someone is looking out for me. Sometimes it's a night out or shared french fries. Sometimes it's loud. Sometimes it can be found in companionable silence. Sometimes it's a circle of knitters giggling together. Sometimes it's crazy and wild. Sometimes it's laughter or tears. Sometimes it comes as a phone call or text. Sometimes it's a chance to vent. Sometimes it's quiet ... words unnecessary ... just mutual understanding of shared feelings and experiences.
Bottom line, it's simple ... It's making time for the people ... and pets ... who give our lives meaning, joy, and love. No matter if it's 30 minutes, a vacation to a far off place or a full day playing hooky, it speaks to the importance of those dear to us.
30 minutes may be all I have to give. It may be all you can give. But you know what ... that 30 minutes may make all the difference in my day. It may just be enough ....