Well, this month’s blog was inspired by my cat! And the experience with my cat made me realise that the gift of unconditional attention is something that perhaps we can make a regular, but spontaneous, part of our relationships, particularly with our children.
Each morning our cat and our two dogs - not to mention the doves and other birds - clamour to be fed as soon as we step outside onto the terrace, and that often takes precedence over their good morning greeting!
Throughout the summer – and even up to now in December – we take our coffee outside and sit on the terrace to greet the day. And that’s when the cat, hunger satisfied, claims our attention and will resist the efforts of the dogs to push in!
He tends to prefer my husband’s lap, but will switch between the two of us until his “cuddle hunger” is satisfied, and then he simply takes off into the garden to seek new adventures. Interestingly, this little ritual seldom takes more than a few minutes and although he curls up and cuddles in to each of us, it’s not with the intention of going to sleep or settling in for the duration! Perhaps he has a short attention span! Or perhaps the busy bird table is more interesting!
At other times during the day he will also sit at the door and call for attention - and food is not his focus! I just have to sit down (usually with a coffee again), offer him my lap and repeat the little ritual for a few minutes until he is happy to go off again.
So when he calls for his few minutes’ cuddles, I now refer to them as “Mommy moments”. “Do you want a Mommy moment?” I say to him, and sit down and allow him to jump up for a cuddle. He snuggles in, purrs loudly, and in just a few minutes off he goes again.
So, if my little cat can take comfort from a simple cuddle for a few minutes, it occurred to me that this spontaneity is something to encourage and practise with our children – to sit down and offer a hug and a cuddle for no reason other than to share a special moment.
“Mommy moments” express the joy of loving and the joy of being loved.
They need no words; they have no conditions attached to them; they are not given as a reward; they are not for resolving problems. They are simply “Mommy moments”.
And because you “step out of time” to share this experience, it’s very likely that after a few minutes your child will also “take off to seek new adventures” fully satisfied with the freely given moment of attention and so not needing to hang on for more! And the hidden benefit of stopping for a few moments and enjoying the experience is that stress falls away and balance is restored – both in giving and receiving.
Despite the fact that I only have the cat to offer “Mommy moments” to, I nevertheless experience the benefits of pressing the “pause button” and enjoying a few moments of letting go and listening to the rhymthic purring.
But...... on further consideration, I wonder if I am misreading the cat’s actions? Am I naive in assuming that the cat wants a cuddle for his own satisfaction? Perhaps the cat is offering ME a “Mommy moment” to show he cares, and perhaps he swaps laps to make sure we both feel he is giving us equal attention? If so, isn’t it wonderful to think that an animal can interact with us in such a loving way?
But.....knowing that cats are self-serving and independent by nature, perhaps he is just “keeping us sweet” so that we continue to “serve” him and respond on demand!
Well they do say “Dogs have masters, but cats have slaves”.
Something to think about.......