I love my animals. I love the chaos that they sow, I love the peace that they bring. I love having learned the lesson that chaos and peace are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Every once in awhile, though, I have a wave of nostalgia for the mornings that I used to have. When I could be out of bed and ready for college classes in half an hour... now, my mornings take far, far longer to get started.
Alarm goes off. Before I even have it turned off, I feel the bed jolt as Annie leaps up onto the bed, and quickly after that, I can hear her loud, deep purring. and loud, crow-caw-like meows. I imagine that the dialogue goes something like this: "Oh hi! You're awake! Since you're awake already, you want to pet me. Right? Pet me? Please? Oh yes, say that you will. Hi!"
I get up, and Annie follows along behind me. "I'm your favorite, right, right? Please pet me. Mom! I need some reassurance, please pet me! Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou."
Once I get to the bathroom, Charlotte is sitting in the middle of the floor, giving Annie a disdainful look. She looks up at me. "Can you believe this kid? Seriously, some of us have some pride." Her tail shakes indignantly, but she purrs when I lean over to scritch her under the chin. "Though we still DO like attention. Hi."
She watches me carefully as I clean out litter boxes. "You missed a spot," she informs me, smugly.
I start to shower, which means that Charlotte clears out, but Annie lies down on the towel that I've put beside the tub. "I'll just guard you while you shower, okay? I'm proving how much I love you. Pet me!"
And when I get out of the shower, she is still there. She always looks a little miffed when I go for the towel. and she has to get up. Every single morning.
Meanwhile, out in the hall, I hear Bit trilling. "Mom, mom mom mom mom mom!" When I go out to see what all of the racket is about, I see that she has one of the infamous stinkbugs, turned upside down, on the floor. "Mom! Oh hi! Look, it's a stinkbug!" She is clearly very proud of her catch, and I scratch her gently, then go back to my morning routine.
Annie seeks reassurance constantly while I flat-iron my hair, and iron my clothes for work. Charlotte tries to herd me towards the stairs. "Don't you think it's time for breakfast?" she chides. "After all, I'm sick and we wouldn't want to upset me, right? Oh.. do I have to take that nasty medicine today?" She sighs, and endures the "dosing" stoicly, then starts herding me towards the stairs again. When I finally go along with it, she sighs heavily, and starts to thump down them. "It's about time!"
I can hear Bit in the background. "Mom mom mom mom mom! I'm playing with one of your slipper socks mom! Best toy ever! Mom mom mom! Don't you want to see? It's your favorite one!"
Once downstairs, I hear a loud thump from the couch, and Argos bounds up to me (this is assuming that Jeff got up with him, otherwise I'm retrieving him from his crate.)
"Oh hi hihi! It's been so long! I was afraid that you were gone. Is it time to go for a walk yet?"
I give Charlotte her milk, which makes her purr contentedly.
I greet Romeo, who keeps a wary eye on Charlotte, but endures my petting with grace. He'll even purr. "Take that evil cat away," he pleads. "I want to be downstairs by myself. My territory! Make her go away!" If I pet too long, he nips my hand, albeit very gently, my sign that it's time to move on (I've heard that this is more overstimulation than aggression.)
Argos and I go outside for the morning walk, which makes him dance. "Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!" His tail wags excitedly and his eyes sparkle with happiness. "I get to sniff things, and mark things, and maybe there will be other dogs! Do you think that treat guy will be there?" It takes twice as long as it should, because he's a male dog that has to pee on everything. And everyone greets him by name. He sees it as his sworn duty to greet each and every person that allows it. "I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings," he says, with a wag of his tail and a doggie grin. The crossing guard, his bestie, always has a milkbone or two in his pocket.
We get back, and it's time to send Charlotte back upstairs. She gives me a dirty look, but starts hopping up the stairs.
Argos is starting to get sad eyes on me, because he knows that I'm going to work. "Awww.... I thought that we were going to spend the day together. You don't want to leave me, do you? What if you never come back? Who will feed me? Who will take care of me?" He jumps up on the couch and circles once, then throws himself down in abject misery.
I make sure that he has water, that Romeo has food and water, that everything that a greyhound might mistake for something edible is put away safely. Romeo by now has jumped up into the papisan chair and watches me as I ready myself for work. I finally break outside... an hour and a half later. I'm almost always running, hoping that I don't miss the bus.
But, I don't think I'd trade it back to the easier days. Easier, yes. But the joy that I'd be missing out on... nope. Couldn't give that up for anything.