My Cats Are Just Like
Learning To Swing Dance
Some of you know that I had to put my 18 year old cat to sleep at the end of January. She was the most loving cat I'd ever known. Sat with me, followed me around, crawled under the covers with me. Ever-present.
I always knew that when she passed, I would bring in new cats to my home, this time siblings (so that when I was gone for hours on end, they would have each other).
The day Smudgie died, a note was posted at a local Starbucks telling me of two 3 1/2 year old brothers who needed adopting. On the note was written, "They are the most loving cats we've ever seen." I didn't need to know more. They were just want I wanted.
I immediately imagined two wonderful cats cuddling with me at the end of the day. Greeting me at the door. Sitting on my lap and by my side. Oh, boy!
When they were brought to me by the rescue group, the two cats immediately ran, terrified, behind the couch. Hmm... wait a second.
We got them out and put them in the bathroom. I had them live there for a couple weeks so they could get used to me. The day I opened the door, they bolted... this time into the closet.
Of course, not only was I dealing with the broken heart of my recent loss, but now with the broken heart of having two cats in my house who looked at me like I was the enemy.
My friends kept assuring me the cats would come around. That I had to be patient. One by one they told me their stories, how they adopted cats who hid for months, years, and now hang around them all the time.
I realized something: I had wanted to have these cats be instant lovies. But now I undertood that this was going to be a journey and definitely not happen over night.
So I started to observe the most minute breakthroughs. One day they looked at me and didn't run. The next, I could crawl into the closet slowly and they would sniff my finger. The next, one came out and sat in the guest room chair. The next, I could crawl up to the chair and pet him. The next, I could slowly walk in the room and pet him. The next, I could walk into the room and pet him. The other one is still in the closet... but seems to be okay about sniffing my finger.
Yesterday morning, to my surprise (seven weeks into this adventure), I found them both out of the closet and lounging in the living room. I quickly grabbed my camera and took a picture.
Progress! Of course, the minute I came into the room, they bolted. But, at least, they are branching out of the closet.
Now you ask, what does this have to do with dancing?
Well, I'll explain. You know how I'm always saying that dancing is a journey and not a destination? What I see with all my new students is they want with dancing exactly what I wanted with me new cats. They want to be dancing right away (and I wanted a full bonding experience with my cats right away).
So, take a step back in class and on the dance floor, and appreciate the very little things. Now you can do a rock step. Now you can lead and stay on the beat at the same time. Now you can do a move without flinging your partner out into a wall.
Well, you get the picture.
Take your time. Enjoy the journey. Because, as we seasoned dancers know full well, you'll actually always be in it.
I'm certainly not done yet. And I've been swing dancing for 16 years!
See, my cats are just like swing dancing.
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