Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PMS? Take two kittens and call me in the morning.

I'm feeling very irritable and cranky today. And if someone was to tell me to "take a Midol", they'd be right on the money, but I'd still want to club them. That's the joy of PMS. Don't try to relieve it with logic, common sense or the truth. Just pass the chocolate and my blankie and stay out of my way.

The only people I can handle today are the animals. And Marc, because he is very PMS-respectful. He's comforting. Gives lots of hugs. Makes chocolate cake. That kind of thing.

The animals are easier to handle, not because they are better than people. It's simply because they require less from me.

I always thought, people who say they love animals more than people are revealing a lot more about their ability to love than they are the difficulty of people. If we love animals more, like I'll probably be doing today, it is because they are easier to love. They have no opinions of their own, so we are always right. They depend on us, and so we are important to them always. They enjoy our company with very little effort on our part. They let us lead. At least the dogs do. The cats can be a bit aristocratic, but that just makes us feel special when they deign to acknowledge us.

Animals, as a rule, don't argue or fight with us and they forgive us quickly (I'm sure that has nothing to do with our control of the food bag). In fact, animals have affection for us just the way we are. We assume that that's a good thing. We want to be loved and tolerated just the way we are. If I want my own way all the time, if I tear down people who don't agree with me, if I get cranky and want to be left alone when others might need me, if I hurt someone with my rude attitudes and words, my dog will still accept me. That's one of the special things about animals. But it's not a way to live. It's not real. Wonderful is as wonderful does.

Our dogs may not be the best judges of our characters. Yes, my animals will continue to adore me today as they have always. The chickens will follow me around the yard, the cats will curl up beside me on the couch and the dogs will gleefully accompany me on my daily walk. They'll tolerate my crankiness, and if someone errs and pees in the wrong place, pecks my toes or jumps on my chest while I am sleeping, my reaction will be forgiven. This is comforting, and friendly and kind of them.

But I love and need my family just because while they too will continue to love me, their love will cause them to call me to a higher place. They'll let me know that PMS may be an excuse for a lot of things, but treating my family with disrespect, rudeness and irritability are not some of them. They'll expect more from me, and because of that, I'll have more to give them. And on the odd month that Gracie and I PMS at the same time, the opportunities for grace in the face of raging hormones will be nothing short of miraculous.

I love my people more than my animals. Yes, it's harder. Yes, there is more pain, disappointment, and pressure. There is also more learning, growth and maturity. I like to think that when learning to be a better wife, mother, sister, friend and daughter, I am also learning to be better with the animals.

If you'll excuse me, it's time to head back to bed with an armful of cats and dogs and my heating pad. Husband's orders. :)

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