Pediatricians will often suggest to new parents that swaddling their infant will result in near-instant calm. There is something soothing about being neatly tucked into a blanket.
Our our eighteen-year-old cat is a big fan of swaddling. She’s always liked to be covered up, or nestled into tight spaces. But as she’s aged, it’s this process of almost swaddling her that helps her settle down, relax and finally sleep. She has a favorite blanket– interestingly it’s also one of my favorites–a fluffy, fleece throw that’s perfect for napping.
These days the majority of my work is done from home, for which I’m grateful. It means I can tend my aging animals with care. I wonder what I would have done earlier in my life, when my career and everything else about my life required me to be gone from home for most of the day. I’d have done the best I could, because my tender heart has always been there.
But there is something synchronistic and quite wonderful about an aging person caring for aging animals. We are on the same page–sort of, though I intend to have longer on the planet than they likely will.
It’s one of the many gifts animals give us.
They help us know about aging bodies, changes in energy and how to accommodate for them. And when the time comes, they help us learn about death and grieving.
So for the time being, I am honored to be tending these wonderful old souls–two old horses and an old cat are my service to the world these days. And I’m happy to do it.
Now let me go find that comfy throw. I think I hear a cat asking to be swaddled.