I read the Little Prince for the first time in 7th grade. The story seemed so insultingly simple to my 12 year old self that I laughed in the face of the teacher (not literally, as I was a very well-behaved student!). How dare she make us read this? She promised this would be a book we would keep coming back to, finding new meanings as we grew older, but to no avail in my forgiveness notebook. Growing old was a vague concept then, with time dragging as in a slow motion film. What did I know, hey?
Fast forward 20 odd years (blimey!) and here I am, finding myself returning to the Little Prince periodically, the full book read numerous times plus some, other passages forever imprinted in my brain and heart.
“We are responsible for those whom we tame.” Always and always this. The responsibility of love.
Little Olivia has been with us 20 months now. As a rescue cat, the process of taming her is never-ending, much like all relationships if we think about it – they need constant care and attention. If sleeping on our laps was almost instant (she was comfortably sleeping on us from week one), other things took a bit longer – like rubbing her belly.
The most fascinating thing though is that 20 months on I still feel we’re making progress, even if I hadn’t quite realised we weren’t there yet. Where is there, you know?
A few weeks ago she got stressed about something – countless hours of head scratching lead us to believe cutting the grass from its jungle state upset her beyond belief or maybe it was a new cat on the block! – and she’s uncomfortable coming in the house (a google search indicates this is actually quite common). She loved us still and meowed so we would go outside to give her a fuss and a cuddle, but coming in the house? We were on bare minimum – eat, sip water.
Once again, we found ourselves in the position to help her overcome her discomfort, gently, giving her time and space, nurturing our relationship and being present.
Patient, Feliway, and lovely friends who cat-sat when we were in Portugal, and we seem to be back to life as normal.
Whilst I think about this little hiccup with little Olivia, I’m also left thinking about relationships in general and how spot on the Little Prince was. Taking things for granted doesn’t cut it. Relationships need care and attention and every so often things will happen that will throw you off balance. At the same time, you will be reminded of how precious relationships are and just how lucky you are to be able to be responsible for them.