Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bedtime Rituals

When my sons were growing up, they had bedtime rituals that had to be faithfully observed.

My sons are grown now.

I have two cats, with bedtime rituals that must be faithfully observed.

When I go to bed I make sure I carry two cat toys with me. One is a long rainbow colored felt ribbon attached to a plastic wand. That’s for Herbie. The other is a slender plastic tube through which a cord is strung. The cord has a feather at one end and a small wooden bead at the other. Guinness prefers the bead.

Both cats wait outside the bathroom while I wash my face, brush my teeth and take the required pills.

They watch from the hall while I climb into bed.

They wait.

Then I start using the plastic tube to fling the bead across the top of my bed. Guinness springs into action and onto the bed, eyes wide and alert. He chases the bead and pounces. I never let him get it in one try. But he’s fast. In a few minutes he has captured the bead and, clamping the bead and string in his mouth, he jumps off the bed and hauls the bead/string/tube/feather out of the room, out into the hall, down the stairs, through the living room and kitchen and into the laundry room where it rests until I retrieve it the next morning.

Herbie watches all of this, waiting. When Guinness and the bead have disappeared, I dangle the rainbow ribbon over the edge of the bed. Herbie moves closer. He bats at the ribbon, sometimes even moving a little as he chases it. When he has had enough frivolity, he jumps up on the bed, ready to snuggle.

I turn off the light and Herbie moves up toward my head, gently moving me around until he is enthroned on one of the pillows. I shift to the second pillow and prepare for slumber knowing that sometime during the night, Guinness will return and settle somewhere around my knees.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes that’s okay.