Joyful things

This is not the post I had scheduled for this week. In fact I have been very distracted this week, but in the best possible way. And one of the things I have done is add to my care burden. It seems illogical, and that’s exactly why I resisted it. But I was wrong.

This week two very joyful things happened, one long anticipated and one that came together very quickly.

Joyful thing one: a new baby in the family. My new nephew arrived on 8th November. Something to celebrate. A moment to pause and contemplate the opportunities of his life that lay ahead. Al joked that it’s the simple innocence of someone that has never heard of Brexit or Trump. Auntying to him and his older brother is something very enjoyable to me. They demand you are present and share with you simple fun. It’s a great mental switch away from worrying about care and work. It means looking outward from our situation to welcome a new member of the family.

Joyful thing two: this started out of the sadness of losing Sookie, our cat, in September. She had been sick for a while, but she had also been a part of our family, and a comfort and companion. We had long known that after her death there would be new cats, but we were wary. I was wary. Did I really need more to do each morning and evening?

Research is currently looking at the links between pet ownership and mental health. You can read the Mental Health Foundation summary on this. This US article has some links to relevant papers too.

Long story short, meet Jasper and Beryl. They are 11 weeks old. We have had them for just over a week. They are energetic, affectionate, mischievous and utterly adorable. Two very close friends listened to my worries about taking on new responsibilities and then said we deserved a bit of happiness in our home after a tough few months.

Grey Kitten face with half open eyes on a blanket
Grey kitten sleepjng on a lilac blanket next to a person
(lots more pics of both of them on my Instagram btw)

They were absolutely correct. Al is laughing more than I can remember for ages. Even when he is feeling very unwell he can watch them play, or stroke them while they sleep on his legs. I’m not worrying about the future, or dwelling on work in the evenings. I’m spending ten minutes on cat jobs while I cook dinner, and then playing with some adorable new additions to the family. My mood has lifted noticeably. Daily life seems less of a grind with all this energy and fun injected into our house. They are asleep next to me as I write this, after three hours straight of tearing up the house. Jasper purrs deeply.

I’m taking a moment to be grateful. I’m pausing to enjoy the reminders that things can change. I’m allowing myself to dwell on joyful things and drawing strength from them. I’ve got two more things to care for and it was exactly the right thing for us to to do.