Those who know us will know that Tony and I are cat mad, sometimes in the true sense of the word when they drive us to distraction climbing curtains and using the armchairs as scratching posts. Incidents that usually encourage one of us to say "oh bless them", which doesn't seem to discourage them somehow.
However, there is one thing that regularly gets destroyed in our house and that is any paper carrier bag. You see Charlie loves to hide in paper bags, it floats his boat and makes him purr like a Ferrari ticking over, but Amie doesn't like Charlie to hide from her. So the moment she sees a paper bag she jumps on it and sinks her teeth into it. Not so good when Charlie is actually inside.
Within about 20 minutes Charlie is fully revealed in all his splendour and his beloved carrier bag is in a heap on the floor. We of course are reaching for a vacuum cleaner!
At Christmas I bought Tony a rather nice suitcase for his trip to New Zealand in 2011, and it came in a large cardboard box. "At last!" we thought "something Charlie can hide in and enjoy it".
I know you've already guessed. Amie saw the box, saw Charlie go inside, leapt on top and sank her little teeth into a convenient gap. She mustered her not inconsiderable strength, gave us a look that said "think again" and started ripping.
Although it is a much slower job and Charlie will get a lot more fun out of it before we have to buy each other something in a large box again, by the next morning there was a respectable amount of wreckage strewn across the lounge. By last night Tony was sticking the box back together with sticky tape! However, it's Christmas so we said "b****r the cleaning" and got on with enjoying ourselves.
There is though a moral to this story. How many of us spend our lives ripping away other people's carrier bags and cardboard boxes because we feel lonely or want attention? We just won't let them 'hide' anything of themselves from us. How many of us feel that when we go into any relationship we should grow more alike, and feel frightened and threatened at some level when our lovers and friends remain resolutely different?
Ask yourself how often you've consciously or subconsciously tried to change someone to suit you?
It probably hasn't worked, it's probably led to a number of short-lived relationships, or even long agonising ones, and at the end of the day you've had a pitched battle similar to the armies getting bogged down in the trenches during the First World War, rather than a loving and supportive relationship.
So why not give up the battle, let them have their paper carrier bag or cardboard box, and get on with liking and loving the people you chose to bring into your life - exactly as they are. Build your own inner strength so that who you are is never threatened by the unknown in anyone.
To all the dear people that I love - exactly as they are.
Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights (and a complete cardboard box if you want one!)