I have to tell you the truth.
Try as you may to make it otherwise, you are going to be disruptive.
Even more: you are going to be most disruptive to the ones you love most.
We’re generally comfortable with disruption from creatures who have no choice but to be vulnerable: kittens, babies, tiny Jedi.
Of course your eight-month-old is going to need to be held at 2 in the morning. So, he disrupts your sleep; it’s his vocation, and he means to fulfill it with integrity.
Of course your foster kitten is going to need to be fed every two hours, with a bottle or a tube or — when the right magical season arrives — a saucer of slop that she will use to coat her entire body. For her next act, she will roll in the litter box until she is properly “breaded,” a stinking fish finger of a kitten that you can’t help but adore. So, she disrupts your entire existence (and also attempts to gnaw your sweater); such is her calling, and she will keep her charge.
We’re even at peace with longer-term disruptions in the name of treasuring tiny ones. The kittens pictured here, for instance, were dazzling feats of disruptive delight on arrival. With this crew, there’s not merely one fungus among us — no, we have a veritable melange of mushrooms, named Cremini, Portobello, and Chanterelle.
Of course they would be plenty disruptive merely by packing such industrial-strength cuteness. How is one expected to continue working, or holding a coherent conversation, or giving an address to the United Nations General Assembly, when looking upon such a trio?
But, far from mere ornaments of adorability (which would be an outstanding name for a band), the fungal family was downright disruptive.
They disrupted our plans to hug them. (Terrified, much?)
They disrupted our expectation of shnoogling them. (Chanterelle had a Don’t Tread On Me flag in her backpack, except it was pink and said Don’t Shnoogle Me.)
They disrupted their brave foster family’s schedule for the foreseeable future, with normal activities replaced by the need to lay on the floor, flat as a worm, blinking into fearful eyes and tenderizing potential trust.
They “need work,” as we say when it comes to shy kittens or disheveled humans (and not one among us is truly sheveled).
There is no calendar for when such disruptions will be dismissed.
There is no forecast for when the shroom squad will sail on into self-sufficient un-neediness.
But then, no such state exists.
There is, frankly, fortunately, no end to the disruption of loving and being loved.
So resign yourselves to reality, kittens.
You are going to irk and quirk and disturb and disrupt the people and animals around you. Your needs are going to make them change their plans and their minds and their menus. They are going to have to be inconvenienced for you, over and over and over again.
And so it should be.
Love is disruptive. We may try not to disrupt or disturb or dishevel the ones we love, but it’s a losing battle. Better that we all feast on the victor’s spoils together, needing each other loudly and meeting each other’s needs messily.
So you’re allergic to mushrooms? The marsala will mosey off the bill of fare.
So you don’t like driving in the dark? We’ll make it a mid-morning tea date.
So you’re scared and awkward and need to talk and cry and make very little sense? Call me. The other things can wait. The disruption is the priority, the love, the life of the moment.
Love means letting someone be there for you — putting down their book to hear your stories, putting down their guard to warm your shivers, putting down the practice of putting anybody down, in the interest of lifting each other up even when it’s inconvenient.
Want one more pinch of proof? Consider Tabby’s Place alumna Daisy, pictured here in her favorite wizard robes, as selected by her favorite little girl. An ordinary kitten might consider “getting dressed” a disruption. But Daisy, rich in love, danced right into this change in plans. I think you’ll agree that, in so doing, she found a level of “fabulous” to which few can aspire.
So may we accept ourselves and each other as we do kittens and children: incorrigible disrupters, all.
Need boldly. Disrupt with abandon. And rest assured that any love worth its name will never mind the interruption. Ruption is overrated, anyway.
Happy Valentine’s Day, you disruptive dear hearts.
PS: Since the writing of this blog, a fourth and then a fifth fungus shot forth from the earth like toadstools of hope and glory. Welcome to the Tabby’s Place family, Porcini and Maitake.