It’s 7am and my eyes barely crack open as I sense a presence near my face.

I feel the nuzzle of a soft beard and hot breath on my cheek as my husband whispers goodbye.

He’s on his way to work, and I still have at least half an hour before I have to get up, so I groggily turn my head to meet his lips in a quick good morning and goodbye kiss, yawn and stretch my limbs as far as I can, and curl back around my cat who is defending her space near my legs on the bed by being as solid and unmoving within it as possible.

This is my favorite kind of morning, being woken by a kiss and then curling back up with a cat under warm covers. The only thing better would have been if it were at least two hours later – I’ve never been a morning person and never will be. I can stay up working on things until well past 2am and even 3am, but asking me to get my butt out of bed before 9am is like asking a bear to come out of hibernation two months early. It makes me grumpy. Or at the very least sleepy.

But if I do have to get up early – and lately I do – being woken by love is the best way for it to happen.

As my husband turns off the alarm and heads out the door for work, I reach out to cuddle the cat, Luci, who has nuzzled herself deep into the nook at the back of my knees where my legs are bent. As my hand scratches her ears and then rubs her belly, a soft purring slowly engages, quickly rising to a buzz that I feel in the mattress. For such a small thing she has a big purr.

My other cat, Dexter, decides to join us and does his usual straddle over Luci, pinning her down beside me as he proceeds to purposefully and thoroughly clean her face while I continue to rub her belly. She reaches her front paws up and cradles his head as he grooms her chin, her purr kicking up a notch as she indulges in the two of us indulging ourselves with her. The blankets are warm around us and I spend the next few minutes in this simple space of peace and purring.

The sharp smell of coffee drifts up the stairs, and I realize that once again my man has made sure to get it going before he left, his gift to me each workday morning. He doesn’t drink it, yet every day he makes sure a pot is made for me, so I can just grab and go as I rush out the door. He knows me and how in the morning it’s always a rush. That whole “not a morning person” thing leads to most mornings being a tight schedule for me as even if I do get up in time, I tend to walk in a bit of a zombie haze for the first hour.

I will never be one of those successful, shiny people who are up at 5am meditating, working out, cooking breakfast for five, putting on their stunning clothes, and then conquering the world around them as they head out the door by 6am. I’ll always just be me – slow to wake, slow to focus, slow to do anything before noon. I’m finally coming to accept that. In doing so, ironically I’m finding that I enjoy my mornings more as I allow myself to wake to a kiss and indulge in some cat time.

I get up and perform my morning routine, interrupted at various points by now-playful kittens, now-hungry kittens, now-playful-again kittens with full bellies, and the obligatory cleaning of all cat boxes. I look at myself in the mirror, judging my image at first until I remind myself of a promise I made a long time ago, and instead focus on my eyes and notice they are pretty, and that my hair is healthy as is my entire body, and for that I am grateful. I choose to see my beauty rather than my flaws.

As I go about my preparations, I come across a note from my man. “Have a beautiful day… xxox” it simply says, and in writing it, he has made it so.

I pour myself a cup of the coffee Jeff made, having given myself the time to have a bit before I leave while I do my daily devotional and spend a few minutes in meditative prayer before heading out the door. I pull out the half and half cream – again, something my husband never drinks but buys just for me – and fill up one of my favorite cat mugs given me some time ago by a friend who knows me too well.

I notice Jeff is out of iced tea, and so I put on a pot of water to boil him up some so he has it when he gets home from work. There’s a few dishes in the sink, I wash and put them away, thankful for the meal he’d made the night before.

I head out to my patio to read my devotional and look up at the cerulean sky, the blue fresh and wet from the rain the night before. There’s one magnificent white puffed cloud, but otherwise all is clear as crystal.

I love the sky, how it is always there, over me, ready for me to enjoy it’s many moods no matter what my own.

I especially love days directly after a rain, when everything feels cleansed and new and the mountain ranges surrounding LA have their very best clothes on, like they’re ready for church on Sunday.

As I sit out on my patio, breathing in both the smell of my coffee and the fresh morning air, I notice the flowers blooming. Not many at this cold time of year, but a couple of them, and I consider the ones sitting on my desk just inside, the Stargazers my husband bought me when he last went to the market. It’s something he does on a regular basis, for no other reason than he knows I love them.

I bury my nose in their sweet fragrance when I head back inside before putting the remainder of my coffee into a travel mug to leave for the day.

Dexter trots over with his favorite toy in his mouth, dropping his Little Buddy at my feet with an imploring meow as he nudges up against me for attention, while Luci rolls onto her back wanting more belly rubs, both of them doing their best “…I’m Such a Cute Cat You Can’t Leave Yet” routine.

I laugh and give them rubs, picking up Dexter and throwing him over my shoulder in our special hug, and he purrs while Luci stretches and tweets her bird-like mewl. I cannot resist their loving attention, and they know it.

I put down my things and pull out the treats, dropping a few in Dexter’s bowl and then heading to where Luci leads me, usually outside, where she is far from Dexter and his alpha-cat ways of gobbling his down quickly so he can eat hers as well. I break a few apart for her tiny mouth, and pat her bottom one more time as she chirps at me before delicately taking one in her mouth and daintily chewing it.

I leave her there and head back inside, where I deposit one more treat in Dexter’s bowl to distract him from seeking out Luci’s. I give him a knuckle-rub on the chin and ears, and tell him how pretty he is and such a good boy and how much I love him before I head out the door to tackle the world.

(And now those of you who know me understand why I am always running late in the mornings. Cats.)

Love is our most sought-after emotion, the one thing we all want equally, a common denominator that runs through every single living thing on this planet.

In fact, there has been so much written about love that it seemed a bit pointless for me to write yet one more article trying to describe it. There’s not much I can add to a discussion on love which hasn’t already been thoroughly observed, remarked upon, commented on, and basically pulled apart and put back together again a thousand ways.

So instead I am sharing what it is like for me to be in love.

It is in this daily routine that it is best expressed to me. It is in the little things my husband does, says, and thinks about for me. It is the way it makes me feel to return that to him. It is in how my cats show me they want to be near me (and not just for food), and the way it makes me feel to respond to them. It is in the gifts from my friends that fill my home, and the way it makes me feel to give back to them. It is in the joy of the world around me and the way it makes me feel to appreciate it.

Love is found on the grand scale and the small scale. It exists everywhere, in everything, you can experience it at any time, anywhere, if you allow yourself to be open to it. And whether you have a partner or not, pets or not, a place of your own or not, doesn’t matter – love is still there, in the sky above you and the earth beneath your feet. It is in the smile of a stranger and in the voice of your favorite song on the radio. It is a pulse, a heartbeat, which moves through every part of creation and to find it, all you have to do is be still and listen.

And yet, this thing we call Love is as enigmatic as it is common. It’s as hard to define as it is easy to describe. It’s a difficult subject while being easy to imagine.

So I won’t try to talk more about Love itself. Instead, I’ll leave it here, with me sipping my coffee as I step out of my home that is filled with love and into a day surrounded by it.

Because I am in love with life.

By JEANETTE DUBOIS

Jeanette is a film & tv editor, writer, director and producer who’s worked on Emmy & Telly Award winning shows, movies, and music videos for a variety of networks.  She’s also a trained operatic who mostly sings to her cats now, though sometimes she expands her audience to her family & friends.  She loves gardening, good books, good wine, and good conversations, preferably all at the same time.

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