Smother Love: How to Adore and Annoy Your Loved Ones
There are many different kinds of love. The Greeks do an excellent job with this: agape, ludus, etc. I write about their love categories here. This year I’m thinking about other forms, like unconditional, tough, and smother love. My favorite is smother.
Smother love is the love I inflict upon my pets. It’s the smooch they don’t really want but tolerate. Smother love is a joke in our house because it’s such a mom trope. Many mothers really do inflict their children with smother love. It’s not great. For the record, I try not to smother love the human children. The animal kids are a little different. And, no, I do not have a goat (kid), but if you know me well, you probably know I have aspirations.
Examples of smother love at our place:
- When we catch our cat Leo strutting on the counter or bullying his sister, “NO, LEO!” is probably immediately followed up with a big hug and a smoochy kiss.
- For Luna kitty, the sweetest of all beings ever to have lived, it may be gently wrapping her in a blanket and cradling her while scratching her cheeks. For a long time.
- For Maisey pup, the sweetest of all beings ever to have lived—wait did I say that already? —it may be snuggling up next to her while she tries to nap and whispering, “You are precious.” into her soft ears.
To be fair to the mother in this instance, I do try to respect their boundaries. When ears go back, or tails lash, or there are any signs of stress, I will back off. But my adoration is demonstrative. And perhaps, on occasion, annoying.
Loving and Being Loved Extravagantly
In a world that can be painful and lonely, I hope we can give ourselves grace when we love extravagantly, no matter how it is received (no stalking, of course). And I hope we can be patient with others who love us extravagantly, even if it is not exactly what we want at that moment (communication and boundaries are important too, of course). Loving and being loved by others is an extraordinary gift. It’s easy to take for granted. If you’re not feeling it right now, try sending some love to yourself.
On Valentine’s Day and every day, I hope you have animals and humans to smother in affection. But, if they start to wheeze or squirm away, you know what to do.