The cat my husband and I often call "The Little One" is really twice as heavy as our other cat. She was a tiny ball of white fluff when we got her, but she's no longer little. (In fact, she's no longer even white.) Yet we still find ourselves thinking of her and calling her "The Little One."
I wonder what other outdated notions are stuck in my brain--things that used to be one way but are that way no longer. I think of the front of our 100-year-old home as beautiful, but with paint peeling in places as it waits for us to finish scraping and priming, it probably isn't. I still think of my 30-year-old sewing machine as my "new" sewing machine. My baby brother is still "a kid" to me, though he is a responsible adult with a wife and a son starting his junior year of college.
People and things change, but sometimes we don't notice. Sometimes not noticing can be a good thing, as in seeing a friend as the young soul she is, though she really has wrinkles and gray hair. But sometimes it can be a problem, as in not noticing that a cute little puppy has become an undisciplined monster who scares people. Or that a two-year-old's funny little hissy fits aren't so cute coming from an eleven-year-old. Or that someone who has always been independent and strong has hit a rough patch and needs some help.
I always think of a friend who sometimes told her kids to put on "Grandmother's glasses" when she asked them to straighten up the house. When she asked them to put on Grandmother's imaginary glasses, she was asking them to look at the house with new eyes, to look at it as someone else would see it. Sometimes we all need to put on Grandmother's glasses to take a look at people and things in our lives. And sometimes it's fine to go right on with our own special view of things. The difficulty is in knowing the difference.
We are trying to stop calling our big cat "The Little One." That view of her does need to change, but our love for her and our delight in her funny little ways is as fresh as ever.