Fluff and unbreakable habits

Confession: I have outgrown many things, but never my love of kittens.

I found these in my shed last week…

…four darling balls of fluff! I can hear my father groaning in the background. Ryan too. Neither of them has been successful in breaking me of this habit of cats.

I love cats. They are independent and mysterious, affectionate only secretly, coming quickly around the shed corner to find you, and then glancing up casually toward a dust speck in the air, pretending they didn’t really care anyway…

The boys were breathless when I brought them the basket. Kelly looked and looked, and then, touching one of the kittens, her whole face lit up in delight and wonder. First I-love-kittens smile, and I got to watch it!

Two of the babies are gray with white markings, like their mother. One is a tabby, and one an enchanting silver. I want to keep the last one, because he is fragile and calls my name. Another has also been promised a home. Any takers for the remaining two?

It would have been nice to have a mix of kitten colors instead of all gray, but I will say I prefer monotonous natural coloring to the artificial version created indoors by Regan.

It’s a tune of his own invention, called Permanent Marker on White Stuffed Animal, patent pending.

On sanctification and night driving

Confession: Sometimes I hate what I am doing.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. By the kids’ bedtime I was frazzled and ready to snap.

Here is one of the holy escapes I have found: I head for the road.

I call it a holy escape, though the sins that lead to it are certainly not, because Ryan approves and what I do is this: I drive into the night and I cry out to Jesus, and when I have gotten as far away as I need to I turn around and come back home.

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Night driving is best without a map or a destination, exploring roads you never have before. Part of the thrill is novelty, part is discovery, part is navigation. Bonus points for finding a fresh route of return.

Last night I got a medium Shamrock shake from McDonald’s and a small pack of salty fries. The latter was to die for; the former (which I usually love) had been minted with an over-generous hand and tasted like medicine. Armed with these, I headed down a long straight road, for once too tired to explore, and began talking to the Lord, who was riding shotgun. Sometimes I shouted at him. Sometimes I whispered to him. Sometimes I cried. Halfway to nowhere I pulled over by the side of the road and made a list.

Times I Hate Being a Mom:

  1. When my personal space and dignity are violated
  2. When I have nothing left to give, but must go on
  3. When child x is being out-of-control bad, and I am afraid I’m raising a demon or a criminal
  4. When I have big, beautiful, intoxicating ideas that I must lay aside for motherhood

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Times I Am Most Happy As a Mom:

  1. When my children gain new independence or learn new skills

seeing Aarick sing in his school program

watching Regan read

enjoying Kelly’s growing vocabulary and sense of humor

2. When we five are engaged in a family activity, especially outdoors, and everyone is healthy and happy

3. When I step back enough to get an outside perspective, and count my blessings

I thought I had equal numbers on each side of my scribbled McDonald’s napkin, but I see that my weariness deceived me. I must think of another happiness.

Then I turned my car around and drove home, praying that the Lord would keep me awake as my body relaxed and my eyelids sagged.

On the way I thought what I need for the times of hate is this: Faith. Is that true?

Faith to believe that if I submit to the petty indignities (snot on my shoulder, coughs in my face, no part of my body left sacred) God will take them to himself and turn my meaningless sacrifices into something worthy?

Faith that all God’s ways are good? That he can sustain me beyond what I am capable of?

Faith that God created each of my children for a specific purpose, and that one of these days, he wants to unleash them on the world to build his kingdom?

Faith that God gave me my dreams for a reason, and that someday this time of silence-chaos will make sense…?

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Do you have ways of escape? How does Jesus meet you and call you back?

Sometimes I think we each have the life we want, just not quite.