About 8 years ago, my cat (whom we actually thought was a boy for about a year) had kitties. Ya… big surprise when we came home from an overnight camping trip and found KITTENS! WHAAAAAAT?!? Ummmm… how. You know when Fred Flintstone would shake his head and the sound effect that went along with it? (I can’t even think about how you’d spell that.) Anyway… yes… huge surprise. There were 5 kittens. We got rid of 3 of them at 6ish weeks and then no takers on the last two. When we got Joey (yes… boy name, of course. What else would we name a boy cat… a boy name, of course), I didn’t even WANT a cat. 1) I’m allergic and 2) I honestly just don’t like cats. We had little girls, though, and… well… the things you do for your kids… so ya… we got a cat. A boy, though, so we wouldn’t have any dang kittens!
Anyway, one of those kittens started to grow on me. He (and I CHECKED, so definitely a HE) was so cute and sweet and… perfect! I named him Zachary.
He was so darling. I decided I might try the least hard to find a home for him. His sister, whom we still had was super cute too. Maybe I’d keep her. Why on Earth I would do that with two dogs, a boy cat (who we were likely keeping) that just had kittens, and one kitty I might be keeping (all of whom- dogs and cats) I’m allergic to… what SANE person would even consider keeping not one, but potentially TWO new kitties?
Well, I’ve never claimed to be sane. Actually, yes I have, but that’s really beside the point. So, this little kitty, I was calling her, “Cinderella,” was such a rascal. She was so sneaky that I could barely keep track of her. Pretty common with kittens who are just a few weeks old.
One morning, I needed to organize some things in the garage, so I pulled my van out of the garage and onto the driveway. This was only a total distance of about 10 feet straight back. This takes a horrible turn for the worse right here, so I give you caution as you read forward.
I… this is hard… I didn’t see Cinderella sneak out the garage door. I… ran her over. I heard her wailing immediately. I jumped out of the van to see what on Earth the sound was and I see her. Though much time has passed since then, it is tremendously difficult to have that image back in my mind and to put into words what I saw, but …
Cinderella had squirmed and flopped her way about 3 feet away from where she had been run over. She was actively suffering from the irreversible damage that I had done to her. I was watching her– all happening in a flash– suffering and wailing (and I was immediately suffering and wailing too). It was an absolutely horrific and impressionable sight. I was screaming and don’t even know what for. Help? Nobody could help. Peace? It was absolute madness. That she be okay? Not possible. She would most certainly die. I couldn’t decide if I wanted her to die more quickly or if I wanted her to live. I loved her. This flash might’ve been a lapse of 15 seconds. The best word to describe what I saw was… pitiful. Pitiful. Pity.
This is an interesting word. Webster defines pity as the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others. You might feel that for others at times (as I did for Girlie) and maybe, like me, you feel pity for yourself. That’s a powerful trap. Why do we do this to ourselves? I can tell you that I fight self pity hard and often, I do win. Other times, though, I sink… down down down and if you happen to encounter me at such a moment, you may just get invited to the party.
Yes, the invitation nobody wants to receive, yet we have ALL invited others, joined others, or mocked others for this dreaded pity party. Want to come to one?
Too bad if you don’t! You’re already here.
Happy Mother’s Day! Yes, in fact, it IS Mother’s Day. I woke up with a need to give my mom a call right away! I texted back and forth with her and with my dad. I even spent a good part of the morning working on a little something for my husband’s ex-wife (whom, I might add has absolutely hated me for about 9 years now). Before I get into full swing of this party I’ve invited you to, let me tell you a little about Father’s Day! It’s over a month away, right? Yes, it is. In February, I got a mug for him to replace one that our daughter broke a year ago. In April, I ordered something for my husband he’s been wanting for a while! He’s going to love it! His birthday is the same weekend as Father’s Day and I think I might get a couple paddle boards- one for him and then one for either me or whomever (kids? friend?) he might want to go out on the river with. He is going to absolutely LOVE all of it!
None of this is to pat myself on the back. No no no. Not at all. I just… operate like this. I LOVE to make other people feel special– especially those I really love– like my husband, of course.
Both of my babies were due in mid-May– right around the time of Mother’s Day. I remember the year I was days away from giving birth to my first child. We were in church that Sunday morning and the pastor invited all of the moms to stand to be shown appreciation. I felt stuck. I wasn’t really quite sure what to do. I started to stand up and my husband put his hand on my arm and whispered, “What are you doing? You’re not a mom yet.” Wow. I guess he was right. I felt like a mom. I hadn’t yet held or nursed my baby, but I was a mother, for sure. I did not stand. After church, a few friends and others nearby asked why I had not stood up. I made up something dumb that didn’t make him sound like a jerk– I took that on myself. Three days later, I did give birth to my sweet baby girl.
A year later, on Mother’s Day, I did stand in church. I think I figured I would be honored by him in some way, but I did mention that he is my ex-husband, so perhaps there’s something there. He never did honor me as a mother. In fact, when I said something about it (when our daughter was 3 and I was expecting our 2nd child), he said, “You’re not my mom! If you want to do something for Mother’s Day, call your mom!” Two days later, we had a huge blow out that got quite physical. I couldn’t believe I’ve got a screaming toddler and a baby coming any day and he hit me in the face… three times. Hard. Ya… like I said… he’s an ex!
I think what it boils down to is expectations. There’s such danger in having expectations. Unfortunately, this is an area of my life that I do tend to struggle with from time to time.
My husband (now) is a great man. I LOVE him and he does not treat me like anything like my first husband did. It does boil down to, though, the fact that we are different. He doesn’t do things like I do. I plan. In fact, I LOVE it! If there’s an occasion to celebrate something or someone, I LOVE putting that kind of thing together. Maybe it’s a gift from God that I need to use more often.
Last year, I woke up before everyone on Mother’s Day and made breakfast. I wasn’t mad about it, but when everyone finally got up and came to breakfast, I did feel a little weird… like… hmmmmmm… was I supposed to do that? Were they supposed to do that? Hmmm. Whatever. It’s fine.
After church that day, I mowed the lawn. I didn’t feel obligated. I love mowing the lawn. My husband didn’t want me to because he didn’t want the neighbors to see me doing it, but I didn’t care. It was something I enjoyed doing, so I did it. Afterward, I came in and made lunch. Why? Because everyone was hungry. I wasn’t upset about it… at the time. We did talk about it later and it turned out I was a little upset. It was fine, though.
So it’s Mother’s Day. We went to a craft fair yesterday and a couple of the vendors had a thingy in their booth about Mother’s Day. I KNOW he saw it. I saw a couple of items that I pointed out to him that I liked and I think he took notice.
We all woke up a bit late this morning. My husband made pancakes. Everyone sat for a brief moment- not really together, though because like everyone else, I was rushing to get ready. I grabbed a pancake and made a protein fruit smoothie while everyone brushed their teeth and headed to the car. When I was brushing my teeth, Bill (my husband) came into the bathroom and said, “Did I already tell you Happy Mother’s Day?”
“I don’t think so, Baby.”
“Happy Mother’s Day.”
We go to church and enjoy that together. On the way home, we stopped at that craft fair. I knew what he was up to (which was awesome because I knew it’d be something I liked). When we got home, he popped that into a gift bag I had left on the counter from a student getting me something for Teacher Appreciation Week. He handed me the bag and I absolutely LOVED the sweatshirt inside! He asked if I wanted to do anything today. I mentioned that we could do a project in the yard. It didn’t seem like his favorite idea, so that idea faded quickly.
By about 10:30, it seemed like everyone had retreated to their own form of relaxation in this quiet sunny (but super windy) Sunday morning. At about 11:30, I told my almost 14-year-old daughter (who was in her room reading) she might chat with the rest of the family and see if they wanted to make a plan for the day. I then grabbed a blanket and took it out to the backyard to lie in the sun. The dogs came to disturb the peace– licking me all over the face and ears, messing up my hair, standing on my stomach, and stepping on my breasts. It was cute, though when they stopped for a second to cuddle up. About an hour later, my husband came outside along with our youngest daughter. Nothing was really said; we just laid out in the sunshine for a bit.
The wind was kicking up pretty strong, so I decided to go inside. Bill found me in the bathroom a few minutes later washing my hands. “I wanted to do a picnic in the mountains today, but with Andy having to work at 3:00, that isn’t going to work out.” I was a little upset about that. He told me on Friday that Andy would have to work. I’m thinking… between Friday and now, did you not consider a Plan B? I instantly had tears running down my face. He wanted to know what was wrong and I didn’t want to make him feel bad, so I didn’t know what to do.
“I know you operate differently than I do, but it just… makes me feel… not very special… when literally 1:00 in the afternoon on Mother’s Day you’ve got no idea of how you’d like to spend it with me.” I was my pitiful Cinderella. I was extending an invitation to the party that I knew he didn’t want to come to and I knew what he was probably thinking. I didn’t want to make it any worse than it already was.
“For me, Mother’s Day is about my mom and I can’t even call her.”
“Babe. I’ve thought about that all morning and I’m really sorry you can’t call your mom. I WISH you could. I miss her too. I guess when I think about Father’s Day, I think about not only my dad, but you too. You’re the father to my children and I want to honor you.”
“We can’t really do what I wanted to do,” he said.
“Then,” total sweet tone, “maybe talk with the kids and come up with another idea. I’m fine with whatever.”
He came to find me a while later and said we could work on an art project that we had talked about a month or so ago. He grabbed the kids and headed to the garage. I’m headed out there now to help.
I am praying for all of the moms out there who struggle with self pity, who have a different view on honoring their loved ones than those they share life with, and for those who are doing mothering on their own. It’s hard. I’ve done it married to a jerk, single, and married to an awesome man. No matter the circumstances, being a mother is hard. It’s hard to do it all. It’s hard to work and be a mom. It’s hard to be an at-home mom. All moms who have an active role in their children’s lives should be honored in a way that helps her to feel honored. Moms, when your expectations are not met, look to another mom for encouragement and to the hope that can be found in God’s word.