Friday, September 9, 2016

Love at first sight

Three years ago today, I witnessed love at first sight.

Let me begin by explaining what this story is not.

It is not the story of how I met my husband - or of how anyone met their spouse.

This is not the story of someone's birth.

This is the story of my husband and his cat.

In early September 2013, I received a Facebook message from a church friend. One of his coworkers asked him to pray about some cats who needed a home. This man's girlfriend worked at a vet clinic, and three wonderful, sweet cats had been there for two months. They were abandoned and would be put down the following Monday if they did not find a home. They were absolutely free. Alex decided he wouldn't just pray, but he would also help them find a home. He sent pictures of the cats with his message. 

We had been looking all summer for a cat or two. However, we just couldn't afford the fees from our local animal control. It would be $75 per cat, and we were on a single income. We were looking for just the right free cats. These cats turned out to be up to date on their shots, spayed and neutered, and declawed (not something I would have chosen, but to make a long story short, it became a blessing when they got in a bad fight about six months after we got them - Crookshanks and I took a midnight trip to the emergency vet after Minerva tore him up with just her back claws!). 

I wanted the one black cat in the photos. Those other two? Nope, nope, nope. That yellow one would leave hair everywhere, and the striped one...just kind of looked evil to me. I forwarded the message to Trevor, who thought the striped one was a dead ringer for one he had as a child, and he eventually got in contact with the vet clinic. The black one had found a home, but the other two had no serious inquiries. He was told that they were actually good friends, and they liked each other a lot. That was on a Friday afternoon, so they told us to come in on Monday to see them. We went out that afternoon and bought two litter boxes, two cat beds, and two carriers. 

When we walked into the vet clinic, they took us to the back room where they had several animals in cages. The second the door opened, we heard an excited whimper. The sound came from a cage at chest level. The vet tech opened the door, and a striped cat jumped into Trevor's arms. 

"She's going home with us," Trevor said, scratching her chin.

I knew in that instant that I had just witnessed love at first sight. 

Though Minerva is sweet and affectionate with me, our relationship is nothing like the one she has with Trevor. She sleeps with him (often on top of him) each night that he is home. She sits on his lap in the evenings when we watch Netflix, and she is never far away from him. She's gotten so upset when he left for work that she would throw up on the floor right by the door to our garage. Minerva is always there to greet Trevor when he walks in the door, even if it's 4 AM. 

You may be wondering about Crookshanks and me. Well, things weren't quite so easy with him...but that's a story for another day. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday 5: Things I've learned about myself since becoming a parent

Here's to a new month, a new season, and a renewed commitment to my blog! I'm easing back into it slowly, so to start, here's a Friday Five:

Five Things I've Learned About Myself Since Becoming a Parent

1. If my basic needs aren't met, I can't be the "happy mom" I want to be.

When I look back at the end of my worst days home alone with Hudson, I can usually see a few common denominators. I didn't get a shower. I didn't get any alone time with my coffee and my bible. I was thirsty all day. I didn't eat enough, or I ate unhealthy food. Sometimes, this happens because I'm already too worn out to worry about getting these things done. Sometimes, it's because Hudson is sick or going through a phase where he needs me more. Either way, making sure I take care of myself makes the biggest difference in my attitude and ability to cope with my toddler.

2. I don't need to wear make up or do my hair for the majority of my trips out of the house.

The pre-parent version of me would at least put on make up before leaving the house for almost any reason, and I never went to work or church without straightening or curling my hair. However, now that I spend a lot of my time getting ready with a toddler at my feet, those heat styling devices are now a burn hazard, and make up seems like a waste of time. I mean, with a kid this cute, is anyone even looking at me, anyway?

3. A lot of my identity was tied up in my work.

When you spend 40 hours a week doing something, it becomes a pretty big part of who you are. I do miss my job, but when I look back at how much it consumed me, I realize I'm in a better place right now. It was sometimes hard to stay positive when I realized I was working with students whose parents did not care at all about their education, and at times thought the school was out of line for punishing their children for things like hitting and slapping!

4. I thrive on routine, but I'm not in a place where I can have one right now.

My husband is home four days, then gone 4-6 days at a time. His returns and departures are inconsistent. He might get home at 2 AM or 10 AM or 6 PM. That makes it tough for us to set consistent bedtimes and wakeups for the adults in the family, let alone a routine for the day. We have a rough routine for Hudson, but for us...Not so much. I'm making peace with the fact that it might be awhile before we can have a normal routine again.

5. I need community.

I always thought I was a loner. I grew up with my sister on a farm far, far from any other children, so I didn't have a lot of good friends until I went to college, and even then, I really only had one close friend (we're still besties today, texting daily). When I started my last job, I connected quickly to a group of wonderful, supportive teachers. We were part of a community group at church, where we loved on one another and prayed for each other. Both of these groups were lost when I had Hudson. I became a stay at home mom, and Hudson couldn't stay up late enough for us to be part of our community group. While I am still in touch with all these people, it just isn't the same as being part of the group.

We've since joined another small group through our church, and I've become a member of our local chapter of Mothers Of PreSchoolers (MOPS). However, both groups have been off for the summer, so I'm really noticing their absence right now! No one was meant to do life alone. I'm so glad I've got these opportunities for community.