Life and adventures in The Hedge. Because you NEED an alligator in the backyard

Archive for January, 2012

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When do you cry out?

The pets here in The Hedge obviously comprise a large portion of my day. At this time of year, they are my only officemates as I plod through January trying to get a grip on where 2012 will head. This morning they got me thinking about how they get their needs met. When do they cry out to me, as the one who takes care of all their needs? What style do I take when I cry out to the one who takes care of all my needs?

It started in the bathroom. I was in the bathroom, alone. Savannah was ever faithfully stationed outside the door; head on her paws, eyes constantly watching me waiting on me to deem it time to take care of her needs. Edwin comes barging in and sits in the sink purring loudly. There was no way to avoid this purring mass of gray fluff. A head jammed itself into my hand: “Pet me now”. Edwin demanded what he wanted; as he has since the day he arrived. As I exited the bathroom, Kallie was seated in front of the front-door – willing me to open the door and let her out of the house.

Savannah is an old dog and the most passive creature in the house. Until a guest arrives, Savannah rarely makes noise. Most of her day is spent sleeping, waiting for someone to let her out or feed her. Savannah never begs to be petted. She will beg for people food & scavenge of any dropped morsel. The majority of her day is spent silently sleeping. Savannah only cries out – and then ever so softly in a whimper when she direly needs something. I will hear whimpering if I have not noticed the silent cues that she wants to go out, her food or water bowl is empty and now she is desperate. The only times she seeks me with her soft cries is when she is painfully in need. The majority of her time is spent as a silent observer, hoping her needs will be met.

Kallie on the other hand is slightly more vocal about things. Still, Kallie is subtle. “Wake up and pet me!” is achieved by loudly purring in a sleeping humans face. Kallie knocks on the screen door to be let in the house. Demands usually come in the sound of a chirped short mewl. Often, Kallie will make her needs know in silent but obvious ways. She will sit in front of a door to go out or meditate on the food bowl to be fed. Dip her paw in the water to drink if the water is not fresh enough. Oddly though, the more desperate situations don’t elicit a cry from Kallie. Locked in the garage for hours without food or water – she will sit silently terrified by the door waiting to be rescued.

Edwin finally is the brash one of the bunch. He cries at the door until it opens. Edwin will yell until the bowl he likes is filled with food, even though a different bowl is full and 2 feet away. When in need of comfort or love, he will shove himself into a lap or under a hand to be petted. There is never any mistaking what Edwin needs and he never fails to make his point.

I started thinking about myself. When do I cry out to others or to God that I need help? Am I silently waiting for everything to just be provided like Savannah? Only crying out when I am completely desperate? Do I sit silently in terror too scared to even call out for help in the worst situations like Kallie? Should I be more like Edwin? Constantly letting my needs be known. I think this year I will strive to be more like Edwin; unafraid to let my needs be known. Constantly calling out to God in prayer and being unafraid to let my needs be known. I am thinking that this might be the only “resolution” I need for 2012 & everything else will fall into place.

The Power of Song

Ever have that moment where something that should have been obvious just smacks you upside the head? I had it yesterday. The realization of what one simple change had done to our lives. I was inspired by http://www.goodmorninggirls.org to go ahead and write this story today because it has been knocking around since yesterday.

It has been about 2 ½ years now since that fateful day. It was simple & silly. I was driving my daughter. I can even remember the intersection we were sitting in – which is a miracle since I can’t tell you what I ate for dinner last night. My sweet daughter was in 2nd grade; she looked at me & said: “Mom, I’m tired of all the songs on the radio being about love. Can we try the ‘little ears station’? ”

My first reaction was of course to flip the channel to the station she was asking for Z88.3 (www.zradio.org). My daughter was happy & we continued on the drive. What was happening inside me was a whole other struggle.

I am a child of the 70’s raised on rock & roll and then I moved on to country in my 20’s after a failed relationship tore up my world. Music had defined me in some ways. How was I going to cope with my child listening to the Christian radio station? Ugh. I had tried on my own before to tune into this station and had given up after like 3 songs. Was I just going to have to grit my teeth while I drove with my daughter? What was I going to do without my country music fix?? But next to me sat a precious child recognizing a song from Vacation Bible School or church – and she was happily singing along. Game over, I was just going to have to put up with listening.

Then the strangest little miracle happened. The DJ came on and I was stunned. It was my favorite morning DJ that I had adored listening to on two country stations. They had replaced him & I had yet to find a morning show I actually enjoyed. There on the dial was Ellis B. Feaster. All the reservations I had were now gone. God was tapping me on the shoulder saying – look at what I have for you! We listened that day & the urge was not there to change the channel. That became our radio home, and because they are listener funded it became one of our missions.

Where our family went after the radio dial change was kind of incredible as well. I was raised Catholic – Irish Catholic in New England. Church was a place for social activities. Homilies were bland messages not strike you at the core sermons. The Bible was a book that sat on the shelf and collected dust. You didn’t pick it up and read it! That was left to priests. The church told you what to do; CCD classes explained what we believed. I was taught by my mother the Bible wasn’t true. I can recall her telling me it was stories to explain things to the people of the time, at a level they could understand. Creation was a story to explain evolution & the big bang.

With that mind set, it all didn’t matter much. The Divinci Code – so what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? His teachings are a nice guide to life and as long as I confess to a priest and live a good life – I’m going to heaven. I wanted to marry a man who’d been divorced. So, I just didn’t get married by the church. Religion was a dead thing. I called myself a Christian on the outside, but wasn’t really much of one and I was more of an agnostic. I went along this way for years.

The first rumblings of something needing to change happened when my children were born. They were not healthy born 3 months too soon weighing in around 2 pounds each. It was a time I wish on no one. When they were two weeks old, I got a call that my daughter might not make it to morning. I was home alone. It was late & I wasn’t cleared to drive. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I didn’t call someone to rush me to her bedside; I didn’t call my husband at work to tell him our daughter might not survive. I wrote. I wrote a long and rambling prayer to God to spare my daughter. He spared her, she survived. But the scares kept coming. My mother still a fully entrenched non-practicing Catholic insisted my son be baptized prior to a surgery. So I went through this whole ordeal of having the child baptized – because she believed he’d go to hell if he wasn’t baptized.

NO. I could not believe in that God any longer. The God in my heart would not cast aside a child because they were sick. I had no use for the Catholic Church for myself. For my mother’s sake when my son died at 6 months of age, having never left that hospital bed, we had the Catholic funeral & eventually baptized my daughter. It was all to please my mother. It had nothing to do with God in the slightest. I sought a spiritual path & abandoned all religion.

When my daughter was 3, she asked to go to church. All her friends were going. Off we went to the Presbyterian Church. I found out Bibles were for reading & studying. I heard some sermons that held value. We joined the church. I was forging a new little relationship with God, and eventually Jesus. Then the church we belonged to went through turmoil. The children’s program that brought us there fell apart. We left…but had begun listening to the Christian radio station and our souls were hungry. We NEEDED a church to call home, Jesus had grabbed our hearts.

I was stuck shopping for a new church. We only made it to about 3 before my daughter and I found home. A thriving children’s program. A Bible based church. Sermons that actually hit home, and were full of application for my real life. WOW! Where was this all my life??? My daughter accepted Jesus and asked to be baptized. I was raising a little evangelist! How on earth did that happen? Somewhere in all this transition I had become an optimist. In the middle of a terrible divorce – I had still clung to God and turned out to be an optimist??

Yesterday it struck me one of the driving forces. Changing the dial had been a powerful force. That voice inside my head is singing God’s praises, rather than singing about heartbreak, drugs, sex and other negative forces. My daughter has a shining self-confidence that I certainly did not have at 11. Because what I feed her brain constantly is that she’s a blessed child of God, that being charitable matters. I can see a difference between her and peers without faith. I am amazed at the strength and character my daughter shows. I know part of that comes from her head and heart being filled with praise for our Lord Jesus Christ. One simple change – turning the dial – lead me from doubt into truth and light. Where could a simple change lead you??

 

 

 

 

“Mom – the cat is trying to attack me”

    I cannot count the number of times my daughter has accused our big cat Edwin of wanting to attack or eat her. The crazy thing is the stupid cat loves my daughter. Edwin is fully aware of the fact this child in the only reason he lives in this house. Okay, that and the fact that he’s so demanding I could never get rid of him now.

    My daughter has been sick for 6 days now. We’re struggling with asthma along with strep & whatever other gunk. I have had the killer cough for at least 21 days now. As for me, let’s just say – I’m a woman she’s had children & over 40. You can use your imagination to fill in how much I’m enjoying this cough. But, it is worse when you’re listening to your child bark like a Sea Lion and whimper in distress.

    Yesterday, was that whimpering day. Second trip to the doctor, nothing is helping. The temperature came back. The child wouldn’t call her father to say goodnight, leave the couch or do anything normal and more whining lead to having little one sleep in my bed. I knew I was in for a long night. We sat in the bed together to letting her settle down. A ruckus arose downstairs. Edwin the cat wanted in & to be fed. Standard operating procedure in the evening with Edwin: Let in cat, cat eats, cat howls to leave, repeat 3 times until cat decides to go out for night. Unless it is cold, Edwin wants nothing to do with sleeping in the house. I let cat in, go back to tending daughter; expecting cat howling to begin momentarily.

    Instead, Edwin comes up stairs & hops right between us in bed. In case I have failed to mention this…Edwin is massive for a cat. He’s almost as tall as our Sheltie (Miniature Collie) and I think he outweighs the dog at this point. Now, there are complaints from my daughter because the cat is sitting on her. The cat is only sitting on her blanket – purring loudly trying to cuddle up to my daughter. After a few minutes, Edwin is insulted by the whining & leaves when the dog wants to go out.

    Normally, this would be the end of Edwin in the house for the night. But about an hour later, Edwin comes back. Feed cat. Expect cat to want to leave, read a few more pages in The Hunger Games to pass time. (Side note – The Hunger Games – this book is fantastic – go read it.) Cat disappears. Pets are now all upstairs, as is sick child. I hear massive coughing attack begin & can tell my daughter is struggling to breathe. Frantic mom scrambles to find one of the 6 inhalers in the house.

Inhaler in hand, I run up the stairs. Preferred cat of my daughter Kallie sleeps soundly on the only piece of black clothing in the laundry basket in my daughter’s room. Dog peers out of daughter’s room looking a bit confused – but wants nothing to do with furious barking coming from my bedroom. In my bedroom, I find daughter struggling with the coughing ready for her inhaler. The other thing I find is Edwin sitting on the chaise lounge – glaring at me. “What the heck took you so long lady? Didn’t you hear that kid?” I give daughter inhaler. Cat gets drink of water & stretches across the floor – looks at me – “This is going to be a long night.”

When I climb into bed a few minutes later, Edwin returns to the chaise lounge – next to where my daughter sleeps. His massive frame never leaves all night. He observes ever coughing fit. Making sure I do my job. The cat who hates being inside stands guard all night. This is his little human. The child who claims the cat wants to attack her, and tries to scare her – is her actual protector. The other pets have left the room and want nothing to do with the sick human.

This morning there is more peace in our home. My daughter realized when she woke up in distress it was Edwin who sat by her side & waited for help. Edwin watched over her all night. Perhaps my daughter will come to realize that the true guardian of her hedge home is Edwin. I am positive; the dead creature on the doorstep this morning is a token of Edwin’s devotion to the child who fills his bowl.

Timeline ate my post

Just quickly experimenting with my posting – because somehow my last post doesn’t appear on my timeline. Making sure my settings are okay.

Reality is…

Chaos has been in command for the last couple of months. I’m back to the real world and finally out to write something. There’s been something churning in my head the past few days. It may not be as funny as Andrea would like…but thinking once I deal with the gorilla in the room the creative juices will come back.  (and okay, now that is it written, it’s still funny)

The figures are crazy as far as divorce goes – the latest figure I heard 52% of marriages – inside the church end in divorce. Then there are those couples who never marry but have children & split up.

People seem to think that divorce or a break up is going to solve their problems. And perhaps if there are no children involved it will solve some of the issues.

But, I have had a few women approach me – thinking that as a divorced woman, I’ll be sympathetic – that they want to leave the father of their child.  “He’s just not that involved. He works too much. I can’t depend on him. We just aren’t getting along.”

I will tell them 9 times out of 10 they ought to just suck it up & figure it out…

Guess what? It doesn’t get any better if you’re not under the same roof! You have a whole pile of extra problems that come along if you try to separate your lives. Things you can’t even fathom.  My ex-husband walked out 6 years & I can tell you it solved one problem & created 100’s. I am no longer married to a an unfaithful man – that’s the only problem it solved. All the rest of them are still knocking around in wind.

My daughter still sees a man who can’t stay with one woman. He’s still a workaholic who doesn’t spend enough time with his kid…and I could go on – but I’d rather not. Because one thing remains – you see until one of the 3 of us is dead – I still have to deal with him on a regular basis.

Today, I am asking my prayer warrior friends to pray for a woman I have never met & who has made my life a living hell. Why? Because she was my husband’s final mistress before we finally divorced & became a part of my daughter’s life a couple of years ago. My daughter hasn’t seen her in almost 18 months & will never see her again. But, we have learned this woman had a stroke. My sweet child want her to recover. So, I appealed to everyone I could think of to pray for a woman I think less of than what I scraped off my shoe this morning.  Yes, that’s the reality of divorce.

Someone said to me “Oh, you’ll look forward to when it is his weekend.”  At the time, that friend had no children of her own. Today, that same friend can’t even send her child with a sitter to have dinner with her spouse. I think she’s changed her tune.  In reality, I’m ready for my daughter to come back home about 6 hours after she’s gone. That’s enough time for me to clean the house & run all my errands. Once in a while – over night is good so I can go out with the grown ups. But normally – give me the couple of hours & the pets & I are ready for her to be back.

The first time your kid leaves you feel like you’re going to rip in two. This is why they invented 24 hour WalMart because – that’s where you end up at 3am. Staying home alone makes you batty. Instead you spend $300 on toilet paper & wander the aisles until you collapse from exhaustion.  That’s the glamourous life of a newly single mom.

Then there are holidays and life events to negotiate. Who gets to do what. And remember when you and your husband argued about _______________ that you didn’t want you kid to do, but he did.  You no longer have any control. TV’s in the bedroom, poptarts for breakfast, skydiving lessons, gun cleaning, alligator wrestling, motorcylce riding, skateboarding with no pads – you guessed it – he’s doing it all the first moment he’s got your child all to himself.

Oh yeah. Divorce rocks…