Monthly Archives: May 2012

Big Joy – Tiny package

I wanted to be a mom so badly I wrote letters to my unborn children when I became engaged to my first husband. Their names were all picked out, their arrival even as a some-a-day dream was deeply anticipated.

Children was one thing among many that we never agreed on and we eventually went our separate ways. Therefore, it was for the best that we did not have children. Garth Brooks sang a wonderful song about the gift of unanswered prayers (if the link doesn’t work, do a youtube search)

Garth Brooks Unanswered prayers

Listening to it was an ‘aha’ moment for me when I first heard it years ago. As it turned out, my body never did agree with my heart when it came to having children.

Recently,  my life changed dramatically due to a myopathy diagnosis that basically means my body cannot efficiently create or use energy. Result: I had to find a new way of navigating through my life.

I really enjoyed my job in the greenhouse industry. (see

One day about a week before Thanksgiving 2010, I suddenly found myself severely short of breath and lightheaded while driving to work. I’d have to pull over until someone could come and get me or follow me back home.

After several days of struggling to make it to work with the same result, it became obvious I couldn’t do it anymore. I had no option but to release my job. That began a long journey of doctor visits, diagnostic tests, even a stint in the hospital with still no explanation of what was happening to my body.

I could be fine and appear totally normal one minute, and gasping for air and collapsing in near blackouts the next or so fatigued that just  lifting a fork feels like running uphill with a hundred pounds strapped to your back. Finally, tests performed while I was in motion provided the answers. Unfortunately, there is no cure – but I am learning to manage my energy. I seem to have about three hours of useful energy/movement per day and that includes showers, dressing, preparing meals, writing blogs, driving, etc. If I overdo, I find it difficult to even get out of bed for the next one to three days.

So I searched for other ways I can contribute to life since I can’t find an employer who will let me nap for three hours to every one I put on the clock. A difficult way to live since I firmly believe it is what you give, what you bring to the table, that determines the quality of your life.  Giving is my joy juice.

I found a way to contribute to life and answer my “mommy” longings with one action. I became a foster mother volunteer for our local cat adoption shelter.

 It doesn’t require much movement to hold tiny, kitty babies and I can nap right along side them when preparing and sterilizing their bottles, doing their laundry (yep, even kittens generate poopy laundry) and giving them washcloth baths overwhelms my limited energy resources.

And, true to the nature of honest giving, what I receive in terms of laughter watching their tiny bodies scamper across the floor, or the cozy comfort I feel when listening to their satisfied purrs as they snuggle against me after a bottle far outweighs what I put out.  Oh and somebody needs to invent a kitty pacifier that feels warm and snugly to abandoned kittens. They just can’t understand why they can’t find anything on my neck to suckle on. That need isn’t just about filling their tummies.

All moms know that when you really love something there is no such thing as being disgusted at cleaning poopy butts or smelling like formula. I saw the kitty babies through a spell of de-worming. That included regular checks to be sure all traces of the offending, deadly critters were gone until even the knots in my hardwood floor began to resemble little kitty butts. And that mom instinct means every sound from the birds chirping to the children playing outside could be kitty babies in distress.

And true to all  babies, they sleep until I want to do something like finish this blog. It’s hard to type around squirmy little bodies. They curl up in little balls of sleepiness until I try to put them down. They prefer warm body snuggling to laying alone in their own bed. So I’ve taken to tucking them into my cleavage so I can still use both hands. Ha – my hubby just said, “is that two kittens under your shirt or are you just happy to see me?”

When they are ready to head back to the shelter for adoption, my four adult kitty children will be thrilled. Perhaps they will return to sharing their happy purrs with me rather than baleful glares. My husband will be relieved and sad – it’s even harder for him to say goodbye. I will miss them, but I will look back at their baby pictures with joy. I will spend the entire night in satisfying sleep. And the really good news is that they won’t come back in twenty years and blame me for everything that’s wrong with their lives! Although, they probably won’t remember me either. That’s ok. My heart is full none-the-less.

If you find yourself facing a limiting challenge, I encourage you to find another way to achieve satisfaction. There is a quote from the book of Runes about accepting what is and finding other ways to accomplish. It says, “when fishermen can’t go to the sea they repair their nets.” My kitty babies are my way of repairing my nets. Here’s hoping you find the perfect way to repair yours when the need arises.

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