How many things are truly unconditional? It’s almost Christmas and we tell children that Santa will bring them presents if they are good. We put Elf on the shelf so that they know he is watching them for Santa. I know that some families play games with this toy but many people don’t.
Love is supposed to be unconditional but it often demands things from others or it’s removed when the child misbehaves—no matter how old he/she is. Christian doctrine teaches that God is love but one must say the “right prayer” to avoid going to “Hell.” I feel like true unconditional love is rare. I have seen both in my life and now it’s even more apparent with the pandemic. Love for our neighbors means doing everything we can to protect them from COVID-19 by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and staying home for Christmas with immediate family.
And children should have presents just because they are loved; not because they were good. The real St. Nick gave to the poor and helped the oppressed because he was kind and loving. He didn’t expect anything from them. Here’s a wonderful video on the history of Santa.
Have you ever just given something to someone without telling anyone or given something to a complete stranger who needs help? These have been the most rewarding experiences for me. This is loving people unconditionally.
I believe that respect is earned but love is not. Love, especially for children, should never ever be earned. This doesn’t mean that we have to be involved with toxic people. Love them by walking away from them.
I understand that some people have very high-needs children and it is really hard but they should love their children for who they are. Speaking from my own experience of being a very high-needs child as well as having a parent ask in a Facebook group about what to do to prevent damage from not being able to meet every single need, I believe that it is more important to explain to the child that we are trying our best and validate the child.
However, coming from an abusive, narcissistic home and struggling to come to terms with my own mother being narcissistic and and that she will never be able to be a good mom to me, what hurts is parents not talking about it in a healthy way. I have severe cerebral palsy and even my husband can’t meet every emotional need I have and sometimes he gets frustrated which is human but it triggers me. The difference is that he is truly trying and admits to his shortcomings. I do the same.
But with narcissistic parents, they don’t care and won’t admit that they are falling short. In these cases and other abusive situations, the love is not unconditional. I think as long as one has a good connection with his/her child and teaches healthy coping skills, the child may need help later on in life, but he/she shouldn’t have the same amount of pain and damage that us who were abused by our narcissistic parents have.
Accepting that one’s child is different than the parent is unconditional love. When this happens and children have very different personalities than the parents, the best thing that parents can do is accept it and support the children. Get involved with at least one activity that the child enjoys. And share each other’s interests with each other knowing that it’s ok to be so different. Yes, it is hard at times but the key is to validate and accept.
This Christmas, with so many people sick and dying from COVID-19, let’s remember the little Baby that came to Earth to try and teach us what unconditional love is. Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, please think about how you can make this world better by loving people instead of being selfish.
Have a peaceful Holiday season. We remember all who we lost this year. May 2021 eventually be a better year!
Emily Graham is from Mighty Moms. I hope you find this helpful.
Do you have a friend, sister, or relative who has been trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while pregnant? There’s no denying that pregnant women have dealt with many unexpected challenges during this pandemic. Whether your loved one is looking for helpful parenting resources like Disciplining With Gentle Firmness or guidance as she aims to protect her health (and her baby’s!) during this difficult time, these tips will allow you to give her the support she truly needs.
Has your loved one cancelled celebrations because of the pandemic? You can mark these milestones with virtual events!
Bring your friend’s baby shower online by planning a virtual shower with her — you can still celebrate while social distancing.
Has your loved one considered calling off her gender reveal party? Host it over video chat instead!
If your loved one wants maternity photos, help her stay on the safe side with suggestions for a DIY photo shoot.
Outlining a Birth Plan
Your loved one may be wondering whether or not she should plan for a hospital birth with the ongoing pandemic. These resources can help her decide.
Is your friend considering a home birth because of the pandemic? Research the pros and cons to see if it’s a smart choice for her.
Will your friend be heading to the hospital when the big day rolls around? Help her go over the precautions she should take to stay safe.
Remind your friend that no matter what she decides, her unconditional love for her child is what matters most.
Nothing will cheer up your loved one like a thoughtful gift. Check out these ideas to find the perfect present.
Put together a basic postpartum gift basket, which you can drop off at the hospital or your loved one’s home.
Before her due date, give your friend a cozy labor and delivery gown so she can stay comfortable during labor.
Cook up healthy meals for your loved one, which she can reheat when she’s too tired to cook after the baby arrives.
Pregnancy isn’t always smooth sailing, especially for mothers-to-be who are trying to avoid unnecessary risks during this pandemic. If you have a pregnant woman in your life, now is the time to lend a helping hand. She will definitely appreciate having someone to lean on!
Interested in learning about effective disciplinary methods that don’t involve spanking? Sign up for one-on-one parent coaching with author and parent coach Stephanie G. Cox today.
Note: Life has a funny way of taking over. I started writing this post in December and am just now finishing it. Thank you so much for your patience.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate. Happy New Year! I am writing this post because I no longer consider myself a religious person even though I still believe in Jesus. However, my belief is no longer the traditional religious belief that mainstream Christianity makes Him out to be. I am incorporating other spiritual beliefs in my belief system and I am open to everything. Feel free to read Why I Am No Longer An Evangelical Christian. Plus, Drag Queens And Kings Are Cool!
I recently shared this meme on my professional Facebook page and I got one nice lady who ended up being a joy to talk to because she tried to use Non-Violent Communication principles. We both admitted to being not perfect and struggling with it. We’re both open to learning. I love people like that because another “Christian” called me a “hypocrite” for sharing this meme and then wishing my Jewish friends a “Happy Hanukkah.” She was swiftly blocked and banned because I have been called so many names that I absolutely will not tolerate it. But her comment proves that this is right in many instances. Then there are people that just want to argue just to argue.
Here’s the meme:
I agree with this because religion does brainwash people of every age, makes people angry (How many wars have been fought over religion?), and promotes a “better than thou” attitude. Believe me, I was a part of this for a decade and a half and used to gasp with disgust or surprise when a fellow believer would do something against the religious teachings of the church. We’re supposed to be humble but instead we look down on people who don’t believe what we do. It’s disgusting and sad, really.
Not all religious people are like this. But some just blindly follow whatever the established organized religion teaches. Much of the Christian church doctrine is toxic with a bit of love and compassion occasionally sprinkled in. For children, more of the doctrine is spiritual abuse because even though I still believe that children are created to believe in Jesus and/or a Higher Power, when they are allowed to freely explore, they can create a positive belief system. Unfortunately, many children aren’t given that freedom and are taught that they are inherently evil (which I rejected after much research) and are told to obey or else they’ll get spanked or go to Hell.
Telling children the above is spiritual and emotional abuse. It’s not ok. One of my best friends experienced this as a child and now rejects religion but is still a spiritual person.
I, too, cannot support religious doctrine. I consider myself a spiritual person even though I still believe in Jesus. I am using other spiritual beliefs to create a positive spiritual belief system because when we open our consciousness, we see that there’s so much we don’t know and that doctrine often doesn’t add up to what we experience. Plus, trying to have enough faith to be approved by whatever God you’re trying to please isn’t easy and makes one feel like a failure. Also, fear is often a huge part of many religions instead of love! After all, many religious sects and cults tell us that we’re going to go to Hell for not being a part of their religious group.
Now many religious people can be spiritual but it seems like they value the rules and man-made doctrines over truly seeking Truth and God or Whomever one wishes to call Him/Her. I hear all the religious people gasping after reading this sentence. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have gasped as well. However, the more one gets away from church doctrine and actually begins to seek the Truth, the less judgmental he/she becomes because we’re all one. Unless someone practices evil, we really are connected in so many ways with love being our main priority!
Spiritual people are usually more positive, accepting, open, and loving. They wish to be able to get along with everyone. Even if they don’t “believe” in Jesus, they are ok with people that do as long as those people respect their beliefs.
And yes, spiritual people do participate in rituals and even some religious ceremonies to help them grow spiritually and they are always learning. They just don’t subscribe to an exact doctrine, or if they do, they don’t try to push it on others.
Even Jesus Christ was against religious people and hung out with everyday people. Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law:
“Matthew 23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples,2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant.12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Jesus preached LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE! Yet, “Christians” can be some of the most hateful people I’ve ever encountered along with Muslim extremists. You don’t say that someone should die because they are homosexual and you disagree with them. People shouldn’t blow people away because they want their religion to take over the world. I believe that religion creates a form of narcissism. “My church is right and yours is wrong.” I used to be like that, but there’s much grace and freedom in “agreeing to disagree.” Yet, I have always hated how children are treated in many religious sects. They shouldn’t be taught how “bad” they are and shouldn’t be taught to remember every sin so they can repent for them to avoid going to Hell. And they should NEVER BE TAUGHT THAT GOD WANTS THEM TO BE SPANKED/HIT!
Healthy spirituality is what we all need to aim for. There’s a Light in all of us. I believe that satan wants to blind us to this and think that we have to do special prayers and other things to be closer to God/Goddess but we can learn to listen for Them ourselves. Certain natural medicines are also helpful for some adults to gain more awareness of the spiritual world that is completely and always surrounding us.
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and it’ll be a different one than usual due to a hiccup in my current trauma recovery, but I am slowly learning what true love is.
In the movie, Frozen, Else has a special gift of being able to create ice and snow. Unfortunately, while playing with her little sister, Anna, she accidentally hurt her with her special power. From that day on, she was told to not show her power to anyone and it was treated like a curse. She was separated from her sister and her little sister didn’t understand why due to the memory being erased.
Fear triggers Elise to create ice in a dangerous way. But after she finally becomes free, she learns to use it for beauty and in the end, a single act of true love is the only thing that will undo Anna being frozen.
We want our children and the world to become kinder and more loving. I believe that the only way to do this is to practice true love. And to let the children be who they are as long as they are not hurting anyone.
Love and kindness cultivate a grateful heart whereas harshness and hate create anger and bitterness. This Thanksgiving, and year round, let’s do our best to create love, kindness, and gratitude!
I hear that being a parent is very hard work and I agree even though I am not a parent. Most of my friends have children. My husband has a son. Therefore, I see and hear about all the sacrifices that they have gladly made. I get to witness some of these sacrifices my friends choose to make for their children. It’s not always fun but they do it out of love.
Teachers also make sacrifices for the children in their classes. I did. I had to do my best to be at my best for the children I worked with. Did I get exasperated when a toddler was high spirited or had behavioral problems and needed extra attention? Yes! Did I feel stressed out when I worked with infants and they all started crying at the same time with only my aide and me in the room? Yes!
However, I never held it against them because I chose to be a teacher and I understood that they were just being themselves. I understand how the child brain works so to hold that against them would have deeply hurt my connections with them. Children are also very perceptive. They can feel our stress and negative vibes.
I am severely physically disabled and I understand that I am a lot of work. It must be even more difficult to parent a child with a disability because he/she requires even more care and can’t always do activities that typical children can, especially children with sensory issues such as aversion to loud noises. Should it be held against a child if he/she gets overwhelmed by crowds or loud noises? No, of course not, because it’s out of their control!
According to dictionary.com, the definition of resentment is:
thefeeling of displeasure or indignation at someact,remark,person,etc.,regarded as causinginjury or insult.”
So a person who feels resentment towards his/her children believes that the children have caused “injury or insult” to him/her and holds it against them. These people are not able to let it go. Let’s face it, children will hurt us sometimes but they usually don’t truly mean it. And children are born with the ability to love unconditionally.
They didn’t ask to be conceived and born. They didn’t ask to have an immature brain that doesn’t allow them to have total impulse control over their behaviors. And children with disabilities didn’t ask for it either!
I know parents don’t ask for their children to be disabled or high spirited. However, by choosing to become a parent, parents should be ready for anything even if this means asking for help when they are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do or are exhausted. I understand that getting help and support isn’t always easy and our country has much work to do in supporting families of every type. Organizations also need to step up the resources and support for families. But help is out there.
Your screaming baby isn’t screaming just to drive you to tears. He/She needs you and may not be able to sleep. It’s not the baby’s fault. Your preschooler isn’t hitting you and having meltdowns just to embarrass you or make you crazy. He/She just don’t have the ability to deal with big feelings without your help. The child needs you to gently but firmly guide him/her through the process. It’s not the child’s fault. Your teenager isn’t saying mean things to you because he/she truly means it. Teens still require help dealing with strong emotions and it’s not their fault. Children need discipline and care.
Your child with disabilities isn’t trying to hold you back because he/she requires your constant care. The child needs you! It’s not his/her fault!
Children learn a lot from the adults around them. They must learn about empathy, grace, and unconditional love in order to give it back. It’s true that parents will get angry, frustrated, and exasperated with their children. They will need breaks and self care. But parents have chosen to be the child’s parents, therefore, to hold everything against the child is not appropriate. If a parent is feeling resentful of the children, then he/she must seek help from professionals. If not, then the relationship with the children will be tainted and may even become abusive.
Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Believe it or not, so is being a child trying to learn and navigate through this new world. Respect the children and the children will respect their parents unless they have a mental illness that needs addressing. Respect begets respect. Resentment begets broken relationships.
I haven’t been writing much lately due to my new trauma, so here’s a short post with thoughts about a recent meme from my meditation app Calm.
It is really sad some people don’t know how to truly love. I believe that we love unconditionally as infants and young children but how we are treated as children can literally rip this ability away and cause mental illness that will not allow us to continue to truly love unconditionally.This is so sad because they miss out on true love and end up hurting the people that they “love.”
Another post from Ashley Taylor about gentle parenting with a disability.
Being a parent is never easy, but when you have a disability, several aspects of the job can become a whole lot more complicated. For the approximately 4.1 million parents with disabilities throughout the country, the usual questions of parenting are compounded by worries about how they will keep up with their child, keep them safe, and educate them. Whatever your disability, the following tips can help you deal with these questions as they arise.
Focus on Home Safety
As a parent, one of your most important jobs is keeping your child safe and healthy within your home. Parents with disabilities have to be particularly careful, as they are not usually able to keep up with a small child’s energy or react quickly enough if something dangerous is about to happen. Therefore, the key to parenting is prevention.
There are a few key safety modifications that can make the everyday tasks of parenting easier and safer. These can include adaptable products such as chairlifts, modified sinks, and adjustable furniture such as changing tables and toilets. When you have a small child, a child safety gate can be invaluable, as it keeps them out of dangerous areas and can help you keep track of exactly where they are at any given time.
Learn to DIY
Any piece of furniture or kit you can think of for raising a child has a wheelchair or disability-friendly version out there. However, these can often be very expensive. For example, cribs for disabled parents that open from the front can cost about $2,000, but if you can DIY (or know someone who can), you can easily make one yourself.
Another area where DIY helps is food. Opening baby food jars can be difficult for people with cerebral palsy, arthritis, or similar disabilities. Making your own can be both healthier and easier as long as you have a good food processor. These recipes can give you some inspiration.
Teach Them Compassion
Your children will experience a rare benefit from growing up with a disabled parent: They will automatically develop empathy and compassion for those who are differently abled. However, you should still actively teach them about these matters as well.
This article by Parent Map outlines the ways in which parents can speak to non-disabled children about disability. While it is written from the perspective of a non-disabled parent, much of the advice still applies, such as being open to answering questions and teaching them that not all disabilities will look exactly like yours.
Also, you can use your disability to teach them about compassion in other areas of life. Growing up with someone who is considered “different” will help them see the many ways in which “difference” is used to mock, bully, and demean people. You can use this to start a conversation about bullying and how they can prevent it, both in themselves and the people around them.
Know Your Rights
Parents with disabilities will sometimes run into problems with social services or the law because people wrongly believe that they are unable to take care of their children. This isn’t necessarily likely to happen, but it is still a good idea for you to be informed of your rights as a disabled parent. This toolkit by the National Council on Disability is an invaluable tool for this.
Parenting with a disability doesn’t necessarily mean everything is suddenly harder, but it does mean you have to think about certain matters more carefully than other parents. You will have to plan your everyday life in more detail and remain aware of how your experience is shaping your child’s world view. However, a disability will never stop you from having a beautiful, supportive, and loving relationship with your child — if anything, it can sometimes bring you closer.
I’m not pregnant and not adopting yet, but I have been thinking a lot about unconditional love and thought I would write this since it is almost Valentine’s Day and every child deserves true unconditional love.
Dear my precious child,
I wanted you since I was a child myself and you are a dream come true. I promise to try to never make you feel unwanted. If I do, please tell me and I will make it right!
I will always love you unconditionally! Nothing will ever change that! If you ever question my love for you, I will do everything I can to help you feel my love for you!
I know I am going to make a million mistakes while we work together to get through this life but I promise to always apologize to you and truly mean it!
I will teach you how to handle your big feelings and I will always do my best to validate your feelings. I will have my own feelings and may mess up by not remaining calm, but I will always apologize for yelling or saying anything that hurt you. I hope you will always feel safe enough to see share all your feelings with me.
Yes, you will have appropriate limits and boundaries that you won’t always like. I will do my best to be appropriately flexible with you. Sometimes I will have to hold firm in the limit but I will always listen to you. If you want to do something differently, I will be open to that.
Our relationship will be built on mutual respect and trust. I will always apologize if I disrespect you or break your trust in me. Of course, the same will go for you too.
I will allow you to have self-expression as long as it’s not hurting anyone. I may not be into something you are, but I will never put you down for being yourself. Be yourself!
I will never ever punish you by hitting/spanking you, time-out, taking away your stuff arbitrarily, or shaming you. I will apologize if I do. There will be natural consequences for you and I will help you understand them.
You’re always welcome! I will want to see you! You always come first!
I will never manipulate you for any reason.
My precious child, this is a cruel world sometimes. You’re heart will be broken and my heart will break every time yours does. I am here for you. You will know how loved you are by me, your dad, your Heavenly Father, and others. It’s ok to protect yourself from toxic people and relationships. But please don’t lose your loving, vulnerable heart. It’s worth it to love. I will help you through this.
I won’t be a perfect mom. Just know that you are my world and I will do everything I can to love you as you deserve. You’re a beautiful person. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
I can’t believe it’s Christmas time again. Well, it was when I began writing this post.
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy helping others in need all year-round, but especially this time of the year. There are so many people in need and we are called to help them.
Unfortunately, this time of year also brings out the greediness in many. You usually see this on Black Friday (which starts on Thanksgiving night now) and just before Christmas when people fight over the products that they must have.
Our children are aware of all of this. They are also aware of when we are unkind to each other and them. Conversely, they’re also aware of our kindness and compassion for each other.
Punishment is also a form of bullying because it teaches children how to force people to do what they want. It is a temporary, ineffective solution to any behavioral issues, but especially for bullying. Most bullying is the result of bullies feeling powerless because there’s either too much control in the home, i.e. authoritarian parenting (very controlling and punitive), or not enough care and acknowledgment, i.e.neglectful and permissive parenting. Some children (and adults) are so desperate for control and power that they will target seemingly weaker people. They push and push until they get the reaction they want and then they feel powerful being over the other person.
While I completely understand the seriousness of bullying as I have been bullied and made fun of my whole life, and I just dealt with a cyber bully, I feel like the dad just reinforced the bully mentality by making his daughter walk to school and video it.
What did it teach her about kindness and respect? NOTHING! And his demeanor was very punitive and bullyish. Forcing her to walk in the cold while he followed her in his truck and videoed the whole thing is punishment, not a consequence of her actions. And SHE was also bullied herself. Think maybe she was trying to exercise power over others like they had done to her? There is no excuse for bullying, but you have to understand all the reasons why a child is behaving in a certain manner so that you can work with him/her and teach him/her.
Children learn what they live. As I said, I just recently had a cyber bullying incident that I had to report to Facebook. Both children and adults get behind their screens and say things that they usually wouldn’t ever say to the other person’s face. I have not been a bully but I have been harsh online and have had to apologize for my behavior. Saying anything cruel and calling names is bullying and verbal and emotional abuse!
It’s very important to realize that people of any age that act poorly usually feel poorly. If one feels good about oneself, usually they don’t have the need to exercise control or get a reaction from another person. There’s no need to purposefully hurt another person when you have healthy self-compassion. Bullies are trying to get/do one of two things:
Exercise control over a weaker person to feel powerful and inflict pain so that someone else can feel the pain that they are feeling.
To get a negative reaction from the victim as well as attention from others.
I would be very upset if I had a child and my child ever bullied another child. Social media and other media outlets are showing bullying to children. So the first two things I would ask if my child was being a bully is “What have I been doing to contribute to this?” And, “Why is my child feeling like he/she has to bully?” There is a reason for all unwanted behaviors. I would work on the connection between my child and me.
I would limit screen time for my child and insist on knowing every account they have. Many children and adults have secret accounts for bullying and other inappropriate things that they don’t want anyone else to know about. It is crucial to be an active participant in our children’s online activities. We need to stop cyber bullying and teach children that cyber bullying is also never okay. If they see online bullying, they should put an eyeball 👁 emoji in the comments. And cyber bullying must always be reported!
I would have many long discussions with my child about why it’s NEVER ok to bully. I would read books with him/her about people who were bullied. I would role play to teach kindness. I would have him/her do community service with me.
Teaching children unconditional kindness is so important. Unconditional kindness is when we do something kind to someone without expecting any type of reward or credit for it . This is true kindness.
Another critical thing I would do is teach my children about all different people and not do anything to criticize differences. When disability, culture, religion, age, race, and sexuality differences are understood, there’s less bullying because children learn that we’re all humans and we deserve equality and respect no matter what! This is why I wrote my children’s book about my cerebral palsy which is currently being illustrated. When we understand someone very different than us, it leads to kindness and compassion (unless the person is mentally ill and unable to be kind).
Finally, I would take the child to and from school and check in with her/his teacher until I could trust him/her again. Gentle parenting is more work than just punishment. Most parents don’t do anything because they don’t know how.
Understanding what drives bullies is crucial to both stopping and preventing it. Teaching children empathy and compassion is so important. And Christmas time is a great time to really teach this so it will continue year-long. When children see and are involved with more giving than receiving, they’re taught about empathy for people who aren’t as well off as they might be. It also teaches gratefulness and that they are not entitled to get anything.
Christmas and New Years’ is a time to get involved with different charities. It’s also a time to reflect on our relationships with our children and other people. Children need our love and a deep connection with us. They need to see healthy relationships with people. This is vital for teaching empathy, compassion, and love towards others. They also need us to teach them healthy coping skills for their negative emotions.
I believe most bullies can be reformed if they are worked with for a while. It may not happen overnight but we have the power to show them what empathy and compassion looks like. We can soften a harden heart by helping them deal with their own pain that is causing them to bully. We can teach them gently that greed and entitlement are bad.
Children who witness bullying should always report it to a trusted adult. If they are being bullied, they should do their best not to react and walk away to report it. I believe teaching children self-defense is also important. Taekwondo and karate are wonderful ways of accomplishing this!
This Bible verse came up in my devotional recently during my cyber bullying incident. It comforted me and applies to everyone even if one isn’t a believer.
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35, NASB).
As we enter the new year, may we use gentle parenting to prevent bullying and raise kind, compassionate children! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will have a happy, healthy, blessed New Year!
Actually I emailed this to close family and friends over a month ago. He is now 6 months old and things are continuing to progress slowly but surely.
On July 11th we adopted the sweetest, craziest kitten ever. Ever since our sweet boy, YP, went Home, on top of other 2 major back to back losses, we’ve been in a dark place and trying to get out of it. I know very few people understand the depth and love we have for our kitties, but, for us, they are our kids.
After an almost adoption went terribly wrong last October, we had agreed that Patches, our 12-year-old female calico, would be our only kitty until the horrible day she crosses the rainbow bridge into Heaven. I grieved that loss of hope but accepted it until late this spring. Even Chip started talking about getting another kitty but was in absolutely no rush! And I mean no rush.
I respect my husband so I did my best to let it go. I stopped looking at shelters and told people not to send us kitties who needed homes…Until sometime in May when I started occasionally looking at shelters but Chip wouldn’t really look at anything, yet, he kept talking about getting a new kitty and what age Patches would be more likely to accept. We were quite concerned about Patches adjusting to a new kitty despite getting along great with YP except for after the vet she’d get mildly aggressive with him for a day or so until the vet smell subsided.
Well, as YP’s first anniversary of going Home approached (July 5, 2018), the desire for a new life started to grow to the point of desperation and I was confused, angry, and really hurting. Losing YP just absolutely devastated us like losing Sara, my first kitty did! But YP was special in the way he loved us. He was/is one of our soulmates. I thought I would eventually lose the desperate desire for a new kitty after we got through his first anniversary but it didn’t subside. It only got worse and Chip started talking about getting one in the fall. That confused me and even angered me. Grief is so hard and weird. So I started researching the different local animal shelters just for the heck of it.
I would look at kitties and think, “sorry, not for us.” THEN on June 28th I was looking at all the pictures of adoptable kittens and found this picture of Samoset and immediately started laughing at his nose and felt a HUGE connection. I tried to show Chip, but he barely looked at it and I emailed it to him asking him to pray about if God and YP might be sending him to us. Yes, I truly believe that there’s so much more going on in the spiritual world than we can even imagine, and I believe Sara and God sent us Patches because I didn’t want another girl kitty back then because I didn’t want to replace Sara in anyway but they didn’t give me a choice.
I tried to put him out of my head so hard but ended up asking the shelter if he was still available and he was. “Great! That was so stupid of me,” I thought with a few expletives. I prayed he would get a good home. I meditated to try to let go. But I couldn’t! I was in love with him.
Finally the Monday after YP’s first anniversary of going Home, I blurted out that I was in love! Chip said he’d think about it and finally actually really looked at the picture and he said maybe Thursday we can go see him and talk to them about helping Patches adjust. I cried but then I was worried about him being adopted before then, so later, I explained that this is a very bittersweet, emotional thing and we should not try to combine it with other errands. I got him to agree to go that Wednesday.
That day you would have thought I was having some major surgery or something. With my brain/emotional make up, I knew I could easily get my heart broken again and I was extremely anxious about Patches adjusting to him if he did choose us. I don’t believe in forcing cats to come home with you if there’s no connection. There was a very real possibility of him either not liking us (some kitties are afraid of me due to my wheelchair and involuntary movements because of my severe cerebral palsy.), already being adopted, or the staff not recommending this with Patches being an older cat (12).
So I had Chip talk about weird things to distract me from my anxiety. But then signs from loved ones in Heaven started occurring. Again, there’s so much more to the spiritual world than we can ever understand on Earth. First, we had music on and Chip’s mom’s favorite song, “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong played which I thought was weird and I acknowledged Mom2 in tears.
Then heading to the van to leave, I looked up and there was a heart shaped cloud in the sky. I asked Chip, “Is that a heart?” He agreed. A sign from God. Obviously, signs were happening but I didn’t know what they meant. I didn’t know if they were good or trying to comfort me. I now know it was both. Then we go by a bright red corvette. Grandpa!
We arrived at the shelter and I was having a little PTSD because it was the same shelter we adopted Patches and YP from, and flashbacks of YP confidently locking eyes with us and walking across the counter into our hearts and arms flooded my mind, so I kept focusing on my breathing to keep calm and telling myself that I was gonna have to accept whatever was going to happen. But my husband, who had to be dragged to the shelter, started acting goofy and excited. I was like what the heck is up with you.
Deep breath and in we go. They greeted us and said that we could go in the cat room and meet him but that they had been sick so the kitties were confined in their cages. I started to freak out a bit because I needed to get him out of the cage to make sure he wasn’t afraid of me and they said he could get out but not on the floor. Yay!
The second I found him and we made eye contact, for a split second, it was like I was looking at YP again. Samoset gave me that look of pure love and immediately started to come to the door to get to me/us. I cried. Unconditional love is major for me due to being abused throughout my childhood and rejected and hurt by people throughout my life.
He got on my table, did a nose kiss to my nose, and bit on my glasses. I cried again. He snuggled with Daddy too. Of course, he jumped on the floor before we could catch him but Chip apologized. He’s a fast little booger. We have so many nicknames for him already. So we told the staff about Patches and her mild aggression with YP after vet visits and that she is 12. They said it would take her longer to adjust to him but if we move slowly, she will eventually get there. One staff member told us about her experience with adopting one of the kitties and there was howling and fighting for over a month and she was afraid she was going to be one of the people who relinquished the animal after adoption, but she covered the crate and eventually it stopped and they are fine.
They still had our adoption applications from Patches and YP which is over 11 years old. They were so sorry about YP going Home. We filled out a new application for Samoset, known at the shelter as “Katio,” and they called Lakeside, our animal hospital where the vet is, for a reference and he was ours. Yes, I cried.
They wanted us to take him home that day which we thought he would have to go to the vet first like YP and Patches but that’s not the policy anymore since he was already neutered. We just had to get him to the vet within 7 days so if he had any life altering diseases, the shelter would cover the vet care for that.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a carrier nor any kitten supplies so we said that we could get him the next day. They were fine with that. We told him we would be back tomorrow but he looked sad watching us leave the kitty room. Patches looked like that as did YP leaving them. Animals have feelings and know more than we think they do. Just like children. We underestimate the innocent so much.
I had to shut my emotions off and just focus on him both that day and the next day because the room was full of kitties and even some in the lobby. Please adopt from shelters and spray/neuter your animals to help stop the overpopulation problem. Thankfully, there are more and more no kill shelters but healthy animals are killed just because there’s no room for them. I’m grateful all the shelters here are great about not killing animals and finding foster homes for them and making sure they are adopted.
I wish I could have adopted all of the kitties in there so I just acknowledged them and focused on my new baby!
On the way out to the van after adopting him but not bringing him home, a yellow butterfly fluttered at Chip’s hand. He almost waved it off until he saw it was a butterfly, YP’s sign from Heaven. More tears and a whirling mind with emotions and thinking what we needed to go get at Petco. On the way to Petco, the funeral home had a sign about the shelter needing food. Ok, we get it God.
It’s been wonderful having him here. We did the separation of kitties for quite a while then with a gate and now he’s out of the bathroom a lot of the time but he still goes in there to sleep at night and then when we cannot watch them. They’re slowly adjusting but we just had a little incident because he wanted to go to the top perch and Patches was in the second level and didn’t like his tail flicking in her face so he is getting fed in the bathroom and time to let them chill. They’ve had other incidents but he is out here almost all the time and they eat together. Gentle parenting works for kitties too.
Overall, he loves to snuggle, sleep in my arms, and play. He’s hilarious. Patches is coming around but I will be happy when alpha kitty is established. Plus, the age difference is harder for her to adjust but we’re respecting them so we’ll get there. He’s getting better at sleeping out here but still sleeps soundly in the bathroom so when he is pushing it, we know he is getting overtired.
He plays and runs and attacks us. He’s learning not to bite hard and limits. He’s smart but still a baby. Yes, gentle parenting works for kitties as we don’t believe in spanking/hitting animals either or even punishment. We just remove them while saying “No” firmly and redirecting him. Sometimes I bop them due to my spasms and even Chip has accidentally stepped on them and then we immediately comfort them and apologize. They just know more than we give them credit for.
Thankfully, he is afraid of outside and is being good about getting away from the door. He loves to run into other rooms like Patches does and YP used to but not outside. Yay. Kitties are safer and healthier indoors only.
I still get anxious about Patches as stress isn’t good for older kitties, and I still feel like leaving YP and Patches at the vet, even though they get excellent care at Lakeside, for over 2 weeks when my grandpa went Home could have gotten YP’s diseases going. I know, it’s probably unlikely, but it still haunts me so we won’t be leaving them for more than a week at a time. They’re our babies.
Before I end this, how did we pick the name Samoset? All my kitties are somehow connected to each other and I picked Patches after the name of Sara’s favorite toy which I had named Patches as a child as Sara ripped the eye off one of my pound puppies and my mom sewed a patch over its eye so I named Patches Patches. YP was named after a ham radio friend who encouraged us to adopt 2 kitties when we were ready after Sara went Home.
With Samoset, we watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show and used to be goofy and give each other roles. Most years YP played Samoset so we decided that our next boy kitty would be named Samoset.
Samoset was an Abenaki sagamore and the first American Indian to make contact with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. — Wikipedia
I strongly believe that animals should be a part of every child’s life even if it’s a fish. Having a life to help care for teaches children responsibility and teamwork because the animal is a family member. It also helps teach children kindness and empathy as we help our children learn to respect the animal and treat it gently. Lastly, pets provide another source of love and support for the children as they can talk to the pet and love on them.
Anyway, that’s the story of our new wild man, sweet baby boy like YP. He’s a lot like YP so we know God and YP sent him. I’m so grateful for new life and experiencing happy firsts instead of sad firsts after 3 years of fresh grief. Please keep praying for them to co-exist more and more.