Happy Mother’s Day

Snip20160609_6Today is Mother’s Day. It is a holiday I don’t celebrate. Why? Because I am not a mother. We chose to not have children very early in our marriage. Now 47 years later we have no regrets. I worked with children for 35 years in my career as a speech pathologist.  When I came home at night there were other things to do. Also we wanted to travel all over the world and that costs money. Children cost money. Our choices were made. We travelled. We did other things. We do not feel empty at all for not having had children.

Instead we chose to care for animals and have done so for a very long time. We are mother and father to rescued animals since 1977 when we bought our first house in Florida and acquired a dog that had been abused. We had him for the next nine years.

When we moved to Australia we adopted cats and dogs and they have been cared for since 1989 when we bought our house in Tasmania.

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Odie and Molly who both had very rough starts to life.

We have cleaned up accidents all over the house. We have scraped up hairballs and spit. We have paid enormous amounts in veterinary bills for the previous abuse they received. We have loved them to death.  They have loved us to death. We have taught a brain injured cat how to use the litter. We taught him how to walk in a straight line when after his head injury caused by an uncaring man he could only walk in right hand circles. His right eye was saved with help from the vet.

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Uncle Buck who was stomped on as a three week old kitten, survived and is now 12 yrs. old.  Our late dog Wally, always looked out for him. We had him 16 years.

I have rescued countless animals that have been hit by cars or acquired toxoplasmosis from feral cats for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.  We’ve driven them to vets, checked their pouches for joeys and had them humanely euthanised.  The world is full of animals to be cared for.

There is a great deal more to life,  for us, than caring for children when we feel there are far too many in the world already.

This morning when I turned on facebook I saw numerous posts for mother’s day and I was looking at my bookshelf and wondering if I had any books on the shelf with the word ‘mother’ in it.

I lost my own mother in February of this year.  It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I am happy she is finally at peace.  She had difficult times in her life and she went out peacefully and I believe happily.

I booted up the Library Thing app and searched my lists of books for the words ‘Mother,’ ‘Mum’ and ‘Mom’.  Not surprisingly I only found two books out of the 1200 books on my shelves.

Snip20180513_2The first one is The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio,  How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan. I saw this on a shelf years ago and it caught my eye.  It is about a woman who enters contest after contest in America and wins money for her entries. There are many contests one can enter, especially in the United States. One must discuss a certain topic in 25 words or less. I have no idea how the winners are picked. Are the entries read? Or are they just picked at random and the winners think they wrote the most clever entry?  I have entered a few myself. I thought my answers might be amusing or different and the prize would be winging its way to me. I thought they would certainly stand out. They didn’t. Or my number was just never picked.  I’m still waiting to win the prize.

The second novel on my shelf is The Glass Mother by Rosie Jackson.  This novel is the Snip20180513_1personal story of her academic success and career at the University of East Anglia, her separation from her son when he was three, her travels, spiritual journey and ultimate reconciliation and reparation with her son. This according to her publishers website. I have not read this book but I think I will take it off the shelf today and begin it. I was wondering what book to read next. This sounds interesting and it is definitely one I haven’t read yet.

So to all of those mothers out there who do have children I’d like to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.  I hope your experiences with your children have been all you wanted. I hope you have a wonderful relationship with them and they bring you the happiness. I think motherhood is one of the hardest jobs on earth.

And to all of you who don’t have children but are mother to fur kids, I hope those relationships bring you satisfaction and happiness and not too much sadness.

Whatever choices you have made for yourself throughout life I wish you a glorious spring or autumn day (depending on which hemisphere you live in) and it all goes to plan. There is so much to enjoy in life whether you have children or not.

By the way- what books do you have on your shelf with the words, ‘mother’, ‘mum’ or ‘mom’ in the title? I’d love to know.

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Odie with his favourite toy, the very dirty frisbee.

Cat Lovers Will Enjoy This…

Snip20180510_1It is pouring buckets of rain today. We can use it. It’s midway through the morning and it is grey, wet and cold. This is the start of our Tasmanian winter.  I am ready for it. I don’t mind winter. We don’t get the snow like North America or Europe so it is liveable.  Mind you, ask me again in September, after three months of this and it will be a different story.

It has been a busy week of Play Reading and Writing Group with friends.  We finished Arsenic and Old Lace written by Joseph Kesselring, in our Play Reading class. It was great fun with the old ladies hiding the dead bodies in the window seat. I saw the film about 200 years ago but had never read the play.  It was great fun reading the various parts especially the part of Teddy “Roosevelt” Brewster. He was an old gentleman with dementia who thought he was Teddy Roosevelt. He also thought the holes he was digging in the basement were part of the building of the Panama Canal. There were some pretty good laughs as the reader got to yell, “Charge!” as he headed up or down the basement steps.

It’s been a kind of “fluffy week”. I use the term fluffy to describe events that are pleasant without angst of any kind. I also describe comfort books as ‘fluffy’. Books that can be read without much thought and can be finished quickly.

I read an article about a book named Cleo written by Helen Brown. It is a true story about a little black cat that healed a family during a tragedy that happened to them and the healing effect the cat gave them over the years.  So I put it on hold at the library a couple of months ago, forgot about it and then received an email to go pick it up.

It’s a New Zealand story. A family lives in Wellington. Mom, Dad and the two little boys, aged 9 and 6. One day mom takes them to visit a woman who had a litter of newborn kittens. Of course they weren’t going to get one. Mom, after all, was definitely not a cat person.  However the boys talk her into putting one on hold to take home when the kitten becomes old enough because after all it would make such a good birthday present for him. (Eyes look upward with pleading cries). They also promise to do any number of chores for her for the rest of their life if only, just this once, they can have this little girl.

Then about a week later tragedy hits the family in a very hard way. The arrival of the kitten is forgotten until it is delivered several weeks later. The timing couldn’t have been worse but they take her in and name her Cleo.

I don’t usually read books about animals. I have to read the last few pages of the book first to make sure there isn’t anything awful before I bond with the character in the book.

The tale is one of love, hope and redemption (as the publisher describes it). This is a very accurate description. The cat moves with the family to Auckland, New Zealand and later to Melbourne, Australia over a 23 year period.  It is a lovely little creature, small for its size and very mischievous.  He brings cuddles and laughter to those he is ‘responsible’ for.  The book has a huge “Awwwww” factor.

He lives a long, happy life so those animal lovers out there who can’t read books about animals can relax throughout this book. 23 years to be exact which is a very long life for a cat.

It is interesting to watch how this family copes with the tragedy in their life and how they evolve through the next two decades. I met their friends and lived through their highs and lows. It is written quite well and I got to know Cleo.  She was a lovely little creature.

This book isn’t for everyone. It can be read in a day and one must love cats to enjoy it. If you aren’t an animal person then leave it on the shelf.Snip20180510_3

It is a book to save for one of those days when you drink coffee or tea for most of the day because the outdoors is very wet, the rain on the roof tries to lull you to sleep and it’s cold enough to have a fuzzy wrap. It’s a comfort book or as I tend to think it, a book of ‘fluff.’

PS- if you want to see photos of my three cats – scroll down and I’ll introduce them to you.

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Uncle Buck aged 12

 

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Cousin Eddie aged 3
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Griswald (Grizzy) aged 2