Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 26, 2014

cat drawing from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

cat drawing
from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

One of my daughters has a cat. And a roommate. What to do when both she and her roommate are out of town? Ask her mom to be of service, of course. To take care of the cat, I mean.

Toby, the domestic shorthair cat, is quite affectionate. She’s tiger-striped (in shades of brown), with a white bib and paws. She doesn’t mew very loudly, but she does make her presence known. For example, when I’m typing on my laptop—like I am right now. Yes, I’m at Toby’s apartment. She’s been fed, her water’s changed, and I’ve cleaned her litter box. She is regularly coming over to me and asking for petting. I’m happy to oblige! (At least, being careful not to touch my face with a hand full of cat dander. Allergies.) That’s how I’m being kind, today.

Toby makes me think of various pets I’ve shared my house with in my life, or have been in my sister’s life. When I was born, there was a large, friendly Airedale terrier resident in my parents’ house. My earliest memories were of her. Fond memories, indeed! Then, when I was in the middle grades, my parents got another Airedale. A bit smaller, but equally as friendly! Such good girls. So affectionate. And the adventurous, striped cat that shared our apartment when my older girls were small? They all certainly made me feel good. I don’t want to forget my sister’s dogs over the years: the Labrador mix, the German shepherd mix, and the Vizsla? All faithful companions, every one. God, thank You so much for bringing animals and people together! So helpful. So loving. So inspiring!

A recent online article I read spoke of depression, and several simple ways to lessen its effects. A proper, healthy diet and regular exercise featured highly in this article. However, the article also mentioned companionship of pets. Just petting an affectionate dog or cat helps me feel better. Amazing, I know. This is one sure-fire way for me to take care of myself, to be kind to myself. Of course, sharing a house or apartment with pets is not for everyone. But for those who are able, our animal friends are wonderful, loving companions.

Besides, I can be of service to my daughter, and help out her cat, at the same time. Sounds to me like a win-win-win situation!

@chaplaineliza

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Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, August 10, 2014

birdhouse and flowers

Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

My youngest daughter is leaving home, for college. Soon. This afternoon, we went for a drive, and ended up at a mall. I bought my daughter some needed clothes. We did a little windowshopping, too.

The wonderful thing about our drive (on such a beautiful day, too!) was that it was unhurried. We took our time, and had no time constraints placed on us. A wonderful feeling, too! We went into Chicago and drove through some areas that I had not visited for some time. We saw some really attractive areas of Chicago, and I went a little out of my way to show my daughter some special houses, and houses from the turn of the 20th century, too. (Fascinating!)

I took the opportunity to relate some vignettes about my mother—dead these past twelve years. My mom was an amazing lady, and her wide and varied interests included art, architecture, real estate, history, and political science. (She had a bachelor’s degree in political science, earned in the 1940’s.)

Traveling down those very familiar—yet not-recently-traveled—city streets sparked some bittersweet memories. My daughter and I continued to talk about her grandma, mentioned some things she used to do and places she liked to frequent. As I went further into Chicago, we also talked about her great-aunt, my mom’s sister. She died a few years ago, over ninety years old. Another dear lady.

My mother loved being a grandma. She loved all her grandchildren dearly. She would have been so excited to see her first grandchild (my niece) get married. Just two weekends ago, that happened in Washington state. I was unable to attend, but Grandma would have loved it. And, it’s another of the grandchildren entering another stage of life.

This is my third daughter going off to school. Yes, it’s bittersweet to have another child leave home. Yet, I am so pleased another of my children is doing so well. She is growing up to be a curious, competent, capable, and interesting young lady.

So, yes. I acted as a mom. I did more mom-things today, by buying my daughter several items for the fall semester. (My daughter really appreciated the clothes, and told me so.) I realize it’s kind-of my job, as a parent, getting my daughter outfitted for college. But, it wasn’t a chore. My daughter and I had a very enjoyable afternoon. It was fun. A good time. And yes, a bittersweet time.

I wish my mother had had the opportunity to see her grandchildren continue to grow, and learn. But I know my children were glad for all the time they did have with their Grandma. My mom was regularly kind and helpful to her grandchildren. And me? I was kind to my daughter today. Thanks, God, for a wonderful afternoon.

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind on a Day of Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, January 20, 2014

lovely kitty

Being Kind on a Day of Service

Today is the day America celebrates the birthday anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also becoming a day more and more people associate with acts of service. What an opportunity for people to do something for someone else! Helping the poorest of the poor, or those particularly needy in some special way, this is a significant way to remember Dr. King. Volunteers all across the country are donating their time to make a positive impact, a difference in the lives of others.

I had the opportunity to do a number of things for other people today. I even received several thank you’s and words of appreciation for some of them. However, I am going to concentrate on my favorite among them: preparing a birthday present for one of my children. She lives in a city out east, and she just loves (I mean, LOVES) one particular cookie I bake for the Christmas cookie plates I prepare every year. I took the opportunity to make this particular cookie for her tonight. I’ll pack up a few dozen of them, and mail them tomorrow. She will be so surprised and pleased when they arrive! (Unless she reads this blog post, that is.)

I’ve heard some people planning to do big things, difficult things, even out-of-the-way things for their act of service. To remember, to commemorate Dr. King. Any act of service is wonderful! God honors all of this service.  And when God calls people to do acts of service that stretch them, or move them out of their comfort zone, that is a marvelous opportunity to change and to grow. Going above and beyond the usual day-to-day activities can definitely be God-honoring, too! But what about the small things? The behind-the-scenes things? The things that people don’t really notice? Faithful obedience to what needs to be done? I think there is a special place in God’s heart for this kind of faithfulness. These unsung acts of service are extra special, too. And I suspect these loved ones of God receive special hugs, too!

True, my baking cookies this evening is a little thing. But I baked them with love, and I know my daughter will really enjoy them when they arrive on her doorstep! As I packed the container and put them in a shipping box ready for the mail, I prayed for my daughter, for this coming year, for her to have a fruitful year at her job, and blessing in her personal relationships. I prayed for her good health, for safety at home, at work, and in all her activities, and most especially—for her to have fun!

Yes, I’m a loving, caring person. Yes, I act as a chaplain, or a professional caregiver. I can jump right into service to others. But I’m also a mom. I love my children! It is good for me to take the time to serve them, too. God bless my four children richly, and bless my daughter the birthday girl, in particular.

@chaplaineliza