If Moving Almost Killed the Cat…

… what has it done to the rest of my family?!?

I think I’ve mentioned that in the past seven weeks we’ve moved, twice. First into very temporary housing, and then, three weeks ago, into a rental house. We’ll be here until February when we move into our permanent home.

Five days into the second move, I noticed that our cat hadn’t eaten anything. The vet confirmed that he had lost two pounds, so he was hospitalized for three days. He came home and resumed his hunger strike for five more days.

In the midst of all this was the normal rush of September, the back to school nights and needing pants that were long enough to cover William’s ankles and unpacking the final boxes and figuring out ballet class and soccer practice and patterns of life in a new town. And in the midst of it was a fair amount of yelling on my part and push back from my children, and from William in particular.

I think the low point came when the cat was still in the hospital and I was walking home from the bus stop with the kids. First William picked up a five foot branch and started waving it around. “Sweetie, be careful with that branch, you might hit someone.”

He promptly threw it in my direction.

I ignored him.

Once home, he sat on a chair with muddy shoes. When I said, “I need you to take off your shoes and put them in the shoe bin,” he dug in his heels (literally). I pulled out all my parenting book expertise and said, “I notice you aren’t very calm in your body right now. I think you need to take some time in your room to calm down and then you can come back to be with us.”

His feet stopped kicking. He looked me in the eye, and then he spit. And I lost it.

It’s gotten a little better since then. A few days later, the cat returned with a probiotic to sprinkle on his food. He seems to be content and eating again. I’ve had a few more hours to write this week than last, and Penny has her first playdate with a friend from school today.

And on Monday, I started a parenting class offered William’s school. I told him I’d be going to school in the morning too, for a class on learning to be a good mommy. He said, “Are they going to teach you how not to fight with me so much?”

Moving almost killed the cat, and it’s clearly done some damage in my relationship with William. My soul feels a bit beaten up by the lack of writing time, and Penny still asks when we can go home. But the kids are sleeping through the night. We are all making friends. Every day another tree lights up with red and orange and yellow leaves. We are surrounded by beauty. And in spite of our fights, William still sidles up to me and leans his head against my arm and says, “I love you, Mom.”

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).

Comments

  1. Paul C says:

    Love the family picture, Amy Julia! Praying for you all in this transition.

  2. Lisa W says:

    Hang in there! I’m praying for you.

  3. Tim says:

    Adding my prayers, AJ. And that throwing the stick at you thing when you said he had to be careful because he might hit someone? That was me at that age. That’s probably not very reassuring.

  4. Genius. Seriously AJ. You are wonderful.

  5. Mary Frances says:

    Great post, and I’m loving the family pic – classic! :)

  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks for allowing us in, Amy Julia, as we connect with our own daily vulnerabilities. Sweet photo, too!

  7. Marlene M. says:

    I enjoyed this posting, especially the family photo! I hope things settle down for you soon… moving is hard on everyone!


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