(If you missed the first part of this story, you’ll want to go back and read Part I)
Much to my disgust, the boys were completely over their concern for Blackie by the time I crawled out.
“That’s okay.” They said. “She’ll come back. She always does.”
Why was this information not shared with me before I slid through slime?
But, as my mother taught me, Life is not fair.
That was the first cat incident.
The second cat incident happened the last day.
I was exhausted. I’m not gonna lie.
Nevertheless, I got up while the house was still quiet. I was determined that I was going to get showered, dressed, and have my devotions before anything else broke loose. That’s what real moms do, right?
I didn’t have my contacts in (a phrase which herein means, I was blind). This fact does great things for my ability to ignore the world. It is much easier to avoid distractions when you have only the faintest sense of sight.
And I wasn’t going to let anything distract me.
Not even that strange smell wafting into my bedroom.
Not even the fact that the strange smell was the dirty diaper kind of odor.
Not even the fact that the smell seemed to intensify as I headed toward the bathroom.
Whatever it was, I could deal with it after I was clean, my hair was dry, and I had read my Bible.
I brushed back the shower curtain and there, right there, on the white shower floor, was a large, brown pile.
It took me a while (in my blind state and in unfamiliar territory) to rummage up proper cleaning materials. I was on my hands and needs scrubbing the tub when I heard a voice behind me.
“What are you doing?” Reformed 3-year old asked. He really was cute.
“Cleaning the tub.”
“Because your cat used it as a potty.”
“That is a very good question.”
“I understand. Give me a couple of minutes and then…”
That was the start of another day.
And the end of my plans.
It was that afternoon that the boys’ dad arrived back from his business trip. It had been three days full of competitions and heart breaks, but we had a lot of good times too. I had prepared food, done laundry, cleaned the kitchen, played games, chased a cat, slithered through slime, and now…scrubbed the tub. Needless to say, I had worked very hard not only to keep them changed and fed but also to let them have some fun.
But as their dad unloaded from his car, the five boys went running outside like so many starving sailors who had just spent decades marooned on a dessert island eating roots, slugs, and tree bark.
I was glad they were happy to see their dad, but I felt a bit betrayed as they inundated him with every detail of the days gone wrong and all the reasons why mom should be MAD!
I don’t think they mentioned one good thing from the three days. Not one.
Tell Miss Danielle, “thank you.” The dad ordered as I gathered my things.
The boys tilted their heads in my direction. “Thank you,” they mumbled.
Then I drove off into the sunset.
Mom was right, life isn’t fair.
It was a few days later that the phone call came that put the icing on the cake.
It was the boys’ mom. The summary of what she had to say was this, “For some odd reason, my husband thinks it would be appropriate to pay you A LOT of money. I don’t think that’s necessary, do you?”
I didn’t really know what to say. I didn’t need A LOT of money, but I also didn’t know what A LOT of money was. I think I said something like, “whatever you think, I was happy to do it.”
They did write me a check, I was well paid, and I was grateful to get it. I didn’t remember thinking it was A LOT of money…And I was a broke law student making $7.25/hr. Anything should have seemed like A LOT of money.
But it hindsight, it was a good thing. It helped me get a better glimpse both of that mother and of life as a mother in general.
She didn’t think much of what I had done, but then, why should she? This was her life. She did it every day without a check. Probably without much thanks at all. And, had she just been through what I had been through, the last three days wouldn’t have stood out to her in the least. It was just life.
And it sometimes it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that some of the toughest jobs earn the smallest paychecks. And that kids who should drop to their knees in eternal gratitude will instead blow off someone’s hard work. It isn’t fair that cats will use the bathtub when they have a perfectly good litter box just inches away.
But life isn’t fair.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me that. Bet you thought it would never sink in.
And thanks, moms, for working a job that stinks sometime. And is never quite fair.
Blackie did come back (that same day, in fact!) no worse for wear. The family are still friends although I should probably be wondering why I was never asked to babysit again. All the boys grew up to be responsible members of society to my knowledge. And no, this episode is not the reason that I am still single and childless…although it just might have something to do with the fact that I do not have a cat.