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Black vs. Gray: Helping Kids Overcome Disappointment
Last Friday, we took one of our cats to the vet. She was very sick, and she’ll be 17 years old next month. We weren’t sure she would come home. The girls cried all the way to the vet’s office. I had been very honest with them and told them that I would not take any heroic measures to save the life of a cat who had already lived a very full, very long life.
In the waiting room, as we waited to find out Jazmine’s fate, the girls played with a light gray kitten in a cage. It was up for adoption, and I was really tempted, but I didn’t think DH would agree to adopt a kitten. (We’ve told the kids “no” to a kitten or puppy for years, even though they’ve never had one. Our cats were already well past middle age when the girls were born.)
When DH got off work, he came and took over at the vet’s office. We had been there for over 1.5 hours and still hadn’t been called back. As the girls and I left, I mentioned the kitten. DH didn’t say anything, and we left. We had another appointment, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the girls to be there when the vet gave the diagnosis. We waited anxiously for the results.
The diagnosis wasn’t as bad as we feared, but the cause was age-related. Jazmine got a shot and was ready to come home. My husband asked if I wanted the gray kitten. I couldn’t believe it, but I answered yes.
Another text message arrived. The gray kitten had already been adopted. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was very cute and friendly. The good news was that they had more kittens in the back. The girls and I loaded up to head over and take a look.
We chose another gray kitten. She would be ready to go on Monday, right after she passed her feline leukemia test with a “negative” result. The girls named her Cleo. We went shopping for kitten food, feeding bowls, and a few toys. We prayed she would pass her test.
Monday, we were all excited about the new kitten. Except the vet’s office didn’t run the test, and they began talking about how she might be too young to leave. The girls were heartbroken. I didn’t understand either. We had prayed and prepared for her all weekend. DH took the pet carrier and went to find out what was going on.
He got no promises on when they would run the test on Tuesday. There was another mention of her not being old enough to leave. But there was one female kitten ready to go—the black one we had rejected on Friday. DH called and asked me what I wanted to do. I talked to the girls, and they prayed.
They asked their daddy bring home the black kitten. The vet’s office realized it wasn’t our first choice and agreed to let us take her overnight on a “trial” basis.
And Midnight joined our family. I don’t know if we’ll ever know why Cleo didn’t join our family, but Midnight has been a joy. She is a sweet kitten and has already brought a lot more love and laughter into our home. We have discussed how she joined our family and what lessons we might learn from it.
I know that kittens and big issues don’t compare, but I hope the girls will remember this when other disappointments come:
- Why didn’t I get the part I tried out for?
- Why wasn’t I chosen for that job?
- Why was I passed over for promotion again?
- Why didn’t he call me?
- Why doesn’t she want to be my friend?
Whatever the issues they face, I want my children to remember their first kitten and to know that God loves them and is always working things out for their good. Would Cleo have been just as good a fit for our family? I don’t know. We may never know. But Midnight is definitely good.
How do you help your kids overcome disappointment?
For more from the Be Fully Persuaded series, including testimonies of God’s love and faithfulness to my family in times past, click the graphic below:
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