Just Love Them
Written by Terri P.
The Lord sure does work in mysterious ways. He recently put a kitten in my life to teach me a lesson about my son and about unconditional love.
At the end of July we discovered a stray cat had been raising 3 kittens underneath our storage shed. Long story short: We decided to adopt 2 of the kittens. Up until then we were pet-less (save for some tropical fish), and my 4 year old is a true animal lover who had been begging for a pet anyway. So we welcomed these 2 furry bundles with open arms; one was all black, the other all gray.
Within a few weeks, the gray kitten had completely warmed up to our family. He was a loving, purring ball of fluff and loved to be kissed and cuddled and carried around. The black one, however, didn't adapt so easily. He was shy and cautious, and even after several weeks he would hiss and spit at us if we tried to pet him. I began to lose my patience with this kitten. "Why am I going to pay money to feed him, to house him and give him medical care when all he does is hide from me?" I thought. "Besides, he'll never adjust to this house with 2 active little boys. He belongs somewhere else".
So I tried finding another home for him. I contacted every "No Kill" shelter in the area. All were overrun with kittens, none would take him. I offered him to every friend and relative I knew. I even posted an Ad on Craigslist, all to no avail. Eventually it became clear to me: No one wanted this flawed cat. I was either going to have to keep him in spite of his skittish nature, or have him put to sleep at the town shelter.
In the meantime, I thought I was trying to win this kitten over with love and tenderness. I spoke softly to him. I fed him the canned food that cats go crazy over. I walked slowly around him, careful not to startle him with any quick moves. He'd make a little progress, and then something would frighten him--like my son running too quickly past him, or me accidentally stepping on his tail--and he'd hiss and spit and hide for a day. "THAT CRAZY CAT"! I'd think. "Something's wrong with that one! Who needs a pet like that?"
Finally, I felt I had no other option but to take him to the town shelter, where they minced no words: “We will euthanize him immediately”. I rationalized that his erratic moods could be putting my sons at risk--what if he flipped out and scratched them?
But whenever the time came to actually put him in the cat carrier and drive to the shelter, I couldn't do it. I'd look at the kitten sleeping peacefully in the sunbeam, or wrestling with his littermate, and I'd lose my resolve.
One night, as I was telling my husband about this inner conflict of feeling I had no choice but to take him to the shelter but not having the nerve he said something very simple, yet profound. "Honey," he said “Why don't you stop worrying about all of this and just love him".
Just love him? Well I thought that’s what I’d been doing. But when I really thought about it, was I trying to love him or was I hoping to change him? Was I truly reaching out to the kitten unconditionally, or was every bone in my body screaming "Change your ways or ELSE"?
My husband’s simple statement took all of the pressure off of me. It was resolved. Taking the kitten to the shelter was no longer an option. He was our kitten, and we would love him in spite of his "flawed" personality. Even if he never became friendly and cuddly like his littermate. I accepted him for the shy, skittish creature that he was.
You might think the story ends there, and even if it did there would be an important lesson in it. But it doesn't end there.
Honest to God, within DAYS of coming to that place where I was no longer tormented about what to do with the kitten and I accepted the situation without hoping to change it, his personality changed. This kitten who used to hiss and spit at me now chooses to climb in my lap and lay down with his head resting on my leg, purring away. He lets me pick him up, and he even comes running when I call his name. Something in the way I react to him, or something in the vibes I give off changed, and he came around.
Is it any coincidence that it was in between all of this that my son's Tourettes exploded and nearly shattered me?
When my son's tics were at their worst, I literally could not be in the same room with him without feeling this horrible inner torment. It felt like my insides were being ripped out. My heart was broken. My son, my "perfect" baby, my bright, beautiful boy was "flawed". I wanted the old him back.
Oh sure, I told him that I loved him, I told myself I was crying for him and not for me. But the truth is, I wasn't accepting my son for who he was. I prayed with all my might for the tics to go away. When he wasn't ticcing much, I found it easy to hold him and to spend time with him. Things would start to feel normal again. But when the tics would flare later in the day, I couldn't bear it. I was crawling out of my skin all over again.
But Tourette’s isn't some "germ" that infected my son or that I hope can be cured. Tourettes is something he was born with, even though it didn't express itself until now. God programmed him that way, this is who he is. It's part of all of the little things that make up my son. My bright, beautiful son, full of energy, full of life, with a heart of pure gold.
How do you learn to accept a kitten that hisses and spits and won't let you touch him? The same way you learn to accept a boy that clucks and hics
and tics all day long: You just love them. Unconditionally. You put aside your own expectations of how they SHOULD act and who YOU want them to be. You accept them for being them.
And the silver lining? By simply letting go, you project a different vibe, you’ll relax, and like magic, they will respond accordingly. Thank you God, for the kitten, and for my son.
Thanks you all for being there for me during this incredible journey!
Disclaimer- I am "just a mom". Every effort was made to insure this information was as accurate as possible. However, no information found on any website should be substituted for the care of a licensed competent professional.
A WORD ABOUT SPELLING
The official name of the condition, according to the DSM-IV-TR, is Tourette's disorder.
Tourette's is also referred to as TS, Tourette Syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, GTS, and Gilles de la Tourette's Syndrome.
You may also see it referred to as the Tourette Syndrome Spectrum Disorder,
but many proponents of this terminology include conditions in this alleged spectrum
which have not been shown to be part of or genetically linked to Tourette's syndrome.
Common misspellings are tourettes syndrome, tourretts, tourrettes, touretts, terrets, terets, turettes, and turrets syndrom.
Tourette's disease is another common misnomer (it's not a disease).
Another common misspelling is ticks: ticks are nasty beasts that bite dogs and people. People with Tourette's disorder have tics.
Thank you to TSNW for
permission to use the copywrited wording above and for her countless hours of
dedication to Tourette's education.
Thank you to Haejinn for permission to print her story on how to tell kids about TS (found on the FAQ page).
Thank you to Haejinn, SLeaska, HBool, Glen625,Sabina0815, MaterialDiva, BlueChin and KBurra for their support and help getting this website up and running. It was truly a collaborative effort.
Thank you to Teri and Leah for their input and support. Not only have you helped with this website but you have also supported us through this journey. Words cannot thank you enough!
A huge THANK YOU to our son for not only helping with this site but for teaching me more about life, humility, and humanity than anyone else I know.
Copyright 2006. All right reserved.
No part of this publication may be copied, re-printed, or used in any form without my prior written consent.
By Cristimo3: Growing Up With Tourette's Syndrome- Information for Kids