Thursday, August 04, 2011

An Accidental Mother

While we were camping last week, we were hit with a huge thunderstorm. It was an incredibly scary afternoon. We had rain every single day we were there, so we had developed a routine for during storms. I took the dogs into the tent with me and read a book, sometimes with Mia or Jesse, while everyone else gathered in the camper.   I didn't think the dogs would be comfortable or good in the camper, and I certainly don't mind listening to the rain while reading a good book. I've always loved the rain, so it's an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I planned for something similar last Saturday afternoon, putting my book and a soda in the tent in anticipation of my time there, tipping over the chairs so the rain doesn't pool in the seats, cleaning up anything that could blow away or be damaged by rain, etc.

The afternoon was very calm until the wind came up very suddenly. Jesse, who as at the beach with Mia, said it was like being sandblasted. I took off for the tent with the dogs, only when I got there, I only had Cooper. I got him inside and ran back out calling and looking for Charlie. I finally found him in the camper! When the door opened, he was the first one inside, despite his previous fear of it! He knew where it was safe. I got Charlie in the tent, and Doogie joined us there. We quickly closed up the windows, only to discover that the wind was so strong, it blew one side of tent walls into a reverse C shape. Doogie and I tried to push back to support the walls, but the wind was so strong, it knocked me on my butt! And then it tore out the back corner of the tent.

I made the decision to evacuate us all to the camper. Doogie grabbed Charlie, and I grabbed Cooper. When we got outside, I found that Jesse was there and looking at the damaged tent. I got the dogs in the camper and ran back out looking for Mia. She was hysterical, covered in blue Superman ice cream, and soaking wet in her swimsuit. I got her into the camper, and then ran back to the tent to get her dry clothes and her special blanket. I know it was crazy to run out in this storm, but I wanted to help Mia calm down and feel safe, and if she was stuck in wet clothes, that wasn't going to happen.

We spent the next hour or so peeking out the windows of the camper at the torrential rain and violent winds while roasting in the heat. We came out to discover that our tent was fixable for the last night's sleeping, but we had to throw it away the next day. There were branches everywhere. We even came home to discover that one of the trees in our yard lost the top twenty feet! It was quite a storm, and I'm thankful we came through it fairly unscathed and with several humorous stories that we can tell in the years to come.

An Accidental MotherAn Accidental Mother by Katherine Anne Kindred is the story of a mother's love that was never meant to be. Kate Kindred had experienced two failed marriages that led her to the decision to have a tubal ligation, ending her chances of becoming a mother. She determined that she didn't have the maternal gene until she fell in love with Jim, a cop who was in the process of a bitter custody battle over infant Elizabeth with his ex-wife when he discovered that he was also the father of two-year-old Michael. Michael's mother was arrested for drug issues and gave up parental rights to the boy, leaving him with Jim, and soon Kate. At first she was uncertain about her role in Michael's life, but when Jim and Kate moved in together, she quickly became Michael's full time mom and primary caregiver, soothing nightmares, reading bedtime stories, and trying to establish a sense of right and wrong in this sweet little boy. Michael quickly stole her heart, and she embraced her new role as Mom, despite Jim's repeated delays of her adopting his son. This all came to an end when Jim ended the relationship and cut off all contact with now eight-year-old Michael, breaking Kate's heart. In this slim volume, she retells the story of her falling in love, not with Jim, but with Michael and motherhood, and how this small child touched her heart indelibly. Kate's brokenness and aching resonates on every page. Even the silly stories in alternating chapters are filled with the weight of the knowledge that they are coming to an end all too soon. This story speaks to the pain of anyone who has every loved a child without any blood shared, and the failure of the courts to recognize these connections. This is not an easy read, but it is a worthwhile one that will break readers' hearts and get them thinking.

Thank you to Unbridled Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review!

Today's pics are of a Barbary lion and a baby hyena from the DeYoung Family Zoo.