“Cat’s in the Cradle,” by Johnny Cash is my parenting theme song. With a twist. (hint – play while reading this blog)
He sings of making bad parenting choices and his son’s repeating that pattern. That doesn’t have to happen. I don’t repeat the patterns of my childhood.
Instead, I sing, “I’ll be nothing like you – your cat’s NOT in my cradle.” I deliberately chose a better path.
My family – my children and my husband – have and always will come first.
Struggling to survive the “childhood-that-wasn’t” shaped my character. However, I chose how I would use it.
Your childhood script can be flipped with hard work.
By the grace of God and with the support of a wonderful husband who’s spent the past 20 years gently loving away the rough edges, I changed. Once a scared but tough survivor who managed on my own since age 18 with long hair and short skirts, I had moved 26 times in 24 years when we first met. Sometimes I had slept on friends’ couches or floors when I was between addresses.
My husband helped me become a wife and mom. We built our family together – talking, laughing, and sometimes arguing our way through family dinner hours, laundry piles, teen angst, and carpools. We have a good time now.
I have neither anger nor regrets about the past. At the end of Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that what man meant for ill can be used for good by God to help others.
How can God use my terrible experiences of a lifetime ago? I can help young people struggling in their own stories, reach their hearts and tell them life can be better. As Corrie ten Boom once said, there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. We are not alone. There is hope.
Because of where I was, my life and family now is doubly precious. Instead of being trapped in past problems, God sent a husband and friends to help me write my own song.
Your cat’s not in my cradle. I’m not just like you. My kids aren’t just like me.
The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man in the moon…my children had a childhood.
Stories that start sadly can change and get the happy ending. Mine did.
It’s our choices, not the cat in the cradle, that determine the outcome of our lives.