I continue to learn lessons from the new kittens this week — and from my year old precious black and white duo. Rascal lays on the table near the box and carrier to watch the activities of the three strangers to our home. Curiosity is getting closer everyday. Bandit has now discovered his voice. Rarely have I heard him meow, but having observed the screamer (the light runt) he actually talked this week.

I wondered what was causing that mature meow in the back of the house. Come to find out, my phone alarm was going off, a sure sign morning had come.

Caring for these tiny kittens has reminded me how delicate new life is in an adult’s hand. My sister is an excellent nurse and at one time was a NICU supervisor and staff nurse. Looking down at the kittens reminds me that some of our children are born not larger than these tiny creatures. They fight for life and our wonderful medical professionals hold their lives in their hands. Luckily, some are as resilient as these kittens. I dropped one the first day, rather it wiggled out of my hand. The fall frightened me, but didn’t seem to phase the kitten.

As they grow, we’re not always so careful with children. I was thinking about the scriptures that tell us how to raise children. They are invaluable. Some have been etched in my mind and every time I see young parents yelling at their younger children who have not yet learned not to do the things they are being yelled about doing, I cringe.

Yet, there is a reason God gives children to young parents — they have the energy and stamina to do all that is required to care, train, cook, clean, wash clothes, run errands, teach baseball, soccer, dance or other interests of children these days — if you can get them off the electronics.

I love to see children at The Shadows Farm Fest or other educational events that allow them to use their imaginations. I recently discovered in a children’s store the cutest play stations for domestic activities like cooking. A vet station had one side for grooming and one side for the doctor’s exam. My favorite was the cash register and shopping cart to play store.

In the backyard at my grandparents, my sister or cousin and I would set up shop. The old crank telephone rang when turning the crank, not to receive a call. It was disconnected but hung on the wall in our store for taking orders. There were actual display cases in the old storeroom because it once was part of a florist shop. Our grandmother, Mimi, would give us discarded cans and boxes of cake mix, pudding or other condiments so we could shop for the things we needed for dinner. Green leaves from plants, flowers and actual things out of granddaddy’s garden were our fake meals. On good days we could play for hours outside. In the fall, raking the leaves into a frame for a house gave another dimension to our domestic pretend.

I can’t help but think that in today’s fast paced society, bustling to and fro, demands individually on family members, makes the collective time together so impersonal. The best part of going to Jena to visit the grandparents was the all the attention we received. It didn’t matter that Mimi had cooking to do, or shopping — we always got to stop at the Dairy Barn for ice cream — or we’d stop in to shop with our grandfather who really was a retail merchant. He’d measure our feet in the shoe department and to my personal horror, sold mom my first bra. Truly those were the saints that shaped my life and the memories I hope kids today can have — one-on-one time with their elders. It’s how we grow.

Vicky Branton is the Teche Life editor at The Daily Iberian.

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