Herding Cats without mascara

I think they should have warnings for women here: “Do not wear mascara” 
That makes two days running I’ve cried it all off. Yesterday we went to a family picnic at the Toronto Island and they had a ceremony to thank the siblings of transplanted kids. Some were so moving. Older kids telling their younger brothers and sisters they know their numerous hospital visits can make life boring sometimes, but that their company has meant everything. Others, like a guy I know, spoke a mere 10 words. I’m sure our girls will remember it forever: “sisters, I love you, but you’re pains in the butt.”

I can only imagine how you are wiping your own mascara off right now too. 

Today Jesse went in a 1km running race. His two sisters wanted to run alongside him. 

If I left it there it would be a lovely picture. But what really happened next was that Molly ditched Jesse because she saw other kids were passing them. Molly likes to be in front. In fact in Molly’s ideal world, Molly would be both blowing the whistle to start the race AND out in front running in it. 

I cried laughing then. A few moments later I cried goosebumps meeting extended family of parents, aunts, uncles and cousins who came all the way from Ottawa to watch their 21 year old son’s heart race 5km – six months ago it found a new home in a 42 year old man. 

There’s another family who, on the anniversary of their son’s transplant, spend the day going around their town telling their story and encouraging others to register for organ donation. So far, they have collected 1,300 registrations. 

I love it. It’s not like they are asking people for money. They are simply saying – go green. When you die, recycle yourself. 


We met another family of believers with five kids. Two of the kids have needed transplants – kidney and liver – for completely separate reasons. And the father donated to both. He told me having given part of himself to keep his children alive, he feels deeply the love of the Father who donated his son to save HIS life. 

So I wear my mascara, knowing I’m going to waste it, but with worthy tears. 

I cheer my kids with all my heart but let’s be honest, mothering is not all pretty. Especially without backup. Tim is home working to pay for all this while we are busy making medals. I find I’m crying with pride one minute then fuming with exasperation the next. There’s an animal that eats its young. I was feeling a connection as we spent an hour looking for Molly who rode away from us on Toronto Island because she “knew where to go”; then another hour looking for Jesse’s bike helmet because he forgot where he put it; and by the time we realized he’d also forgotten his shirt, I was ready to sacrifice it. 

It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt outnumbered. They are going on almost three weeks with too-little sleep from camping, trailer-ing and games-ing. It means I’m herding cats right now and some moments I’m not sure I’ll get them all back to the homestead in one piece. 

Grace is my mantra – I’ve received so much. Like the Dad who donated his organs and felt weight of the gift of God, I feel the weight and the freedom of my accepted grace. Some days it just takes more coffee and deep breathing than others to live it out. 

(A little catnip might not go astray either.)


8 thoughts on “Herding Cats without mascara

  1. Oh how I love reading your posts – tears running freely over here in kiwiland. So generous of u to share your life with us – so encouraging, challenging and affirming. Awesome family right there! You herd cats so well xx

  2. I read this and my heart bursts with pride for all of you and those other people who know the value of the ultimate gift of an organ given at enormous cost. Keep leading Mollie, keep organising the support front Indie and you my dearest grandson, keep living.

  3. These transplant games sound amazing Kim. What a special time not only to celebrate your sons life, but to witness miracles of life all around you! I cried when you described some of the transplant stories, and I laughed as you described all your challenges.
    As to feeling outnumbered, that is how I live my life every day! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who absolutely adores my kids, but who also feels exhausted trying to manage everything on my own.
    I take great comfort from Pauls words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:
    “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    Not for me to question why, I just do my best to provide beautiful memories for my kids.
    Sounds like you’ve got that nailed ❤️💐🌹

  4. I am a regular reader and a huge fan Ms. Parker. Your honesty in daily challeneges make each of us feel free to share ours (even if not so eloquently expressed) but the celebrations of lifes simplicities always make me smile! You are a gift!

  5. Another great post from Supermom! You pluck my heartstrings and I love sharing your growth and spiritual journey. Jesse looks so grown up and healthy! God bless you all!

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