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Your Cat's NOT in My Cradle | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Your Cat's NOT in My Cradle

“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.


4 Responses to “Your Cat's NOT in My Cradle”

  1. auntbethany January 21, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Beautiful post…I love how you so eloquently tied in the song through every paragraph. We DO have the option to change our lives, if the need and want is strong enough. You are so lucky to have someone in your life that believes in you AND what you are capable of. Great post!

  2. Charlie Courtois January 21, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Hi Mary, this is a wonderful story.

    It’s our choices, not the cat in the cradle, that determine the outcome of our lives.

    How true. I participate in the Kairos Prison Ministry, and it is: “Listen, Listen, Love, Love.”

    What happens to us, like you say, ia all about the CHOICES, make make.
    Keep it up. cc

  3. Luisa January 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    I love being with young folks.. my childhood experience is marred by parental neglect…kids rock my world now, I have an 11 year old we have the best time together

  4. April Hawkins January 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Yes, we can choose our life to be different. Thank you for sharing your personal story. You need to read the book The Travleler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. The book talks about how we can make choices, put forgiveness into place and move forward no matter our circumstances. I just finished reading this book yesterday. I could not put it down! Read it in a day!

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