by Joy DeKok
Although I have love for animals hard-wired into my DNA, having rescuing and releasing baby raccoons was not my goal. I was an observer – not a participant. Or so I thought.
Then one day, due to circumstances beyond their control and mine, five tiny bandits moved into my kitchen and my heart. They were only a few days old, frail from not eating, and desperate. Their fur was like baby fluff, their eyes still shut, and their brand-new legs so weak they couldn't walk.
I fell head over heels in love.
Those little bandits took more than my heart in the time they spent with us. They changed my internal clock. As a full-time writer, it was my habit to sleep in until 9 in the morning. However, getting up to feed, clean, and cuddle with these furry bundles was no problem – even on the coldest Minnesota days. Sitting with them in their kennels while the bitter wind blew, was no big deal when I was with them. Many mornings I didn't realize I was cold until I got back into my warm kitchen.
When one baby got sick, I nursed him. When another ran away and was too little to be on his own, I prayed for my prodigal. When they were naughty, I scolded. And, when they needed to snuggle, I opened my arms.
So did my husband.
Watching Jon play with them, our ordinary marriage took an extraordinary turn. One day while the raccoons crawled all over him, I noticed how handsome he was. When they teased him, his laughter sounded like music. Seeing his tenderness with them, something in my heart shifted.
A marriage on the verge of stale was re-ignited by one man's response to five ring-tailed babies.
Looking back I know part of what attracted me to Jon in the first place (besides his good looks, strong body, great humor, and smile) was his gentle soul. After taking it for granted for a while, seeing it again was like the first time I'd discovered it only better.
Knowing how He wired me, God sent five wild babies into our lives, to teach us more about him, and then He used them to remind me that Jon is the earthly love of my life. I can honestly say with Judy Garland, "For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."
This is the grown-up version of our experience with these little ones. With Jon's love and support, I have written and published a children's book that spans the eleven months they stayed with us. You can purchase the print copy ($10 include shipping and handling) from me at www.booksbyjoy.com or the e-book is available for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad. Today, you can get the Kindle version for free! http://amzn.to/Xot55l
Joy DeKok lives with her husband Jon on thirty-five acres of woods and fields between Pine Island and Rochester, Minnesota. She is the author of several published books, a speaker, and a social media consultant. She enjoys riding their land on a John Deere Gator with her dogs, Sophie and Tucker. You can learn more about Joy on her personal website http://www.joydekok.com/ or about her books at www.booksbyjoy.com.