It’s a very strange weekend. I’m making final revisions on my latest fanfic while devoting some time to this blog. There’s a powerful story slowly working its way on to Jenn’s blog and I don’t want to intrude on that report. So, I’m trying to keep a low profile. I have some working outlines for future blogs but memories of when the kids were little and when I was a young mother seem to be the menu of the day. I might as well go with the flow …
Here is a short and sweet family classic.
Did you ever notice that many family emergencies usually occur when dad/hubby is not on the scene?! One of the saddest learning moments for my kids took place during the dinner hour while their dad was out of town on business.
I was bustling in the kitchen when my little boy cried out in alarm that "something's wrong with Ginger!" Now Ginger was a gerbil who lived in splendor in a very large cage in the dining room. (We had so many guinea pigs in the basement that we had to find other spots to store the gerbils.) Ginger had been doing her daily exercise routine and managed to catch her head in between the rings of a Slinky and the poor thing strangled. (I know - bad mom, bad mom. Wrong toy in wrong cage. I still have twinges of guilt over this.) I knew as soon as I looked into the cage that the gerbil was gone. I was seriously considering critter CPR.
My son was only 7-8 years old and this was his first experience with the death of a pet. He was crying so hard and when I sadly told him that the gerbil was indeed dead, he took the limp body of Ginger in his hands and dropped to his knees and exclaimed: "Jesus, resurrect this gerbil!"
It was hard for Joseph to comprehend that the resurrection stories he heard in school could not be applied to his favorite pet. I let him hold the lifeless body, still warm, and either he or Jenn decided that they wanted to take a picture. I was speechless and feeling quite inadequate as their mom. I could not make it better. I think we all have moments as parents when not being able to make it better becomes a learning experience for us more than our children. It's very humbling.
It seemed that the kids themselves knew what they needed. So somewhere in the old box of family photos is a picture of two sad-faced kids, tears streaming down their faces, making peace with the untimely loss of a beloved pet.
Epilogue: Ginger had a formal and prayerful burial under our dogwood tree. Ritual is an important part of healing. The dogwood tree became the sentinel for many a burial of our smaller pets. Sacred ground. Joe went on to become a doctor.