Monday, May 30, 2011

Two Compassionate Hearts

I'm hanging wet clothes over the rail of the deck when I spot the neighbour's cat in pursuit of something. I peer over the edge waiting for him to emerge from the bushes he's scampered under. Suddenly, the black and gray striped tabby proudly prances across my lawn with a chipmunk wriggling in his mouth. I close my eyes for a moment and announce to anyone listening through the open screen door, "Oh dear, Tiger's got himself a chipmunk."
Four curious children come running, slamming the patio door behind them and their eyes search wildly around the yard for Tiger. I can't look but I point in the direction I saw him heading. My children gasp as they catch the head-held-high, slowly marching feline before he slips through the hedge and disappears toward his own home. Before I can say another word, the two youngest have sped through the house to the back door and out into the yard. I call after them but they're gone. I'm still reeling from the sick feeling I get whenever I see animal carnage and I stand at my kitchen sink and swallow hard. Ick.

Just then, Oliver shows up behind me, excitedly declaring that he's saved the "chick-munk"! I whip around to find my boy actually holding that poor animal up to me! I scream and shoo him out as quickly as I can, my hand on his back, pushing him toward the back door. He's bewildered and just keeps saying, "Why, Mommy?" I'm ordering him to take that thing outside right now and don't touch dead animals! and Meghan and Molly are backing up, wide-eyed at the whole thing. I return to the kitchen and lean over the counter, catching my breath, wondering if this is par for the course for mothers of boys.

Somehow I am missing where Emily might be in all of the commotion, and as it turns out, she's not privy to the information I have just given her brother. No sooner am I catching my breath when my six year-old daughter enters the scene offering up the same small sacrifice! I'm now shrieking for it to be put outside, once and for all. But Emily turns and cries that it's not dead yet! She's explaining that his little legs are moving and that he keeps falling over. What? Had she been setting him down, trying to make him walk? I shudder and spin her around and out the door. We take the poor creature, lying on his back, four legs in the air, eyes bulging, to a hidden spot we know other chipmunks dash into when startled. I shudder again and usher my two children in to the house to wash up.
Their two big sisters have witnessed the whole thing and are now laughing like crazy as I instruct the animal rescue team to scrub their hands hard with soap and when they're done, to do it again. Emily is whimpering something about it being her job to save God's creatures. I'm still not cool with them picking up the teeth-torn bodies of small animals but when I look into their desperate little faces, I'm beginning to understand their passion. My mind files back to my own animal rescue days as a child. To where did my fearless abandon disappear?

I saddle back to the kitchen and chalk this one up for our family memories and hope I can demonstrate a more compassionate reaction next time (praying there are not too many more "next times" :)
813. the innocence of small people
814. completing a few loads of laundry
815. the release of a stronghold, PTL!
816. creepy little silkworms we've been studying--amazing
817. for voting friends who are taking it more seriously than me, LOL! (love you)
818. a neighbour who is just as spontaneous as I am :)
819. that the only show he watches is 19 Kids And Counting (unbelievable change!)
820. Pillsbury cookie dough
821. peanut butter chocolate ice cream
822. York peppermint patties
823. arrowroot baby cookies
824. bedtime and treat time for Mommy :)


The Carmodys said...

LOL!!!! I'm sorry Heather but I'm with the two big sisters . . . laughing like crazy! So cute and so innocent. I'm sure I'd have the same reaction as yours (if not worse!) Thanks for the laugh.


nic said...

oh, the wonder of brave, compassionate children. looks like you're doing a fine job there, mama. :)

C Laman said...

This post is so awesome!!!! Reminds me of the time I was frog catching when I was a kid....use to catch the frogs and "barbecue" the legs...didn't go over well with my I did what every little boy would do...found boy frogs, and girl frogs...and put them in buckets together to make new frogs for all the ones I hurt!

I was splitting a gut at the sheer visuals of all of this.

Rest easy...chipmunks are from the squirrel family, and are an incredibly clean, often disease free rodent. Destructive little critters, but very clean. At lease oliver and Emily weren't handling mice ;)

Heather@Cultivated Lives said...

Thanks for the beautifully written post. I laughed, cringed and totally 'got' where you were coming from. Oftentimes I've wondered where my sense of adventure and thrill in the more grosser things in life went. I was a tomboy growing up, but parenthood has seemed to reveal that much of that has disappeared...

I'm with your voting friends! :) I'm glad that you are listed on there and you deserve every single vote (and more) than you've received so far! :) I pray others who happen in here are as blessed as I have been.