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What happened when I blinked

January 12, 2017

Although I am a planner, I often feel that much of life sneaks up on me.  With everything that has happened in our lives, I have learned to perfect the art of “Plans B, C, and D . . .” sometimes exhausting the alphabet and going with Plan Z in the end.  Even when I know something is going to happen, I don’t always deal with its arrival well.  One of my besties still likes to tease me about the time my “not handling it well” poured forth from my eyes when I realized that Reed was leaving the sixth grade moving onto the adventures and perils of 7th grade.  I could have never imagined what would really happen, but after his last Track & Field day, my heart broke because my boy was growing up.

Sometimes I look at my children and all the air seems to be sucked right out of my body as I try to wish with every fiber of my being for time to slow down.  They have lived through so much, and yet they are still going forth making huge differences in the lives of others.  Recognizing this is when I want to go back and savor every moment of their lives because in an all too soon time frame they will have launched – skyrocketed really – into the world.

One of those bittersweet momma moments sneaked up on me in the passing of the New Year.  I hadn’t really thought about it, because sometimes the oldest children seem so much older and more mature simply because they were born first and the babies are relegated to being little forever. Reed was twelve years old and in the 7th grade when he died and now the baby of our family recently turned twelve and is a grade behind him due to having a winter birthday.

To me, she is still the curly-haired, chubby-cheeked bundle of energy who loved reading the My First Little House books every day at naptime.  She is supposed to be the little cutie who the oldest taught to say “What up my peeps?” when greeting people.  Frozen in time as the little who once implored me to just let “nature be her teacher” is where my heart wants her to stay.

That same heart wasn’t ready (it never is) when she phoned the veterinarian herself to arrange to have her furry little pet put to sleep.  Lord Business, the hamster extraordinaire, developed a massive tumor and as much as she loved her little friend, she could not stand another day of him not enjoying the things that he once loved – like preparing for the hamster Olympics every night by incessantly running on that squeaky wheel.

Lost sleep or not and trust me there were many nights where I was less than enamored with the Herculean strength and stamina packed into such a pint-sized rodent, Lord Business was the perfect first pet.  He “talked” to her every day and waited patiently each morning for his favorite indulgence – a cheese flavored yogurt bite.  He loved running in the wheel and in the ball around the house.  For such a tiny tyke, his presence filled a room – both in joy for us and terror in the hearts of the dogs of the household.  But probably his most endearing quality was the way he snuggled with his girl.  Having had hamsters and gerbils in my lifetime, I have never witnessed a cuddlier pocket pet.  Whenever she took him out of the cage, the first thing he would do is lay out sprawled in her hand like he was some version of a miniature bearskin rug.  He never once tried to run away or jump out of her hands.  Apparently nestled in her tiny hands was his place of respite.

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With such a developing companionship, how could I not notice how she had blossomed from elementary girl to middle school tween? I blinked and she became a mature and conscientious pet owner who loved her furry little buddy enough to end his suffering. Somehow when us mommas are busy dealing with the day-to-day busyness of life, our children’s hearts and souls grow right before our eyes.

She will always be my baby, but on the day I accompanied her to say good-bye, I went with a beautifully sweet and mature soul.

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While I was still trying to make her much younger than she really is, she understood to love a pet is to understand that someday you might have to let them go. In the most fitting of ways, she held him close until the very end because her love was fierce and strong and tender.  And if this is any indication of the woman she will become, I couldn’t be more proud.

2 Comments
  1. Rhoda Nelson permalink

    Kandy – While Cloie was with me the day we went to Willmar, she informed me that she does not have a boyfriend, even though Erin has one. She also said that some of the 5th graders had boyfriends. (No more going to see the “flutterbyes with grandpa.)

    • Oh Rhoda – this is all so true. My kiddos are growing up, but thankfully no boyfriends . . . yet. Although in my heart, I think Cloie would go anywhere with Grandpa even if it was a trip down memory lane to see the flutterbyes. 🙂 Kandy

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