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As an adult, my son Dalton and I swapped stories we’d kept from each other. When Dalton was about seven, he wanted a guinea pig. At the pet store, his older brother, Colton decided he wanted one. Dalton named his Lilly, and Colton named his Diamond. As a child I raised hamsters and wrongly assumed guinea pigs were the same, just a bigger model. So, I skipped researching them. Bad move.
While we were on vacation, my mom took care of them at her house. By the time we returned, she was as attached to them as the boys. A few days later Dalton announced one morning that something was wrong with Lilly. I sent Dalton to school and took Lilly to the vet where I got the grim prognosis.
Guinea pigs have very sensitive airways and tend to hide when they’re sick. By the time you realize your pig is sick it’s usually too late. Their respiratory system can’t tolerate smoke. My heart sank. My Mom smoked like a freight train. Lilly didn’t have a chance.
Dalton was crushed. The first thing my Mom said was, “Do you think I did something to it?” I could hear the anguish in her voice. I didn’t see the need to worsen the situation with the truth, so I lied.
Dalton wrapped Lilly in a towel and walked around holding and talking to her, begging her not to die. It was awful. He lashed out at Colton, saying it wasn’t fair. Colton only got Diamond because he wanted Lilly, so it should be Diamond dying. Now, Colton cried. When DJ, my youngest son, saw all the tears he joined in. It broke my heart seeing Dalton so upset and I couldn’t do anything. Or could I?
The most humane thing for everyone was ending the suffering. Alone with Lilly, I wrapped the towel around her head to suffocate her. But the second she squirmed, I let her go. I took a deep breath and reminded myself the purpose was to end Lilly and Dalton’s suffering. I tried again. Nope! She wiggled I let go. By the third attempt I accepted the fact I couldn’t do it.
Now I was crying. When my husband appears I told him I was a horrible mother because I couldn’t kill a rodent to end my son’s pain. He looks at me like I just dropped out of a UFO and said, “There has got to be a better way.” He says that to me a lot.
Dejected and feeling like the worst mother in the world, I went to comfort Dalton as best I could. Sometime during the night Lilly died, and we buried her the next morning. A few days later, Diamond got sick, and we started the entire process over. Well, not the entire process. I didn’t bother trying to take Diamond out. And my Mom died years later, never knowing the truth.
“Mom!” Dalton yells. “You tried to kill my guinea pig?”
“Yes, for you honey.”
“You were so upset I wanted to help you.”
Days after we had that conversation Dalton called me “Mom, I’m calling to tell you that I’ve told several of my friends about Lilly and we all think you’re crazy.”
“It’s not like I was trying to kill you. And what about the part where I couldn’t do it.”
“That’s the part where you’re a good mother.”
“You’re the one that wanted to share stories.”
“Yeah. Share not scare!”
I think it’s important to always keep a sense of humor. Laughter decreases stress hormones and releases endorphins which make us feel good. I’m starting a new blog group titled Tuesday Tales. I’ll share some of my crazy antics, past and present. If you have a funny story you want me to share email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your story needs names changed to protect the guilty I can do that. Since my tales tend to be quite colorful I’ll break ya’ll in easy.
My father-in-law and I tend to get into mischief. We don’t do anything really bad but we think we’re hilarious and that’s usually where the trouble begins.
Years ago when Steve and I first got married we lived in Nicholasville and didn’t see my in-laws as frequently as we do now. Steve set up email accounts for his Dad and me and we emailed on a regular basis.
Anyone who knows me knows I am anything but tech-savvy. At work, the IT department spent the vast majority of their time at my desk muttering things like, “how did you get it to do that?” They called for backup. Sometimes the backup called for backup. Other times they made me leave. But how hard is emailing, right?
My father-in-law and I emailed each other jokes we found online. I don’t recall what joke I sent to set this in motion. But I got a response along the lines of, “why are you sending me this?” I thought it was odd it needed explaining but he’s all old and stuff. So, there’s that.
The next day I got a follow-up email on my explanation reading, “Who are you?” Oh, I get it now. He’s playing a little game of pretending he doesn’t know who I am. I’ll play along. Meanwhile, on a daily basis, I said to Steve, “You’re Dad is so funny.” But I never fully explained the statement. He didn’t question me because as I said, his Dad and I are always up to something.
Around day four of the back and forth I received an email stating, “Who are you and why do you think I’m interested in this?” I respond with, “It’s your favorite daughter-in-law.”
He responds, “I don’t have a daughter-in-law.” Now, normal thinking humans would pause and consider the situation. However, I’ve never claimed normalcy. And that’s why the conversation unraveled.
“I don’t have a daughter-in-law.”
“Well, you better call the police because I’ve been sleeping with your son for the last six months.”
“Lady, my son is six years old and you better stop emailing me.”
No need to tell me the last part. I not only wouldn’t email him again but contemplated tossing the computer out the window. Not understanding technology I imagined the man sending police to my house, me registering as a sex offender, and my “most wanted” picture at the post office when I refused.
“I’ve done something bad.” My exact words when Steve walked in. When he finished laughing he assured me I wasn’t going to jail for cyber molestation and showed me the single different letter between my father-in-law’s email and the random stranger.
The moral of the story? Make certain you’re inappropriate jokes go to the person as crazy as you are.