Photo: Major’s teacher took this picture at school. It took my breath away when I saw it for the first time. If you could summarize this child in one picture, this would be it. It’s so perfect.
I decided that The Husband had earned himself a steak dinner on Wednesday night. He’d done so much for me and he was forced to stay in the waiting room during the biopsy. His steady patience and calming presence was everything I needed that day. So I went to my grill, uncovered it, turned on the propane and flipped on the burners. I heard the poof of the pilot lighting, but I opened the lid to check on the other burners. What I found was
a mouse nest.
a mouse nest with 4 newborn mice.
a mouse nest with 4 pink newborn mice!
I screamed. I turned off my grill. The nest did not catch fire.
The boys came over.
The boys got daddy.
Daddy inspected, asked me for a verdict. I decided that the babies had won the Darwin Award. You can’t have a childhood in my grill. Sorry. I told my husband to put them under the barn, a sacrifice to our fox family. He did as I asked. Swept up the little nest and plopped it under the barn. I set out to clean the hell out of my grill, disgusted but determined to make dinner.
But under my scrubbing and grumbling, I could hear their little cries. They were probably less than a day old, blind and helpless. They were probably cold and scared. The Husband heard it, too.
“God is going to smite us for this one, isn’t He? I’m not really excited about ill favor from God right now,” I said as I cleaned my grill.
“They can’t live in the grill, right?” My husband reasoned. “We’re giving them back to the ecosytem. Do you want me to… you know?”
I shook my head. Though I wondered if we were making them suffer unnecessarily. I scrubbed and cursed, then turned back on my grill. I looked over at the barn toward the nest and saw
a mouse. White and brown, big ol’ ears like the Fievel doll I love so dearly, shooting out from the stone fence, skittering over the rocks to the nest, picking up one of the babies, and making the trip back.
Well, I’ll be damned.
Fully exposed to me and the outside, she made the trip four times. Precious babies in her mouth, one at a time, over to the stone fence. Over to safety. When she was done getting the babies, she went back again to gather parts of the nest. Not all of it, but a lot of it. She tucked it away somewhere beyond sight among the rocks. I know she was aware of me (I was talking to her: “You’ve got to make a better choice for your home next time! My grill is off limits!”), but she didn’t care. Get the babies. Get them safe. Make them warm. Whatever it takes.
Get the babies. Get them safe. Make them warm. Whatever it takes.
Whatever it takes.
My Quiet Thoughts are on that Mama Mouse because, wow… she had so many other choices. She could have cowered in fear. She could have run away. She could have left them to die and started over. She could have only saved one or two. She could have just saved the babies, cast aside the nest.
Multiple times, she exposed herself, took on the crisis, accomplished her task. Whatever it took, she was going to get it done.
I probably need surgery. I need a new car. The kindergarten deposit is due. The school year is ending and the boys will need something to do this summer. Summer clothes must be bought. It’s all coming due. The looming wave catastrophe seems to be growing.
I could choose to let it crash right on my head. I could choose to wallow in the misfortune, decide it is calamity instead of challenge. I could defuse the responsibility, let my husband take it all on and be a burden instead of a partner. Or I can choose to keep shooting and skittering, hitting one goal at a time with deliberate focus. Maybe, if I’m lucky, if I’m skilled, if I’m persistent, if I’m purposeful, I can do it all. We can reach all of our goals.
It will not be easy. It never, ever seems to be easy. When I think it’s too hard, I’ll remember Mama Mouse.
Whatever challenges you are facing, Dear Reader, I hope you keep shooting out of the cover of your own stone fence: your fear, your doubt, your second-guessing, your worries. I hope you leave them behind, deftly leap over the obstacles and strive for each of your goals, one at a time.
It is the finally Friday of April, Dear Reader. I’m surprised how quickly the year is passing. Darkness falls now, but there is just enough light in the sky to highlight the strong branches of the still-bare trees here. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up to just a touch more new green, a whisper of faint new color on emerging flower petals, a hint of extra hue against the clear blue sky. Spring is slow here. It requires a special kind of patience. I suppose I’ll pass the time by thinking of wishes for you.
On this Friday, I wish you a warm hand, a reassuring smile, and offer of time or skill. I wish you quiet time to sit with another, allowing something other than words pass between you. I wish you a soft breeze blowing through your hair and sunshine strong enough to offset the lingering spring chill. I wish you space to spread out and think without care, preferably under an open sky and with clouds passing overhead or, if you must, a window where you can watch people stroll by. I wish you a kiss on the cheek, a lingering hug, and few whispered words, lovingly uttered. I wish you the opportunity to look yourself in the mirror and see how beautiful you are. I wish you the opportunity to do something that reminds you of how strong you are. I wish you the opportunity to say something that reflects how powerful you are. You are all of those things, Dear Reader, and so much more. No wonder you are loved and admired by so many, near and far.
Until Monday, be kind and take care.