We had only set off with the intention of a simple family walk through our new neighborhood. Leave it to us to make even an evening stroll more complex then need be: this is after all, the hallmark of the Blycker Family, I do admit. I have given myself over to its power as I cannot overcome it. We came upon a pet store, which proved to be the destination of our exploration. Larsen had been grieving all week over the death of his fish, Blue Fin. My tender and dramatic child wept in his tree in the evenings. The life and death of a 3-inch beta is large enough to open the mind of an eight year old to the realities of life and death. I walked to the back of the pet store in search of another Blue Fin.
Meanwhile, the boys listened in awe as a little girl brought in a blue Tupperware tub filled with 5-week old hamsters, which she had personally bred and raised. I joined the excited little crowd. Ben held the little puffs of fur with their perfectly formed miniature hands and feet, showing me their tiny aliveness. There were three boys; a jolly little band of fur that scurried through the cage to entertain their eager crowd.
We bought the three brothers, right there on the spot. As well as a 20-gallon tank, the water dropper, the bag of food, a silent running wheel, shavings and a replacement fish. The boys jumped around the store like people on a sweepstakes commercial. We paid for our crazy splurge and pushed our cart outside. It was then we remembered we had been on a walk, not a drive. Now dark, we were not quite sure which way our new house was, exactly. No matter, Ben hoisted the 20-gallon tank on his shoulders, I held the bag of food and shavings in one arm with Anders on my hip and Larsen held onto the hamster brothers, and we walked through the night. Just a family walk, just a strange band walking on the edge of the road, with a nearly three –year old crooning Patsy Cline, “I go out walking, after midnight with my mousies, holding them so tight. I’m always walking, after midnight looking for my home!”
You should have seen the excitement when we finally arrived home and set up the “mousies” tank on the boy’s dresser and then sat down to open the three boxes and name the creatures while they ran over our legs and between our hands. Pickles (Anders’, of course. He is a small grey personable and sweet fellow), Whiskers (Ben’s. He is a plump, lazy and accommodating fur ball) and Travis (Larsen’s. An adventurous, restless and easily annoyed little bugger) became in that night a symbol of our celebration of having a new place to live where we can paint the walls and make a real room for our boys, the first sense of home in a very long time for all of us. We giggled and shouted and when the lights finally went out and we slipped out of the room, our boys whispered how wonderful it was that now there were four more creatures in their room and how it would be a night to always, always remember.
Yes, it will be, Ben and I whispered back. Yes, indeed.
**PHOTOS TO FOLLOW WHEN I FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE OUR NEW CAMERA! ** Yes, I am writing on a deadline, but sometimes need to take a break…