The hamster was not my idea. The hamster was Ginny’s idea and somehow, she roped Jamie’s sister Keisha into it, too.
Colin had been asking for a kitten, but we already have a dog. Paisley, our miniature schnauzer, was bought for Jack after he turned three. Buddies for the last 11 years, Paisley follows Jack from room to room, sleeps at the foot of Jack’s bed and gets antsy when Jack isn’t home.
Colin wanted a kitten, but he is allergic. Enter hamster.
Growing up in the country, there is a realism that comes with the excitement of loving of a pet. Although I don’t remember a singular moment in which we learned the lesson, Ginny and I always knew there was a very real chance we could lose any animal we loved to the highway that runs in front of our house, or to a bobcat or coyote. Out in the middle of nowhere, there most certainly exists an only-the-strong-survive reality.
Throughout our childhood we had cats get in fights with wild cats and go missing, a dog that escaped his pen and got hit by a car, even our parakeet, Lucy, learned how to escape her cage and flew into a nearby tree. Our 6’3” Daddy said he knew he looked ridiculous when he climbed that tree and “rescued” her. When she escaped the second time, he said she’d have to take her chances. We never saw her again. As a result, Ginny instituted an “inside pets only” policy on the Sanders family that lasts to this day.
Hoss and Nana are “big city” grandparents. They live about four hours away from us, so they don’t get to spend as much time with the children as they’d like, but summertime means special trips and changes in scenery. So, last week the boys were camping with them in north Georgia.
With both Jamie and me working fulltime, the boys’ school breaks would be very difficult to manage if we didn’t have grandparents as willing volunteers to “keep” them. It’s special when they can go to Atlanta, too. It’s good for them to get away from us and their old routine.
Selfishly, I also appreciate the time gifted to just Jamie and me. As I often do, I romanticize the week without children. I imagine we will read our favorite books in the living room, television turned off, gazing at each other lovingly in the silence. Or, binge-watch “Downton Abbey” in our pajamas and eat take-out. Maybe we could pack a picnic and go out to the farm, where the stars really shine and sip chilled wine and talk in the quiet.