Peace rushed in my room hysterical this morning. We think Brain ate his brother gerbil Snowball, partly. Ugghh.
My son thinks he forgot to feed them. He plays with those creatures everyday, and I'm just not sure that's what happened. Peace has a shirt dedicated for gerbil use and it's literally in shreds from all their chewing and running about all over my child. All our animals are treasures to him, and I know he would never intentionally harm any living thing, except maybe his annoying brother.
To be perfectly honest, I don't like gerbils. Creeping, fast varmints with long tails always scare me. In my head, I know they are sweet little pets, but in my heart I think Bubonic Plague and Black Death. One of Peace's favorite pasttimes is to sneak up on me, poke his gerbil in my face and exclaim, "Mom, I caught a mouse!"
I scream every last time. He's also repeated this activity with a computer mouse in hand with the same resulting response of real terror from me.
I spent some time talking through tears with Peace. His first response to the whole thing was "Oh, God! I HATE myself. I am a terrible person. I let this happen."
I step in. "Whoa, right there, guy. Let's not say another thing which isn't true."
We talked out all the possibilities. Yes, maybe the gerbils were hungry. Maybe they just fought. Maybe, though highly unlikely, Janet the cat actually got her way this time. She's been stalking the gerbils for years. In fact, Snowball was blind in one eye from being carried around in Janet's mouth. We will never know for sure, but I led Peace to forgiveness of himself no matter the circumstance. God knows his tender little heart never meant this to happen and forgiveness is the only way to go. The other route, self hatred, only leads to deeper places of regret. Peace also prayed to forgive gerbil brother Brain.
So, today my son will bury a friend. Outside the sky is grey to match the mood. I'm sad for my boy but am grateful Peace is learning tough lessons of loving, losing, and forgiving in the small ways before he's a man. He'll have some experience under his belt for the harder things in life to come. They will come.
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