While in the middle of a chat with my younger sister, my youngest child comes running in the house announcing with jublilee that our neighbors are selling their treadmill…..and of course, he wants it. “Mom, I’ve got the money to buy it and I really want one!” After calmly reminding him that we don’t have the space for a treadmill, although wishing we did, he left the house without a pout. Continuing our chat and at the same time wondering what he was up to next, he came flying through the front door once again, this time asking where my tape measure was. He quickly procured it and left as suddenly as he appeared only a minute ago.
My sister and I both let out a chuckle at his boyish eleven year old enthusiasm for an item that most kids wouldn’t ask for….let alone pay for. We both agree that Matthew is an unusually unique child with character bursting at the seams of his mismatched clothes. This son of mine, the one who reminds me frequently that he is a “Mama’s boy” never ceases to amaze me or melt my heart. Not wanting to linger too long on the topic of my son (even though I could talk about any one of my six children all day long), I change the subject to the more mundane topic of the pleasant weather hanging outside.
No sooner does my sister let out a few words, guess who enters the house with the same exuberating excitement he possessed a few minutes ago? If you guess, Matthew, you are correct. With a “please excuse me” interjection, but without permission for the interruption, Matthew blurts out that the treadmill is only twenty-five by forty inches (I actually don’t remember the exact dimensions) AND folds up! Therefore we would have room for it. Once again, with a smile and giggle on my face and in my heart, I explain that having to fold and unfold a teadmill every time it is to be used wouldn’t be convenient or feasible. Without complaining or uttering an objection Matthew exits the house once again.
Wondering what was going to whirl out of his mouth the next time, my sister and I continue our prosaic, but pleasant conversation. Needless to say, it is hard NOT talking about Matthew since he continued to pop in and out without much warning or ado! I guess he decided since his pleading for a treadmill wasn’t going anywhere he would drop the subject. Still amazed at how gracefully he accepted my rejection of the treadmill, especially knowing how he usually doesn’t give up, I feel good about our dialogue.
Only a few minutes later, the same excited and energized Matthew, enters once again, practically out of breath. (Who needs a treadmill? Just run back and forth between the neighbor’s house and ours!) I am now starting to feel slightly annoyed with his persistence, while thinking at the same time, he was born to be a salesman.
“Mom! Can we have a rat?! They’re giving away a rat, for free….and the cage, too!” Without presenting him time to utter another word, and with a slightly elevated voice, I enunciate emphatically, “Nooooooooo! WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE A RAT IN THIS HOUSE! PERIOD!” Understanding the tone of my voice and the enlarged opening of my eyes, Matthew leaves….once again. By now, I am sincerely wondering who these neighbors are and why they’re doing this to me. I’ve always been a good neighbor to those I live near. What did I do to deserve this? This isn’t fair to my son or me.
Out of curiosity, I googled “rats as pets,” and was surprised to see all the entries. To my delight, everything I read about rats was positive. They’re intelligent, affectionate, clean, fun, and easy to train. Those characteristics sounded familiar……hell, those are the same ones I looked for in a husband way back when. Surely, these articles weren’t implying that men are similar to rats?! Excuse me for allowing my thoughts to stray…..
After my son came back for the fourth time, I’m not sure who was more shocked, Matthew or me, when I announce that I would be willing to`give “Boots” (the rat’s name) a try if the neighbors were willing to loan us Boots on a trial basis in case we didn’t like her. (Remember, I’m middle age and menopausal…..which means I am at times irrational.) Needless to say, Matthew’s mouth fell open and he immediately ran out of the house (imagine that) yelling, “WE’RE GETTING A RAT, WE’RE GETTING A RAT!” without giving me a chance to change my mind….which I may have if he had lingered around. (….being menopausal.)
To end this ratty saga, I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with Boots and decided to keep her. Not only is she pretty, she’s fun to hold, enjoyable to observe, and playful with her black beady eyes and twitching whiskers. Three days later, we acquired “Muffin,” her mommy……once again, on a trial basis to see how living with two rats would fare. Not only with the thought, “If one is fun, two would be more fun,” but mostly so Boots would have a playmate when we are not spending time with her. I can honestly report that we are all enjoying our two new pets. Never did I think I would own a rat….let alone, two of them!
The moral of this story is, “Never say never!”
Courtesy: Guest Patricia Zollman-Kissinger