There are many major miracles,
ones like partings of seas and loaves of bread that feed thousands, and those miracles make the big time; we all know about them. But there are minor miracles, Tender Mercies, some call them. We had one on Tuesday. Allow me to share.
We were just wrapping up our semi-weekly Spanish lesson, wherein I painfully guided the children through the worlds slowest and most agonizing game of "Pesca!" (that's "Go Fish" for all you Americanos) (please, if you ever think it will be a great idea to share a language with a child, increasing both vocabulary and conversational skills, by playing "Go fish!"... just save yourself the trouble and go slam your fingers in a car door. Yeah, it's that much fun). I was tidying up, (actually, I was just sitting dazed in a chair chatting with Kathy) as 10 children ages Jonah-through-Adam had all run outside to play, dragging with them sundry costumes, hamsters, toys and granola bars. From my living room window I could see little people in various stages of unstructured play, and all was momentarily well with the world (now, besides my snazzy use of alliteration with all of those fabulous W's, I must point out that in this context, the word "momentarily" denotes a certain foreshadowing. Crafty of me, huh? bum bum bum baaaaahm...)
The next paragraph begins with "All of a sudden". Now when I say "All of a sudden", please envision with me a serene, park-like back yard (minus half of the grass), children joyfully playing, ABRUPTLY shifting to a scene from an old Japanese Godzilla movie.
All of a sudden, children began screaming, first one, then three, then ALL TEN. And running. Was it a swarm of bees? Had a child flipped off of the trampoline and been disgustingly impaled on a yard tool? Was there a murderer chasing ALL of them?
I heard Adam's voice above the din yelling "Toby! Drop it!!!" echoed by other big-boy voices saying the same. Then I saw Toby, running with something in his mouth, a sock, perhaps? A toy? That wasn't like Toby... what could he possibly? ... The girls screaming reached fever pitch as they trampled each other to get through the door. And then it hit me...
"HAMSTER!!!!!" I bellowed and bolted for the door, tripping over sobbing, screaming little girl's along my way. I didn't have to go far, because as much as Toby hates noise, he hates angry boys even worse. He came running into the studio and I intercepted him at the stairs. He was shaking so hard his fur was blurry, and hanging out of his mouth was the back end of a hamster. A fat, white butt and two motionless little legs were all that could be seen of Charlotte, Tessa's gift from Santa (who we really should have waited to name until after learning She was a He).
My need to stop the carnage over-rode my terror at the thought of the mouthful of hamster guts I may be extruding from Toby's mouth, and I easily pried open his jaw and scooped out the wet fuzzball. Cupping my hands over it to block the view from little eyes, I ran to the living room, all the while trying somehow to console a hysterical Tessa. I have said it before, and I'll say it again, thank heavens for Kathy. This time her heroism took the form of comforting arms for sobbing girls while I examined the some-how-still-alive hamster.
Though his saliva drenched orange fur looked like it was covered with blood, a slow and careful going-over revealed no such trace. The hamster sat in my hands, utterly still and so very stunned, but apparently unharmed. I checked little arms and legs (pets have arms, ask any five year old), and ever so gently pressed each rib. No flinching, no wiggly bits that should not be wiggly. One wet, freaked out, but otherwise alive rodent.
Charlotte, back in his cage, walked around like someone who had just had surgery. He climbed into his hamster wheel, because, well, there in not much else to do in there, and oh...so...slow...ly...and...gin...ger...ly walked. There was no nose bobbing, no whisker twitching, but he was alive. Suspecting some possible internal damage, I told Tessa that Charlotte was not out of the woods. "If he lives through the night, she will probably make it, and if she makes it through tomorrow, I think he will be fine." I told her. I know, we are totally giving this critter a gender identity complex. It's a work in progress.
Charlotte lived. It's been 4 days. Tessa learned many valuable lessons. She knows now, that dogs can't tell the difference between a squirrel and a hamster. She knows that if Charlotte has to poop, she should NEVER put her on the ground to do her biz-nis. And she learned that God is good to little hamsters.
All that screaming curdled my milk.
It was a Tender Mercy that our little Charlotte lived. Some credit must be given to Toby, who, having been trained as a soft-mouthed hunting dog, somehow knew not to bite down. But really, I give all the credit to He who knows each sparrow that falls. The tragedy that this would have been to a little girl I know would have been just beyond heartbreaking. But you see, we officially reached our quota for chaos in the month of February by the 18th. We are all full up on crazy here, thank you very much.
As I write this, Charlotte is trying out a new name. Nibbles. I like it. I think the middle name should reflect his warrior spirit and his good fortune.
How about Lucky?