Yesterday was a sad day. I got a phone call mid morning from Bekah about Tuba (the hamster Christian got for his birthday last September). It appears that our babysitter didn't entirely shut the door to Tuba's cage after she finished playing with her on Thursday night. Tuba escaped and was devoured by the cats.
Christian cried for 20 minutes when he heard the news. He loved that rodent.
And by the time Bekah called, I was all ready getting a rough start to a long day. I'm adjusting to some additional duties at work and was just starting to realize that I was inheriting a mess. In a bad mood to begin with, Bekah's announcement did nothing to brighten my day.
Later in the day and further behind in my work, I got another call from Bekah. Christian wanted to talk about Tuba. I didn't have the time. I was half way though my day but had a full day's worth of work to accomplish. But I conceded. My wife passed off the phone and the next thing I heard was my son's sobs. I couldn't fully understand what he was saying. I caught a few words: Tuba, Lizzie, cat... not much more. I told him I was sorry and he handed the phone back to Bekah. Christian didn't think I heard him so Bekah was about to give him the phone to retell his story.
Then it happened. I had my bad daddy moment.
I told Bekah that I had to work and was out of time. Then I hung up.
Have you ever had those moments? Those times where you said or did the wrong thing and you realize it the instant the deed is done? There are no take backs, no do overs. Just a big oops moment and the understanding that you're a bigger jerk than you'd like to admit.
I don't know about you, but that's how I felt. I'm not sure what is sadder - my son mourning the loss of his first pet, or how I did nothing to help him feel better.
All is better now. Mostly. I bought christian McDonald's last night and the two of us spent some time talking about death and his feelings. This morning, Bekah and I took him out to breakfast and to the pet store to get a new hamster. He picked the one with the lighter colored fur because the other one looked too much like Tuba.
And now Bob is home. Bob is the new hamster. Christian misses Tuba, but he feels better now. On the ride back home, Christian talked to Bob. He told Bob the story of Tuba's death and how important it was to stay in it's cage.
That made the whole experience worth it - to hear my five year old boy explaining the facts of life and dying and predatory cats to a hamster. After a tiring week, that brought a much needed smile to my face.