By COLLEEN LEDDY
Rosie’s college roommate’s mother posted a message on Facebook Monday night:
“Our beloved sweet spirited 7 year old guinea pig Beck passed away today. He was funny and smart. He even went to college one year with Leesa.”
It appeared on my news feed because Rosie had commented on it, “Oh, so sad! What a fun year that was with Beck scurrying around under our beds.”
I immediately sent a private message to Rosie, “Ugh. I don't think I knew you lived with a guinea pig in college.”
The idea of it kind of grossed me out. A little rodent running around, being a rodent and leaving rodent droppings where it would.
“Haha, it wasn't all year...and she always brought it home on weekends,” Rosie responded. “It was also not allowed. It mostly stayed in the cage except when we were both in the room studying at night. And I think sometimes it escaped...but we had semi-lofted beds so it had a crawl space to itself.”
Images of the guinea-pig-on-the-loose made me shudder, but it’s nothing in comparison to the recent escapades of Ben and Maddie. Their exploits just confirm for me that there are things children should never tell their parents no matter how old the children are.
I just don’t want to know the scary things that befall them or the things that could have happened. I don’t want to know about the things that will only worry me if I knew—at least not until they are over and done with, and, then, maybe not even then.
Sure, I am curious about their experiences. I am thrilled that they are living life fully. But did I need to imagine what would have happened to Ben when he and three friends went fishing off the coast of Bimini a couple weekends ago and while his friends slept below, he continued to fish—alone, at night, in the dark? I don’t want to know the answer to this next question unless it’s ‘yes,‘ but was he wearing a lifejacket?
And the thought of him under all that water when he scuba dives without the scuba? Free diving and spear fishing...I just have to stop thinking.
“Just come home alive.” That’s my over-riding thought when I know they are embarking on adventures that might put them at peril.
“Thank you for being alive.”
I think I say that most often to Maddie. She’s really not all that much of a daredevil, but she seems to get in some strange scrapes. I think it stems from being poor and trying to save money or doing things in a carefree recent-college-graduate kind of way.
“Didn’t I tell you about the tires on the van?” she asked while we Skyped on Easter. She was updating us on the status of Sunny’s ability to start.
“Sunny” is the very used 1986 Nissan Sunny-Vanette camper van she and her friend Natalie bought with the intent to resell after they completed their travels around New Zealand, essentially recouping their investment.
Maddie had mentioned in passing a few weeks ago that they had to replace a tire. But now she was telling that the tire had essentially shredded as they were driving—like the shredded semi tires you see on I-94.
“No, don’t tell me any more!” I just want to put my fingers in my ears and sing, “Lalalalalalalalala,” until she’s done.
The tire cost $100 plus $15 labor to replace, but the mechanic also put in about $30 in oil.
“He had to put in over two liters or something. Whoops,” Maddie emailed later.
Later in their travels the battery light went on at night and when they made it to a mechanic, he gave them a spare battery and jumper cables so they could continue their journey and visit another location 30 km away while they waited for parts to come in.
“We had to jump it five times throughout the 30 km back,” Maddie said. “Eventually, we had to drive with it attached to the battery under the driver seat with the cables going back over the bed to the spare battery in the back of the van and drive with it connected or we wouldn't have made it back.”
“Probably not supposed to do that,” she concluded and then wisely observed, “I worried it would explode or something the whole time.”
Lalalalalalalalalala. Guinea pigs under the bed. That doesn’t sound bad at all.