Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Life in Paw Prints

Hi Peeps! So Busy Momma is trying something new. I am working on a memoir of my life - told in the context of the pets that my family and I have had the privilege to love. So, I am trying to write one chapter draft at a time and am serializing the chapters on the blog.  I'd love your feedback! 

Have you ever gone to a training class where the overly enthusiastic and obnoxiously energetic trainer begins the class by asking you to write down a list of words that "describe the different roles you play in life"? I'm sure many of you have engaged in this exercise. Many of you have probably played this game several times and written the same list that I always write. It goes something like this:

  • mother
  • wife
  • daughter
  • sister
  • friend
  • granddaughter
  • teacher
  • writer
  • laundry lady, cook, cleaning lady, chauffeur,  cupcake baker, slave, midnight Science project fixer-upper, mean homework checker...and on and on and on. 

What is interesting about my list - other than the end of the list being a bit passive aggressive - is that I have never EVER written "pet lover" or "animal lover" or "animal rescue advocate" on my list. And I am all of those things. Yet, when I quickly list the "roles" I play or the "hats"I wear - animal lover never makes the cut. And for the life of me I can't figure out why.When I really sat down to think about it, I reasoned that I don't immediately identify myself as an "animal person" because I came to my love of all things furry rather late in life. I mean., I never even had a real pet until I was an adult.( Well- that is not exactly true.We did grow up with a few fish). And as I began to really think about my life and reflect on the animals in my life, I came to a startling realization. I can associate almost every major life event with a pet that I had at the time. The happiest and, in turn, saddest times in my life have been directly affected by the animal I was living with at the time. And as I began  reflecting on these stories, I realized that I have been unbelievably blessed by the presence of each of  these furry, fuzzy, and scaled creatures. So blessed, in fact, that I decided to write about them.

In the Beginning....

So...my mother is not exactly what you'd call an animal "lover". She is more of an animal "phobic" kind of gal. And I can't really blame her for that. When she was a little girl she had what one might call a slight "mishap" with a charging bull in a field of flowers. One might also call the experience a perfect example of why one can never completely trust one's husband with one's curious toddler. Whatever you chose to call it - let's just say that this bull was no Ferdinand. To hear my mom tell the story- this bull was the Cujo of bulls. Seriously. Apparently, when my grandparents were visiting the homeland, and showing off my lovely little toddler of a mother to the folks back home, my grandfather made a HUGE mistake. He decided to take my mom out for an early morning walk - all by himself. Sounds great - right? Let the wife sleep in, earn some brownie points and spend some quality time with the kiddo. And I am SURE that's exactly what he had in mind. Unfortunately, that's not quite how it turned out. Somehow, my grandfather managed to get distracted....in a rural area...with no one and nothing around...but - no judgement here. Anywho...my little mom manages to crawl into a fenced- in field - home of Cujo the bull. And guess what? He did what bulls do - he charged. RIGHT AT HER!!!! And this event has RUINED this woman. Seriously RUINED her for life. My poor mother is TERRIFIED of ANYTHING - and I do mean ANYTHING on 4 legs. The following images - should they materialize and actually approach my mother -would cause the woman to scream like her hair was on fire and violently pull her legs and all exposed body parts away....

WARNING - the following images have been known to cause my mother extreme stress and horrific nightmares. They are NOT for the faint of heart.

Um-so no big surprise - there were almost NO pets in our household growing up. At least nothing with four legs. I do, however, recall a few fish. Our first fish experience is actually one of my earliest memories. 

 I remember my dad taking us to a pet store in the mall and buying us our very first pet - a guppy. My brother and I were SO excited. I mean REALLY excited. Like crazy, over-the-moon excited for a guppy that cost a penny.  It was pathetic. We had been begging and pleading for a pet and FINALLY, FINALLY my dad gave in. I can't imagine why - but I imagine we probably badgered the poor man until he was half out of his mind. So, he bit the bullet and agreed to get us a "pet". Looking back - I can see that the poor guy was in an impossible spot. Anger his wife or disappoint his terribly whiny children. And as any parent can tell you - an angry spouse is a small price to pay to get the kids to shut the f@#k up for an afternoon. So, home we went with a big, watery plastic bag full of happiness. As I recall - Mom was less than pleased.So not-pleased, in fact, that she made us keep our little guppy on a small table in the front foyer of our house. And that was just fine with us because we FINALLY had a pet. FINALLY we were normal. Or so we thought....
Imagine our delight the next morning when we ran down the stairs to check on our beloved guppy and discovered that a miracle had occurred. Oh yes, during the night, our guppy spawned what looked like a thousand little guppies! Well, you can imagine the screaming that ensued. My brother and I were screaming with sheer and utter delight. I mean who got lucky like that? We went from 0 pets to THOUSANDS of them in a 12-hour period! The screaming, predictably, attracted my parents' attention. When my mother saw the miracle that had occurred, she too began to scream. Oddly, her screaming did NOT sound like screams of joy. Nope, her screams sounded quite different than ours, and were also directed at my dad. 
Poor Sucker.
After the screaming died down, my brother and I watched in awe as our guppy continued to give birth to more teeny, tiny guppy babies. They were so cute. We began naming each and every one. It was like standing at the window of the nursery in the hospital and looking at all of the adorable babies and realizing that they were ALL YOURS!!!!  

And then, it happened.

 Can you recall the exact moment when your innocence was lost? Perhaps it was when you found all of the Christmas presents wrapped up in the attic, or when you caught your mom slipping tooth fairy money under your pillow. Well, my brother and I lost our innocence together, that very morning. You see, after our guppy finished birthing her babies, she became rather hungry. RAVENOUS, in fact. And, quite to our horror, our beloved guppy, the guppy we had loved for all of 13 hours, began eating her babies. First one, then another and another and another. It was like something out of a Stephen King movie. She just ate and ate and ate. It was carnage. I think one of us started screaming and I remember my parents running in. The next few moments are a blur in my memory. I remember a lot of "Jesus Christ"-ing. And someone said "Well isn't this a lovely picture you've painted for the children here" and someone else might have said: "I'm not a GD fish gynecologist! I didn't know the stupid thing was pregnant!"

Let's just say - it was an ugly, ugly scene. 

Somehow, even though he wasn't a fish gyno, my dad did know enough about guppies to separate the mommy guppy from her babies. So, the carnage was over...or so we thought. 

Now, the only explanation I have for what happened next is PTSD. Yep - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I believe that this horrific scene caused my mother, my beloved mother who would normally not hurt a fly...because she is scared of them...well, to this day I believe it caused her to snap. I think it triggered a Post Traumatic Stress reaction in her. I think watching the carnage - witnessing the cannibal guppy actually EAT HER YOUNG - made her travel back in time. I think that instead of standing in front of our $1.99 fish bowl at that moment, my mother THOUGHT she was standing in that beautiful field of flowers being charged by Cujo the bull. She was that helpless little 3-year old girl staring death right in the snout. Or, in this case,  in the gills. Anyway - the next thing we knew my mother had the little fish bowl in her hands and walked into the backyard. She walked right out onto the patio and stopped when she got to the little rock garden we had. And then, in an act that will be burned into my memory for the rest of my days, my mother DUMPED THE BOWL! Our guppy! Our beloved cannibal guppy! Our guppy who had no name because we couldn't agree on a name was dumped unceremoniously into the rock garden! Our guppy - with her belly full of her delicious guppy babies - was dead. With one dump of the bowl our mother crushed our dreams of actually owning a pet. A cannibal pet at that! We could have been the COOLEST kids in school. We could have had kids come over and put a few babies in the bowl with the mommy and they could have watched Darwinism in action.
We could have charged admission.
But NO! Our mother, killer of guppies was also a killer of dreams. There would be NO side show shenanigans at our house. I don't really remember what happened to the thousands of guppy babies that made it through the carnage. Maybe I've blocked it out of my memory. Or maybe my mom dumped them the next day while we were at school. I really don't know. All I know for sure is that my first experience as a pet owner only lasted for about 13 hours and it wasn't pretty. It is amazing that we ever got another pet - but somehow we did. And amazingly - it was another fish. 

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