It was an early Monday morning in July, when her first pet died.
Feels like the hottest day of the year, the kids were inside role playing school or something. And then I hear the sounds of a high-pitch 10 year old say, “Mom, we found a baby mouse and dad said we can keep him as a pet.”
I’m not the type of person to keep a caged animal, I never liked it. So we got a small toy poodle years ago and she’s my gal-pal, my pet.
We already have a family pet and I knew it was a matter of time before this tiny mouse either died or needed to be set free.
So the kids spent their morning making Braver (that’s what my oldest Taylor named him) a “home” with food, water and warmth. The excitement in their faces brought pure joy to my heart even though I wanted nothing to do with keeping their new pet.
They talked to him.
Bonded with him.
In the few hours they got to spend with this tiny and quite frankly adorable baby mouse, I could tell they were really enjoying having that responsibility.
Yet the toddler can’t even wipe her own butt……. but that’s for another day.
Then it started.
He was dying.
I could tell by the way he was moving and breathing that his life was going to end soon.
Now I’m faced with options: Do I tell the kids he is dying and prepare them for it or do I get rid of the mouse and not say another word about it?
My heart did the right thing.
Together they cried, they talked and they planned out what to do.
THESE KIDS PLANNED OUT A MOUSE FUNERAL!
It was really hard to see my oldest fall apart. I knew it was important to take this seriously because she will remember this moment for the rest of her life.
The kids each held him one last time and said something sweet (It almost made me cry how strong they were). And during the process of him dying it was also important to talk about what was happening and why.
I needed to remove myself out of my own head and view this in their eyes. They seek closure, comfort and the ability to mourn over something dying. They can absolutely handle the process of death, it’s just a matter of adults allowing them too.
These are really important life lessons (Or experiences) that I believe shouldn’t be kept from kids.
Allow them to love what’s dying.
Allow them to grieve even if you don’t want too.
Allow them to make those choices and be comfortable with it.
Braver was a cute, tiny, fluffy mouse. His eyes were big but his heart was small. The least I could do is give my kids a chance to say goodbye after they dedicated themselves to helping him. And he deserved that love, even during and after he died.