The hamster inventory was low that day, and all the store had was one Robo Dwarf hamster. This little guy was in his glass walled cage, running madly back and forth across the front, dashing from one corner to the other, never varying his route. He had done it so continuously that the litter was completely pushed aside, leaving a glassy pathway in the bottom of the cage.
We stood and watched for about five minutes as he paced frantically, never stopping, not even slowing down. And my kids came to the conclusion that this little hammy obviously had some kind of issues and would probably spend the rest of his little life (a short one, if he came to live with us) pacing, pacing, pacing until he had a heart attack and died. It was not a quality we were looking for in a pet, so we left the store. (And went to the other pet store in town, bought a sweet little ginger-colored hamster that my daughter aptly named "Ginger," and who dropped dead the day after her warranty expired.)
This summer, my son is that pacing hamster.
He is in a state of limbo, no longer a high school senior, not quite a college freshman. He just turned 18 and is legally an adult, but still brings rocks home in his pockets and washes them in the kitchen sink.
He sees the future beyond the confines of his environment, restless to get to it. He has boundless energy, going from one activity to the next: to the gym, to his lifeguard job, to his friend's house. When he's home, he is always on the prowl.
Tomorrow is the day.
His clothes are packed. Boxes hold bedding for his dorm room, school supplies, a smattering of kitchen items. Laundry detergent, because I have hopes.
And even though he'll be back to visit often, I know he will never really live here with us again.
I want to mourn the little boy who has grown up, and yet at the same time, rejoice the man he is becoming.
When we drive home without him, I will cry a little and pray a lot, and then take a deep breath.
It's up to him and God now.
|10 weeks old.|