It was fitting that the weather was cool and damp as we interred the first family pet of the mammal species to pass at our current residence. I tend not to count our two or three attempts at keeping goldfish alive and oh yes, we had a run with hermit crabs a couple of years back that set us up for the leap to rodents. But I digress, my son’s hamster went on to glory on October 27th, 2015 and as father and family source of stability and strength I really wanted to mark this occasion with the necessary deference it required for a grieving 11-year-old, 7-year-old and I won’t dare reveal my wife’s age, but she very well may have been the most emotionally affected by the loss.
To be completely forthright, I’m not even confident of the creature’s ‘real’ name that my son gave him. My daughter always called him, “Hampty” or “Hampsty” and that is what stuck. I could never fully make the name out and of course it was never available in written form for me to process. Hampty lived a good life. He had a sprawling estate with the finest accommodations money could buy. He even had vacation homes! The tunnels, the wheels, the habitrails and the hypoallergenic bedding was the stuff domesticated rodents HAD to dream of. But most of all, Hampty had my children’s hearts.
My kids love our dog, but Hampty literally lived amongst them. He slept where they slept…even though he never seemed to sleep at the same time any of us slept! And although today we cohabitate with a rabbit, cat and our long-suffering canine, Hampty was the gateway pet used to pave the way for the petting zoo that is now our home. If I had only known then, I would have resisted with more resolve, but when my son actually completed the written report I required of him to prove to me he was going to take this seriously…I thought, ‘how could this go wrong?’
So, to bring closure to my attempt to bring closure to this landmark event in the Aaron M. Little household, I have three final sentiments of gratitude to express to our beloved Hampty:
- Thank you for teaching my kids how to be good stewards.
- Thank you for teaching my kids about the circle of life. And,
- Thank you for confining your world to a small cage in my son’s bedroom! There’s not an evening that goes by when I walk through the living room with a free grazing rabbit and uppity cat staring back at me – both mocking me – that I don’t long for you to switch places with either of them. But that’s when I just show them this picture and say, “you’re next!”
Goodnight sweet prince.