My “Worst Mother in the World” Thanksgiving!
Our family lived in a small adobe-brick apartment with low muslin-cloth ceilings and a corrugated aluminum roof. Our rooms were attached onto other low adobe rooms and outdoor walled spaces, giving rather a rabbit-warren effect to the area. Other families and many young single students lived, studied and worked together in this place, which was called, after the neighborhood of the town it belonged to, the “Little Saint-John’s Quechua Bible College”. We were the only foreign family in it. Our two little sons loved living there because they had wonderful playmates their own ages to climb small trees with, play “Big Foot” with, Hide-n’Seek, Tag, “Chuwis” (the Game of Marbles), Legos outside on a pick-up-able rug, and their favorite game of all – “Running Away from Mrs. Sweeper”!
Our younger son, R., had just turned five, and had his left arm encased in a heavy white plaster cast from shoulder to fingertips, since he had broken it falling off an unsafe slide at a tiny city park, where his school was doing a PE. class.
Thanksgiving Day was approaching and I decided to clean and re-organize our family’s tiny apartment before making our dinner menu, buying the ingredients and cooking our Thanksgiving Dinner. “Little Saint John’s” Quechua Bible College lay smack-dab in the center of the sprawling gigantic farmer’s market of the town, and as a result, the mice that lived in the market and fed off the squash and dried corn loved to flock into the College and take up residence above the muslin ceilings of our rooms. In the evenings as we sat and read, or watched the town’s 2 television channels, we would hear their feet scuttering and scurrying across the stretched muslin ceilings above our heads! The mice had begun coming down into our rooms during the nights and nibbling on our stored potatoes and other dry goods.
After I cleaned and rearranged our home for the Thanksgiving Celebration, I set several large metal mousetraps with steel jaws, putting chunks of cheese in them for bait, and placed these traps around the floors in the corners of our rooms. Of course I felt bad for the mice but, it was a pitched battle between an army of mice taking over our home, and my fierce desire to love, protect and take care of my family and home, under some pretty challenging conditions and I chose my family and home. Also, those traps were the only option available – there were not any other kinds of traps or strategies.
Thanksgiving Day I opened my eyes around six a.m. but decided to lay, all comfy and sleepy, just five more minutes in our bed, enjoying the peaceful sense of my husband’s measured breathing and strong calm presence next to me, and feeling tired out from all my heavy cleaning and cooking of the day before. I KNEW I should get up immediately and check those gigantic metal mousetraps but I thought, “the children are still sound asleep in their beds, therefore safe, and I don’t hear a sound!” There I lay, snatching extra rest. So suddenly we both JUMPED, a big clattery NOISE immediately followed by an UNHOLY DIN of “W-A-A-A-H, W-A-A-A-AAAAH!” erupted.
Here came my pajama-clad little one, his bare feet silent on our rough cement floors, bawling in pain, tears streaming down his little reddened face, left arm encased in a huge white plaster cast and RIGHT arm now held out in front of him with a gigantic metal mousetrap dangling from the thumb joint, and the piece of cheese still clutched in his fingers.
That’s the moment I knew with every fiber of my being I was the WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!
Personally, my Thanksgiving, that year, was ALL and ONLY about my gratitude to God that my precious little “R.”s right hand and also his cheery energetic spirits, though painful and bruised for several days, had not been broken by the giant mousetrap, and did heal steadily and completely over the course of the next week!