Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business


How I Killed My Pet Hamster

A little while back on a hot summer day I was planning on driving my family for an outing. I playfully held Stuart, our family pet of three years in my hands and let him run around in my closet shelves sniffing and licking everything he could find. He stopped and stared at me with his shiny black eyes. "I love this little fella", I thought to myself. As I placed him back in his cage my six year old daughter Suzi walked in and excitedly asked "Oh daddy, can I please hold him in my hands?" I was  annoyed because I wanted to get the children out the door and into the van.

"Not now, okay?" I replied.

"But I really want to hold him, and I haven't played with him for a long time."
It's true, it had been at least two weeks since she had played with him, but now getting out on time was more important so I repeated "Not now!" in a slightly stronger tone this time. She sadly turned and obediently walked toward the van.
When everyone was finally in the vehicle I placed Stuart's cage on the window sill where it belonged and quickly locked up before driving off.
Upon returning my wife discovered him dead, dead from heat exhaustion after being in direct sunlight in a room with all its windows shut, essentially creating greenhouse. A closer inspection confirmed what we had suspected.
My initial thoughts were that I felt very sorry for him, but then I recalled Suzi's last request before we had left for the outing.
How insensitive I felt. She would never be able to hold or play with him again, and I had denied her last opportunity.
That evening I broke the news to the children. I knew she would take it the hardest and sat next to her as I explained what had happened.
No amount of comfort could console her as she wept uncontrollably.

From that day on I'm reminded of Stuart when my children talk to me. It's so true how we as parents can so quickly judge what's important and what's not, forgetting to take into account the opinions of our children.

How I wish I could relive that day and let her play with Stuart before leaving the house.

There was enough time, there just wasn't enough patience.

Take time to listen, to play, and never miss an opportunity to love your children.