He was stiff this morning. Way more than normal. He'd been sick for a week or so. He hadn't eaten for days. His name was Baseball. A White African Tree Frog. He was Mr. Mans first pet. Sure we have always had a dog or cat around, but Baseball was his. He picked it out. He named it. It lived in his room.
Today was also the day that Mr. Man went away for a few weeks to visit grand parents. Just moments before he loaded into the car I noticed Baseball. I tried to keep Mr. Man from looking too closely. He asked if we would make sure Baseball was alright while he was gone.
Of course, we said.
An hour later I was digging a hole and having a small ceremony for our Baseball in our back yard. A small turn out. Myself, the dog, the cat. They sat watching while I dug. In mourning no doubt. Or wondering if that is where they might end up someday. Or maybe wondering if I will notice when one of them digs him up.
I was always afraid of my pets dying while I was away. We thought about telling him, but it seemed an awful way to begin a summer vacation. We could tell him when he returned, but that would instill one of our fears in Mr. Man that every time he leaves home his pets will die.
Or we could try to replace Baseball with a similar African White Tree Frog and put off this entire conversation about death until a later date. I know, I know, it's coming no matter what. Every thing dies.
But...how old is old enough to break down a child's innocence? Is the truth always the best policy?
I have been trying to remember how I took the news back when I was 8. I have always had animals around me. Always. Dogs, cats, rodents of all sorts. Even goats, chickens, horses, cows and pigs. Something was dying all the time.
At the moment I can't seem to remember much of anything about any of them dying. Except for one dog, but I was 14 then, not 8.
What's best? WWBD? What would Baseball Do?
We have a few weeks to decide.