I put down my book and looked at my watch—1:15 a.m. Surely I could fall asleep now. After all, I was already in bed.
The events of the week had been tiring. A fifteen-hour flight back to the States. A graveside service for my 79-year-old dad. A stretch of tedious days and nights with my elderly mom. I wondered how she would fare alone when I returned to Asia.
With a sigh, I finished the last bite of bagel and put the empty Ziplock on the floor beside my bed before turning off the light. In time, I drifted off to sleep.
At first, the rustling seemed part of my dream. But as I realized where I was, I startled awake to hear the baggie beside my nightstand moving. Dreading what I might see, I switched on the bedside light and peered over the side of the bed. Sure enough, a common field mouse had found evidence of my bagel and was inside the baggie foraging for the last few crumbs.
I should have known better than this. I grew up on this farm and knew mice were nocturnal. They ate 15-20 times a night on anything available, spreading germs and reproducing when not eating.
Okay, but what should I do now?
The only option I could come up with at this time of the night was to zip the baggie closed. Surprisingly, I contained the mouse. Now what?
My heart was pounding like crazy as I knew that, eventually, the mouse would gnaw its way through the flimsy plastic. But my thirty-something brain couldn’t think about my next action plan.
I needed my mother, even if she was in her seventies.
Deftly, I slid out of bed and tipped into my mother’s bedroom.
My mother opened her wrinkled eyes and smiled at me as she had many other times in my childhood.
“Uh, Mama, I caught a mouse.”
“That’s good, dear,” she cooed as she stiffly raised herself in bed. “I’m proud of you.”
“Well, I caught it, but I don’t know what to do with it. It’s inside a baggie.”
With a twinkle in her aged eyes, my mother slid into her slippers and arthritically pulled on her robe. “Let’s go see, shall we?” she responded as if getting out of bed to look at mice were a nightly occurrence with her.
When we entered my room, we found the mouse still bagged and frantically thrashing around the carpeted flooring. Carefully, my frail mother bent over, grabbed the bag, and shuffled slowly toward the den door. I followed her outside, wondering just what she would do.
As she tottered across the wrap-around porch, she raised the baggie slightly. Then, with a swift force I didn’t know she still possessed, Mother slammed the baggie, mouse included, against the banister railing.
“That should do it,” she squeaked and tossed the lifeless baggie onto the porch. “Now, let’s go to bed, shall we?”
As I remember my mom, I wish each mentoring soul a Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for your tenderness, nurture, and care. I agree with Marion C. Garretty, who said, “Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” May you be encouraged, strengthened, and appreciated for all the little things you do.
Even if it includes killing a rodent or two.