I know why gerbils eat their young – it’s to avoid having to send Christmas cards and watch each other grow old.
Having been born as my parents prepared retirement; I have always felt I was a misplaced gerbil. The family had already been raised, graduated and enjoyed by the time I appeared. Sometimes I have discovered that extra in the cereal box is more of a turd than a treasure – such is life.
To avoid this tragedy in another generation, I planned and had my family young so we could enjoy life together, share the moments that would eventually define us all in ways we had yet to learn and most of all just live together. That would have worked if a pesky divorce hadn’t gotten in the way. I think gerbils should eat ex-husbands too – probably a lot tougher to swallow down, but certainly more satisfying.
So my best laid plans of gerbil and beast didn’t quite workout and having been displaced by my birth family AND the one I personally birthed, life seemed to have almost reached a full circle crescendo, until I took in my elderly mother and she is now only a few steps away asleep in bed dying. Why couldn’t she have been a gerbil?
The months that have brought me here have shown me there is more nature than human in most people. Their own lives “naturally” come first and the human contact which would be more meaningful than any word could express is ignored. Gerbil syndrome at it’s very best. So difficult to find that infamous milk of human kindness at a 7-11. Ironically the majority of them give more attention to that anonymous clerk behind the counter, than to the dying woman asleep in my spare room who is family.
So it isn’t just the young who are eaten away by the whisker twitching family member gerbils, it is also the ones who have outlived their usefulness, aren’t facebook worthy or Twitter material.
They were once though, at a time long forgotten when tears were shed, gifts unwrapped and lessons learned.
Tonight I listen to the silence in my heart, and know how much it would mean to be reassured by the family I was birthed into or birthed. I know what that same reassurance would mean to the woman in the next room on the verge of heaven, and find it too sad to dwell upon.
Laugh all you want about the rat race or the gerbils going no where fast in their wheels. Truth is, a rat is first to leave a sinking ship, and that includes a family when it isn’t picture perfect or a suitable fit into their own plans.