Monday, February 04, 2008

Never Say Never

My kids have known for a long time that they may buy pets when they grow up and move out, but that they can't have one while living here. I realize pets can be an important part of growing up - learning responsibility - being close to nature - and so on, but when I was a child, I became so attached to my pets that I could not stand the grief I experienced when they died. It was overwhelming to me. (Just to put into perspective how much I can't stand it when something dies, I get tears in my eyes when I see a dead animal on the road - any animal, whether it is somebody's pet dog or an opossum. If I find a spider in my house, I don't kill it. I catch it and release it outside. If I can't stand for a spider or opossum to die - how much more so a furry creature I've become attached to?)

Anyway, most Moms who don't want pets don't want the mess or extra work; I'll be honest and admit I don't want the grief. As an adult I have not wanted to have pets I could become attached to and then have to go through that kind of sadness again. So for their lives to date our children had not gotten to have that important developmental experience of having pets - and that was something that was just never going to happen.

Well, never is a long time. Our friends Ross and Jay recently had the boys over and played games with them while David and I had a much needed date night. While there, Caleb fell in love with their pet mice, some of whom they were trying to give away. (They'd bought 2 females, but it turned out one was pregnant when purchased!) The next morning I received an email asking if I would like two mice. I think it was the only weak moment I've ever had with regard to the pet thing. Somehow they caught me at just the right (wrong?) time, and I said "yes."

I said yes?!?!?! I said WHAT??!! Huh?!

So, now we are the proud owners of two mice - Hugin and Munin. The kids have been asking me for a couple of weeks if I've posted pictures on the blog yet - nope - so here they are. Please welcome Hugin and Munin:

I'm already attached, and mice have only a 2 to 3 year life span. :-(

Oh . . . the names . . . our friends are into Norse mythology. Hugin and Munin are the anglicized names of the ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin, whom he sends out every day to fly over Midgard and bring him the news. The name Hugin means thought, and the name Munin means memory. Here is a beautiful statement of Odin about Thought and Memory:

From Grímnismál:

Old Norse:

Huginn ok Muninn fliúga hverian dag
iörmungrund yfir;
óomk ek of Huginn, at hann aptr ne komit,
þó siámk meirr um Muninn.


The whole world wide, every day,
fly Hugin and Munin;
I worry lest Hugin should fall in flight,
yet more I fear for Munin.

Another translation reads,

Every morning the two ravens Huginn and Muninn, are loosed and fly over Midgard; I always fear that Thought may not wing his way home, but my fear for Memory is greater.


Tony said...

Wow. In the past month and a half the Meyer clan has added 4 rodents!

For mice they look really cute!

Give my congratulations to the boys!

Anonymous said...

Wow those are some smart mice! Do they really read all of the books on the book shelf behind their enclosure?

Don't fear...if anything happens to the mice, your country cousin can replace them ten fold from our growing mouse population in the chicken coop. Mice love to nest in the hay and eat chicken feed. So to say the least we have several families and growing....P

Heidi said...

Wow! I should have just had my kids visit you and adopt pets at a distance!! :-)

That way they could have the benefits, and I wouldn't have the attachement/grief issue!

nethe said...

How strange to read the words from my childhood stories here, Heidi!
Hugin and Munin.
-And great fun to read the Old Norse language! Not modern Danish or Norwegain at all, but still recognicable. Thank you.

How good of you to cave in to the pet-need of your kids ;-) I know where you´re coming from, but I feel that the pain of knowing that many pets do not have a good home in their lifetime is worse than giving them such a good home and then loose them.
Happy cuddles!

Heidi said...

Hi Nethe!

I love language. Part of the degree I'm working on right now has to do with language. It's always been interesting to me that some languages change in form much more drastically than others. I think it's really cool that modern-day speakers of Danish and Norwegian find old Norse to be recognizable. This isn't the case with English. No modern-day English reader would find old English recognizable without special training. It sure would be nice to be able to read old texts in the original rather than having to resort to translation in which so much is lost. For instance I think both of the translations on this post are beautiful, but they do have a different feel to them, and I'm sure neither entirely captures the original.