To save my sanity, I’m saving a rat

Parenting is hard work. I am a firm believer that all children should come with a manual that is magically updated as they hit each phase of their lives. It would make this job so much easier. That being said, parenting for me is extraordinarily challenging this week as I’m uber-stressed. And, that is definitely not a good thing.

I chair a major event called the Nutcracker Tea Party that will happen (whether I’m ready or not) in ten days. It’s an amazing event but a ton of work. Every year I try and delegate, but I’ve discovered that there are lots of things that I can do faster if I just tackle them instead of training someone else. So, it gets down to the wire and I get a little stressed.

This year, I had a bright idea to add an online auction as I way to earn extra money. Great in theory but a helluva lot of work. Right now, we’re in the midst of the bidding and people don’t seem to be in a hurry to jump on great deals. Me, I’m in a rush. I want to have a successful auction and move on. My stress level seems to rise every time I log on and check on the bidding.

Intensifying it all, is the fact that I can’t blow off steam my usual way by chasing a little yellow ball around a tennis court and sweating. I tore my calf in a freak tennis accident five weeks ago and I miss the exercise. I miss my tennis friends and the laughter of Tuesday night fun. But, most of all I miss the endorphins that just happen to kick in and take care of my stress at a time like this.

So by now, I’m sure your wondering, how does a rat fit into the mix? We just happen to have one as a pet. My eleven year-old Rosie adores him. And, to be truthful, the rest of us don’t think he’s half bad.

Today, in the midst of all the multitasking and chasing people to make sure next weekend’s event happens, I noticed a bunch of blood on Remmie’s tail. He’s had a problem with pressure sores on his feet and since he’s close to life expectancy, we’ve had a conversation with the vet that we may need to put him to sleep if they don’t heal. Well, they’re not healing.

Immediately, my blood pressure rose and I burst into tears (like I wasn’t stressed enough). How was I going to tell my child (that’s where the parenting manual would come in handy. Turn to the eleventh year, two months and two days page of my child’s life and the answer would be right there) and what was I going to do? In a phone conversation with the vet it became crystal clear.

I would save the rat. We’d put him on another round of antibiotics and see what happens. This would accomplish a couple of things: let me get through the stress of the next couple of weeks without piling on another thing. And, give me time to clearly explain to Rosie what might happen to emotionally prepare her.

Yes, I’m buying some time and to tell you the truth, the decision lowered my stress. It also solidified for me that maybe I don’t need that parenting manual. If I stop and put myself in my child’s shoes, parenting doesn’t seem so hard.

About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.


  1. I am so, so sorry! Our rats were the best pets ever. They just don’t live long enough. Our vet had one that made it to age 5. That was miraculous to me.

  2. Thanks. We’ve made it over 2 1/2 years. And, now I’ve bought us a little more time. Pets are such a blessing.

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