To say that my heart is broken is an understatement.I feel heartsick as I think that this August as I prepare for a new school year I will not be doing that with my friend.
Squeaky started off as just a class pet. Yes I liked him and all but he was a pet.Somewhere along the 3 years we spent together in first grade he became much more than just a class pet. He became a friend, part of the family.
He has taught my family, class and me so much in those 3 years. He was a playmate to my kids. He was a reading partner to my class. He was my loyal friend in my classroom. He was always ready to listen. He loved unconditionally.I have been preparing myself for this day since spring break. Squeaky had started to show his age and I had decided that he might need to retire from the classroom. So I kept him home to be with our family. My youngest 2 kids played with him daily. Squeaky started to look better as if he had turned around and was ready to maybe take on the classroom again. I had begun to think about taking him back for the last couple of weeks so the kids could at least see him before summer break. Unfortunately that never happened. During one of his playtimes with my son he suffered an injury to his back that caused him to be paralyzed in one leg. He still got around and played as usual but he would drag his hind leg.
This last month his health has been going down and I knew the inevitable was going to happen. I kept trying to prepare myself and my kids for his passing. The kids are taking it much better than me. Every time I think about him the tears start.We held a little funeral in the backyard and placed him under our Rose of Sharon bush.
My husband’s way of trying to fix this was to have me rush out to get another rat. There was no doubt that I wouldn’t get another rat for my class pet. They are very affectionate animals and I believe make wonderful classroom pets. But I wasn’t really ready to get one just yet. However you don’t tell 4 and 7 year olds you’re getting new pets and then not do it. We went one and got 2 baby rats that are very cute and do not look like Squeaky at all. I need time to bond with them so they aren’t thrown into the classroom setting. Once I feel up to it I will introduce them. Maybe I’ll even have names picked out by then.So as this journey has come to an end, I will prepare myself for the new journey.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
Good-bye sweet friend. We love you!