My dear Mother-in-law hates snakes. HATES them! When her children were little, she saw a garden snake in a ditch. Her youngest son (I think about three years old at the time) almost went for a swim because she pushed against him to get as far away from the snake as possible. A few years ago I took some pictures of our then two year old “petting” a snake. She refused to look at the pictures.
Last Sunday after church we made a visit out to the family farm to set a bullfrog free (another story). My three boys saw a snake wriggling in the lawn. Where was my Mother-in-law? In the house, probably standing on top of something tall. I don’t mind snakes, at least not the little non-poisonous ones. I picked it up and the boys took turns holding it. I was told, in no uncertain terms that after playing with the snake, I was to kill it or fling it across the road. "Fling" was accompanied by the action of arm swinging overhead lasso-style. I don’t kill things bigger than spiders. I told the boys to say goodbye to the snake. Then with 3 pairs of innocent eyes watching I flung the snake to a skidding halt in the middle of the far lane of the highway. After not moving for a good thirty seconds, it started slithering toward our side of the road. Like an idiot I yelled at it, “Go back! Go to the OTHER side of the road!” Then, wouldn’t you know it, here comes a large truck towing a boat. Smush! “Go inside boys.” “Is it dead?” “Go inside.” Fortunately for me it wiggled. “It’s moving!” “Go inside!” As I escorted my three now hopeful little boys into the house under orders to wash their hands with soap and warm water, I told my hubby he needed to come outside. “You didn’t throw it all the way across, did you?” “Nope.” “It got hit, didn’t it?” “Yep.” Hubby kicked it the rest of the way across the road then found a creepy crawly diversion for our sons in the form of a caterpillar.
Rewind to about two weeks before when my dad had just finished babysitting. My six year old invited me outside to see a “bee with no wings that can’t fly.” On my way out the door my dad asked me to, “take care of it.” It was a wasp and it had wings. My middle, most tenderhearted, son stood watching while I stomped his little pet to smithereens. The look on his face was heart-wrenching. Bad mom! Bad mom! Poor critters! Bad mom!