After a busy, busy Monday at work, I came home and found Mrs. Frisby (our cat) playing with something interesting in the driveway. My young boys were quick to check things out and discovered that it was, in fact, a teensy little garter snake.
A garter snake that my littlest promptly named Erik.
I did what any mother in her wrong mind would do. I put him in a bin.
After much oohing and aahing by the boys, we went in the house. And the cat promptly took Erik out of the bin.
After dinner, little one headed out to check on the snake, and he was gone (of course). So he came to me, begging me with his little blue eyes -- endearing me -- "Mommy, you HAVE to find Erik. Frisby may have killed him." (He aspires to be Dr. Doolittle and sincerely cares about nearly every animal he meets -- except the springtime ants. He squashes them like the bugs they are.)
So, I went out to look. I took one step out the door, nearly stepped on the damn snake, squealed like the girl I am and then calmly said, "Found him."
I put said snake back in the bin. More oohing and aahing commenced, with little one begging to keep the snake and hubby coming out to see our reptilian friend for the first time. Rather than keep the snake (this is where I draw the line. We have two fishtanks, a beagle AND a snake-catching cat), we opted to let him loose in the woods behind our house. This was after a very long debate on the snake habitat ... and Christopher's insistence that he could put one leaf under him and one leaf on top of him to keep him warm at night (LOL). I even enlisted my father's help in convincing my son that Erik needed to go back to his tree stump (after reminding him that my cat is SO much cooler than his cat).
Then, being the truly cool mother I am, I picked Erik up behind the head (he was too beaten up to even curl himself up around my hand), and Christopher -- clad in pajamas, penny loafers and a baseball cap (you just have to picture it) -- joined me in taking Erik as far away from the house as possible and placing him on a tree stump. Christopher agreed that my picking up the snake catapulted me into "Coolest Mother in the World" status (I don't want him to ever forget that his mom wasn't afraid to pick up a snake).
I'm pretty sure he'll pass tonight -- Mrs. Frisby had a really good time with him before I got to him -- but in a way, I hope he doesn't. I certainly don't want him in my house or on my porch, but there's something just a teensy bit intriguing to know that there's a chance my boys may cross paths with a little garter snake again one day. Very Dennis the Menace, don't you think? As long as Erik doesn't end up in a jeans pocket, it's OK by me.