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Saturday, April 9, 2011


As an only child, I always bought my mom something that she really liked every single Mother’s Day—that is till I decided to buy her something live, like a hamster! You would have to have known my mom: She had a beautiful apartment, didn’t like clutter and never had a pet for she couldn’t as by the rules. I was eight months pregnant with my first son and was downtown: Not sure how I got around but I did. And all of a sudden I had an epiphany—I would buy my mom a hamster for Mother’s Day! In retrospect, it had to be the “mothering instinct” that drove me to buy this animal.

I went into a dime store [those are way gone] and walked downstairs huffing and puffing and spied the hamsters. Found one that was tan and white, quite like the photo and paid for it. Then, I had to buy a cage for it as well as food. Carrying the cage with the hamster inside of it must have looked ridiculous since I was eight months pregnant.

It was about ten blocks from downtown Charleston to my mom’s apartment and it was March. The day was nice but after one block, I was in terrible pain trying to carry that hamster, cage and all. Heaven only knows how I made it to her apartment, but I did. There were two sets of doors to go through to get to her place and each time, I had to set down the cage and ring the bell. Seemed like an eternity till she finally opened the door.

You should have seen the look on her face! “What is that thing?!” she asked. I couldn’t speak as I was so out of breath; went into her apartment, sat down and placed the hamster, cage and all on her lovely glass-topped Chippendale coffee table. Sitting down was no easy task for me much less for what would ensue. My mom went ballistic on me, telling me that she couldn’t have pets [“How would your landlord know?” I asked her] and besides, she’d never pick one of those things! She didn’t even know what it was till I told her.

I thought I’d give her some time with the hamster and called my then-husband to come and get me and take me home. By this time, it was about six in the evening and I was not feeling well.

The thought of calling my mom entered my mind but so did the thought of hearing her scream at me and so, I didn’t call her till the next day. “How’s the hamster doing?” I asked in a not so strong voice. “The thing bit me and I took it back! It was up all night long going round and round and made a mess.”

My heart sunk for I thought I had given her something that she would learn to love and it would be company for her. Wrong!

That was a long time ago and my mom died ten years ago. It hit me after she died, that I no longer had a mom or could give her a gift for Mother’s Day. If that has happened to you, you know the feeling. Of all the gifts I ever gave her for that specific day, I always think back to the hamster episode and realize how dumb it was on my part to buy her something like that.

Let me forewarn you: Always ask first if your mom wants something living for a gift for Mother’s Day or you will be in big trouble like I was. And if she says no, abide by her wishes. Trust me, I know what happens if you don’t!

Sherry Hill

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