A couple weeks ago, I shared a story about our bunny Andie, specifically why we rehomed her and what we all learned from that chapter in our lives. Our daughter took it the hardest, ultimately blaming herself for not stepping up to the responsibility of pet ownership. We had many conversations about the lessons that surfaced, lessons that I knew would not remain on the surface but would ingrain into them.
We had no idea exactly how profound the bunny experience was for our daughter. After tears dried and life shuffled us all into next chapters, unbeknownst to us, Addie kept going back to reread those painful pages over and over. Behind closed doors, she was working on how to make a wrong a right. She needed redemption. And she missed her fuzzy friend.
For six months, Addie researched hamsters: the different types; necessary care; food; toys; cage requirements; handling requirements; and costs. She filled the pages of a one-inch binder, complete with tabs to delineate all hamster categories. She watched hours of educational videos, read blogs, and studied websites. We had no idea until she presented us with a letter and a YouTube video to show us why she was ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership all on her own – she even saved up enough money pay for everything.
The letter was almost four pages long – not something that was scribbled out on a whim. It had been written over many weeks, revised, and written again. The lessons from the bunny were bold within the text. And then there was her first YouTube video! We had no idea that she even knew how to record, edit, and upload. Her hamster plea was heartfelt with the utmost sincerity.
Some may jump in and say “don’t tell me you actually got a hamster!” But we did. After learning about her months of effort, months of regret, and knowing how much she needed a second chance, we gave her that. Learning that life does give you second chances especially after you earn that right is a profound lesson. With proud tears in our eyes, we knew we had another invaluable teaching moment to gift our daughter. When you admit your mistakes, own them, and work your hardest to right them, you become a better person.
A memorable chapter started this weekend with a velvety soft hamster named Midge, “second chance Midge.” And an eleven-year-old grew to be an even more honorable, inspirational young lady. And Midge the hamster must have received the word that she was coming for him – I have never seen a more cuddly, friendly hamster who took an instant liking to a girl needing a second chance.