I was able to finish the Glaceon toy entirely in crochet! The craft gloves I purchased seemed to help my wrists, and I also gave up some of the tightness of the gauge to help my hands relax more. It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty well, and Jonah is happy with it. (except for the curling of the ear flaps, but we are fixing that with blocking tonight.)
I also crocheted Mae’s Pokemon this weekend: Mew (pattern here). It went much faster, mostly because it’s all one color, and had less pieces to assemble. I think it turned out pretty cute, and the Suncatcher eyes I used really brought the face to life.
My biggest motivation for finishing these toys this weekend was as a comfort and distraction for my kids, because on Friday we discovered that one of our guinea pigs (Alice, the red and black one) was very sick. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with some sort of mass in her abdomen (possibly an ovarian cyst or a tumor). They couldn’t tell for sure without x-rays, but either case would require an operation, and guinea pigs don’t do well under anesthetic in general. The kids were very sad, Mae especially, since it’s her guinea pig, but she wasn’t ready to put her to sleep right away, so we brought her home to see how she would do. Guinea pigs can hide their illness for a long time, but once they start showing symptoms, and not eating, they deteriorate very quickly, so we hoped she wouldn’t suffer much longer, but pass away in peace at home. During the last couple of days it was hard to watch her grow weaker, but it seemed like a very sweet time for her and her sister, cuddling almost constantly, with Tornado grooming her and comforting her, so I’m not regretting the decision. She wasn’t acting like she was in pain, so I believe that this was the best, most natural process for them, and that it might also help Tornado understand the loss of her sister. Today, Alice left our lives in peace, laying down quietly most of the morning, and eventually slipping into to her final sleep. Tornado left her alone at the end, interestingly enough, as if she knew her time was close and she was ready to let her go, and now that Alice is gone, she seems much more active, wandering around and eating and drinking more normally than she had been the last couple of days as she spent most of her time with Alice. It’s as if she feels some relief after this watching and waiting time, or maybe I’m just projecting my own emotions on her. The kids, in their turn, were amazingly sweet and brave. Before, they had not wanted to talk about her dying, and said that they didn’t want to bury her, as they have sad memories of helping to bury our dog 2 years ago and sharing stories around her grave, so I wasn’t sure if I should wait until they got home to do it, but decided that I wanted to give them one last chance to say goodbye. So I put her body in a sweet little shoe box of Mae’s, and wrote her name in gold sharpie on it, and told the kids they could write things on it for her if they wanted to. I tried to tell them that they didn’t have to do any of this, but part of what it means to be a pet owner is being brave enough to talk about and think about what you’re going to do when they die. And they really rallied, even through their tears. They got excited about decorating her shoe box, and also a rock to put on top of her grave, and put all the effort they could into helping to bury her. I wasn’t going to push them to say anything after we buried her, but Jonah asked if they could, so we all talked about what we remembered about her. Once again, Mae got teary talking about Alice and Tornado playing tug-of-war with carrots, but she was so very brave to do it anyway.
I really have some pretty amazing kids, who are learning some tough things about life. Pets are really great to have around, but eventually you have to say goodbye. But they are still worth it for all the joy they bring to our lives and what they can teach us about life. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, Alice, including the true merit of a dandelion, and how to die gracefully with your loved ones. Rest in peace in fields of dandelions forever, sweet little guinea pig.