I was standing in the kitchen, chopping tomatoes to make guacamole. Suddenly, I heard little sneakers pounding the hardwoods, originating at the back door and running toward me.
"Mom! Mom! Come quick! Something fell out of the sky and it has blood on it!"
Oh geez. There is animal blood involved in this equation right off the bat. Suddenly the red fleshy wet tomatoes in my hands made my stomach turn.
"Is it a bird?" I asked with a mix of hesitation and bravery. Trying to fool my boys into thinking that of course their mom is not afraid of a dead animal. Of course.
"Yes, it's something that can fly because it fell out of the sky!"
My 4-year-old is exhibiting too much excitement about this bloody flying object in the back yard.
We took off toward the grass. Little Brother was waiting for us there.
"Come on! It's over here! Wait, where is it? Reid, where is it?"
Oh, God. Is one of us about to step on it?
"Oh look it's right here!" A chipmunk. A (formerly) flying one? It had a huge gash at the neck, where insects had started to invade. Its eyes were open, fixated, perhaps, on Chipmunk Heaven.
My boys appeared to be ready for a science lesson. There was not one ounce of disgust on their parts, but rather awe. Perhaps pride even -- that they found this, and they were letting me in on it. Such good sharers. And at that moment it hit me.
"You didn't touch it... did you?" I managed, not allowing my eyes to wander over the red gash.
Graham studied my face. Then: "We didn't touch the bloody part."
My mind replayed this statement. We. Didn't. Touch. The. Bloody. Part. I grabbed their wrists, one in each hand. Flanking me, we bee-lined inside for the sink. The soap. The running water. "Don't touch anything! Just get some soap! Scrub every finger!" I squaked.
"But we only touched the back! We didn't touch the blood!"
They scrubbed, dried, I exhaled and they went back to playing. I grabbed a shovel and flung the thing over the back fence. Like nothing had happened. What bloody flying chipmunk corpse? Nothing to see here! Keep moving!
But the tomatoes? They're going to have to wait a bit.