Interesting afternoon in our yard. We finished up our last tests for the year ( Joe still has a book report to complete) and were getting ready to head to Mass for Ascension Thursday. Fred and the older boys had been working on the foundation for a new project in town and had just rolled through the door also. Joe, Tom, Mike, and Mary were playing in the sand box while the little girls were napping, when Pete called out from the kitchen "Hey! look at that raccoon???"
The sound of his voice made our spidey senses tingle immediately. It took us about 2.5 seconds to both begin calling out to the kids. Fred yelled "there's something wrong with that animal- Elle get the kids" and lickety split I was on the screen porch to call them all in. The raccoon was mangy looking and walking towards them in the sandbox in broad daylight until Fred yelled out while heading towards it and startled it.Thankfully the kids hadn't seen it and listened right away to me calling them firmly inside. It looked to both of us to be rabid.
Before I knew it Fred aka Atticus and the older 4 boys were striding across the yard to deal with it. It turned and retreated into the wooded area. And then they did too. It conjured a rather strange reaction from my heart. On the one hand I was genuinely frightened at how close it had come, and was coming, to my little ones and I could see it was a clear danger; on the other hand I watched 4 of my sons march like men into thickets following their father to remove that danger by confronting it head on. It crawled into a drainage ditch where they blocked it in. It hissed and growled and every hair on my arms stood up as I listened in from the distance keeping the kids safe and answering their questions.
Tommy: "What is a rabbit raccoon?"
"No Tommy its not a rabbit raccoon, its rabid- that means sick."
Mary: "How do you know mom?"
- "well raccoons are nocturnal and they are afraid of people and that raccoon is out in daylight and he was heading towards you!"
Mike:"did he get real close to me????"
A few minutes and plinks later they had cornered it, put it out of its misery, and safety was restored. Goodness, could the same boys who had so recently been playing in that sand box now be really old enough to defend it for their younger siblings? What a strange sight to see them following Fred into the brush standing taller than him all the while. I sat at mass thinking on it. I know they have grown up. I watched it happen day after day. But even still it catches me off guard at times. Like today.