Late one night a couple of years ago, my oldest son came into my bedroom, woke me up and asked, “Mom, do we have any mouse traps?”
Well, of course, that could only mean one thing. Yet, in my drowsiness, that didn’t keep me from asking the obvious: “Why, do we have a mouse?”
“Yes, Mom, we have a mouse.”
“In the house?”
“Yes, Mom, we have a mouse in the house.”
“The last I saw, he was running behind the toaster.”
“On the counter?”
“Yes, Mom, we have a mouse in the house running behind the toaster on the counter. Do we have any traps or not?”
Maybe it was because I was half asleep, but by this time I was beginning to feel as if I was a character in a Dr. Seuss book.
I fell back to sleep listening as my son struggled to set the traps — successful or not, I didn’t know at the time and really didn’t care. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I value my sleep.
About three hours later I was startled awake by noises coming from the kitchen. Not just noises — loud noises! Had it not been for the earlier conversation, I probably would have thought it to be an intruder. The mouse was making so much noise, seemingly running into everything but one of the traps.
I found myself lying in bed wondering if my mouse was blind. The next thing I knew, I was not only intently listening for the mouse, but also singing: “Three blind mice, three blind mice; see how they run, see how they run.”
By now, partly because I was obviously tired — as evidenced by the spontaneous singing of nursery rhymes at two in the morning — and partly because my ears and body were on high alert listening for any signs of the mouse heading my direction, I now had to go to the bathroom!
So, I began thinking that process through.
“I’ve got to put shoes on. There’s no way I’m putting my feet on the floor barefooted.”
Then I thought, “Maybe I should put on my bluejeans as well . . . after all, if he can make his way to the kitchen counter, he should have no problem running up my legs!”
After reprimanding myself for letting my imagination get the best of me, I made a mad dash across the hall and hightailed it back to bed, crawling under the safety of covers as quickly as I could.
By then, of course, there was no way I was going to get back to sleep any time soon. “Did Ben get the traps set? Can the mouse climb up on the bed? Why not? Should I turn on my bedside lamp? Or will that only be leading the mouse straight to me?” So many questions; so few answers.
After turning on the light, I sat there motionless, listening for the least little sound. Then suddenly I heard it — a noise that I thought was getting closer. I held my breath and kept listening. Sure enough, the noise WAS getting closer, no doubt about it.
As I was leaning over, scanning the bedroom floor, looking for any signs of the mouse, I nearly toppled over when I was started by what sounded strangely like my name. “Cher-wo, can I have some water?” The tiny little voice nearly scared me to death! It turned out to be the 4-year-old daughter of a single mom staying with me for a few days.
End of story? The 4-year-old got her water and was sent back to bed. I turned out the light and eventually fell back to sleep with the song “Three Blind Mice” running through my head. And the mouse? I have no idea. We never did catch him. Perhaps he ran off the minute he heard me singing about cutting off his tail with a carving knife!
Lesson learned: At first I really didn’t think I had one. But, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I have ever listened as intently for the voice of God as I did for that mouse. Have I ever sat so still and listened as intently as I did that night?