Insert. Knife. Twist. In. Heart.
I never thought the little girl who wrote love notes to me every day would ever accuse me of being a cold-blooded snail murderess.
Who died and made me Jacques Cousteau?
Nowhere in my 1,000 page “How to Care For Your Child from Newborn to 5 Years” handbook – yes, she did come complete with a book from the hospital – was there a chapter on how to care for a pet snail.
In an ironic turn of events, I actually thought the snail was a murderess. Six goldfish mysteriously died one-by-one after the Easter Bunny brought them to our house last year. Roxie never seemed shaken whenever there was a floater. Was it a coincidence that they were last seen by the pink castle she called home?
How much do you feed a snail? I have to admit that I was totally jealous of the fact that she could eat whatever she wanted and never bust out of her shell.
She was certainly queen of the castle.
Until she was murdered, I mean died peacefully.
Just as the Cosby Family gave their goldfish a proper family send-off with a prayer service around the toilet, we needed to do something for Roxie.
However, what do you do with a dead snail besides make broth? Who am I, Andrew Zimmern? Of course not.
I couldn’t really flush her down our low water toilet. She’d never get to the White River and would cost us a visit from Mr. Rooter.
So, we decided to put her in the garden. That is until, Dogzilla, our very hungry golden retriever channeled her inner French Poodle and tried to dine on a little escarole.
One child meltdown later, I found a Brighton heart-shaped tin to put Roxie in.
We put her shell-side up, and created a little memorial for her in the garden – completely pooch proof.
We said a little prayer, along with our last goodbyes.
As we put the lid on, my daughter wanted to take one last look.
Reluctantly, I turned Roxie over and by God, I thought I saw a tentacle move.
Holy crap! Was she still alive?
I mean really, how do you tell if a snail is dead? She never came out of her house.
I couldn’t in good conscience keep her in the tin if there was a chance she was alive.
So we put her in some water and stared.
It was a false alarm and time to close the tin.
So now Roxie rests safely in her heart-shaped box through sleet, rain and snow in the garden.
And thanks to the little girl up the street who gave my daughter a stuffed-snail (Beanie Baby-stuffed, not garlic and bread crumbs-stuffed) all has been forgiven.
I’m back on the love note list again and cleared from the scene of the slime – that is, until karma rears its ugly head and I never hear the end of it when she is a teenager.
For now, I’ll cherish my mommy love notes.