Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memories, Old and New

The kids and I went to the Children's Museum on Tuesday. After much fun at the Curious George exhibit and the rooftop art park, we took a break for lunch. Nothing fancy, just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oranges and carrots and hummus. We ate up the carrots and had some hummus left. So I bought some pretzels from the vending machine.

"How do you know they're vegan?" Anna asked as I slipped the second of two dollar bills into the machine.

"Good question," I said. "I've had these before, so I know. But I'll check anyway once they come out."

They were vegan.

After a while, Anna started eating bits and pieces out of the pretzel pieces to make letter shapes. I followed suit and I made an M which was also 3, an E and a W. As I held the piece in the W position, it reminded me of a "wishbone," the clavicle of a turkey, even tough they don't really look similar.

I thought of the tradition in my family (and many families and cultures going back millennia, according to this random website) of pulling the wishbone apart with one of my siblings. First we'd make a wish. Whoever got the middle part after it snapped would have their wish come true.

Memories like these are one of the hardest parts of going vegan as an adult, I think. Eating is easy. Finding non-leather shoes is a breeze. But viewing once-happy memories differently is just plain painful. It pained me to remember the glee I took in snapping that dried-out bone. It pains me to remember pulling fish from lakes with sharp hooks. Or taking joy in killing moths between my bare hands.

I wrote about this recently on this blog's Facebook page:

My little brother and I used to parade up and down the house clapping our hands and proclaiming ourselves, in song, the "Miller Killers!" We would kill millers (moths) by clapping our hands with them in between.

Today, I caught a moth in a cup and let him or her gooutside while my kids watched. I do the same (and so do they) with spiders and other bugs all the time. But the moth today made me think of that once-positive childhood memory and, instead of making me happy, it made me sad. 
So ... that's one personal drawback of reevaluating our relationship with other animals, I guess. 
I told Anna and Liam about what my siblings and I would do with the wishbone. I explained that it's a good memory because it's something I did with my family, but that it also makes me sad because it was the bone of a turkey who wanted to live.

I asked Anna if she'd like to play the same game, but with the pretzel instead. She glowed. I told her to make a wish and that I would too, but that we shouldn't tell each other what our wishes are. After a few seconds we pulled the pretzel and she emerged victorious, much to her delight. 

"You can't tell me what you wished for though, or it won't come true," I reminded her. 

She looked at me with a knowing smile and said, "Uh..."

"Do you think it's something that will ever come true?"


"OK. Then you can tell me if you want. It's fine."

"I wished," Anna said, "that no one would eat animals." 

After I caught my breath I gave her a big long hug and said, "Me too." 

Then Liam and I played. He won. I asked what he wished for. 

His answer: "To win." 

Then we went and played for a couple more awesome hours and made more awesome memories. 


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh how precious! Anna's a smart girl:)

Celeste said...

Made me a little teary eyed. What a sweet wish, but heart-breaking she realizes it won't come true. They grow up so fast!
Someday Anna, hopefully someday.....

Jacqueline said...

Loved this...great post!