I inherited my comforting skills from my mom. When I told her I had degenerative disc disease, her immediate response was, “Oh, just like Aunt Bernice. She couldn’t raise her head; spent years looking at her feet.” When I was 45 and doing a panic-stricken pregnancy test at her house, she laughed her ass off.
Well, I am neither looking at my feet nor pregnant. Hooray!
I am, however, incapable of expressing the right sentiment when somebody is facing difficulty or pain. My daughter, B was recently on the receiving end of my sympathy.
B: My hamster died last night.
K: I’m sure he’s in a better place.
B: My snake ate him.
K: Hee, hee. Ahem. How did that happen, sweetheart?
B: I was cleaning cages last night. I put fluffy in a box with airholes, and I put Artemis in a box next to him. Turns out that snakes can slide between the box flaps pretty easily. Artemis wasted no time getting into the hamster box. After eating Fluffy, she was trapped. Apparently, it’s harder to slide between the flaps with a hamster shaped bulge in your belly.
K: Why don’t we go get you a new hamster. That will make you feel better in a few days when you have to clean Fluffy poop out of the snake’s tank.
B: Not helping, Mom!
K: I could give the eulogy when we bury the poop in the backyard. I’m really good at finding just the right words to say when tragedy strikes.
For all my family and friends who have been on the receiving end of my sympathy, I’d like to give a blanket apology for my insensitivity. I honestly mean well, I just can’t seem to get the words right.
B: I’m really going to miss Fluffy!