What We Learned After Walking Past a Dead Possum

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What We Learned After Walking Past a Dead Possum

With the gorgeous autumn days and winter on our doorstep, I’ve made an effort to walk the girls to and from school. It’s a lovely stroll to school… providing we’re not late. I enjoy the walk and even though the girls sometimes complain, I know they enjoy it too. The odd eye spy game certainly quietens the protests of walking to school.

Last Monday, we had the unfortunate experience of seeing a dead possum on the road. It didn’t look dead from the way it was lying on the road. Even Maggie, ever the optimistic, said it looked like it was sleeping.

dead possum lessons
Not the dead possum we saw. But this is similar to what it looked like.

Unfortunately, the possum was not sleeping and was certainly dead. During the week it had been moved from the road next to the footpath where we would walk.

As we had left late a few of the mornings during the week, we had taken the shorter route to walk to school, which meant we didn’t walk past the dead possum.

It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon, I pushed Phoebe in the pram to pick up the girls from school, and our noses twitched to an awful smell which was the dead possum. It had been picked at by the local wildlife for food. Phoebe was quite audible with her description of the smell. It left such an impression on her, as soon as we got to school to pick Esther and Maggie up, Phoebe described the smell to her older sisters.

Maggie asked if we could walk past the dead possum so she could smell it too.

I told her no, it was gross and why on earth would she want to smell a dead possum?

“Muuum, please! I will hold my nose as we walk past!”

“What’s the point of holding your nose if you want to smell the dead possum?” I exclaimed.

To avoid tears of disappointment, we walked past the dead possum. I held my nose. The girls tiptoed past to get the full smelly experience.

“Oh gross, that is disgusting. I never want to smell that AGAIN!” exclaimed Maggie.

I laughed and couldn’t wait to tell Jacob about the FOMO (fear of missing out) of smelling a dead possum.

It gave me the opportunity to explain to the girls that when I say something is not good and we shouldn’t do this or that, I’m not doing it to be a mean mum, I’m simply doing it to protect them.

After we passed the dead possum, and made our way home, it dawned on me how often we can be just like Maggie. We won’t take someone’s word for what they’ve seen or experienced. We have to experience it ourselves before we make up our own mind.

The experiences could be anything from going on a holiday, starting a blog, becoming a plumber, choosing to start a family or simply having faith in God. All these things will potentially enrich your life in various ways. (They will also test you and make you stronger in various ways!)

But then there are the temptations in life where we know they won’t lead to good… but we just have to try it to see. We think, what happened to that person won’t happen to me. The problem with this thinking is when we ignore the wisdom from others who have been there and have just survived to tell their tale, we immediately regret when we’ve given into that same temptation.

Listening and acting on the wisdom from others is wisdom in itself.

wisdom from others

It seems there is much to learn from our experience after smelling a dead possum.

I’m not sure whether the girls fully understood my explanation about wanting to protect them from something nasty. But I also didn’t want to crush their curiosity either. I knew smelling and looking at the dead possum wasn’t going to give them nightmares. It would allow them to understand a little more about the cycle of life.

I know one thing is for sure for us – we won’t be curious to know what a dead animal smells like.

Been there, done that, and thankfully lived to tell the tale.

Do you need to try things before you believe? Ever done something you wish you had listened to the wisdom of others before you embarked on the said experience? Ever smelled a dead possum?