A Day with Possums

When I encounter a family with four children, two of which are under the age of 6, I expect to hear whining, crying, and demands. I expect children to be running around, arguing at high volume. I do love children, but I don’t have kids of my own. Most of what I’ve come to expect from children is due to restaurant encounters – crying, screaming, demanding kids who decorate their immediate surroundings with the children’s spaghetti special.

So meeting an intelligent, articulate and joyful child is a real treat for me.

Yesterday I met four of them.

If you haven’t been introduced to the Atheist in a Minivan blog, it’s time you start reading it. The author calls herself Possummomma. Due to recent Christian threats against her family, she’s decided to stop naming and showing her children’s photos in her blog – which is a real shame because her possums are very wonderful people.

We met at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The Possum family was there in honor of the 4th birthday of their youngest possum, and they kindly invited us along. I jumped at the chance to meet them. I was a bit late (as usual) to the zoo, and met up with them in front of the big cat exhibit. As the possum family made their way around the zoo, we tagged along.

Possum #1, the oldest, wasn’t feeling well and seemed quiet. Still her amazed response (and horror) at my allergy to fresh tomatoes made me chuckle.

Possum #2 seemed to be a ringleader of the kids, counting heads and pushing the stroller for the two younger possums. His sense of humor was wonderfully warped. The faking of getting his finger eaten by the stone Komodo dragon was inspired.

Possum #3 was shy at first, but soon regaled us with some very thoughtful commentary. She mentioned that she had a “princess piggy-bank”, so I asked how she knew it was a ‘princess’ pig. “Because she has a tiara and a tutu, of course!” Well, of course it’s obvious!

Possum #4, the youngest, was celebrating his birthday. He was the reason the possum family drove up to Fresno. I never heard a cross word from him all day. He thanked us very kindly for the birthday card.

Possumdad was there too. (I have this urge to call him ‘P-daddy’ which I really tried to squelch.) It was obvious that he was the one who anchored the family to their purpose. He charted out their progress as we tagged along through the zoo. I liked him immediately.

I’ve seen the hateful Christian comments on the Atheist in a Minivan blog, and several of them have had the tone that these wonderful kids were “too good to be true”. I’ve got to tell you, they are true. The Possum family has “Lake Wobegon children“, and it was my pleasure and honor to meet them.