A Hedgehog One-Night Stand: A Lesson in Love and Letting Go

  A few days ago, I actually had a one-night stand with a hedgehog.
  That evening, I was waiting for my husband downstairs, but he stopped and called me.
  It turned out that there was a brown thorn ball the size of a goose egg in the corner of the steps. The husband said that this was a little hedgehog that had not grown up. I screamed in surprise and couldn’t help but reach out and touch it gently. Sure enough, the thorns on the back were not hard enough, but rather thin and soft. Just like Mr. Li Yan’s “Ode to Hedgehogs”: “Those who want to catch will hate their natural fleshy palms, and those who want to bite will find it difficult to find a place to bite.” He guessed my mind and said: “Put it in a bag or box? Keep two at most. Just let it go.” I was overjoyed when he gave the green light. You should know that he has always been unwilling for me to keep pets – they think it is unhygienic and troublesome. While I agreed, I quickly found a cardboard box and invited the baby hedgehog inside. What name should we two discuss? Since today is the Dragon Boat Festival, let’s call it “Yangyang”! My husband’s unintentional remark, “A hedgehog mother won’t be looking for her children everywhere, right?” The thorns of a hedgehog pricked my heart slightly, and I said with a guilty conscience: “Maybe it’s just like the stray cat in the community yard, it’s a stray hedgehog. What?”
  Let’s solve the housing problem first. Unfortunately, when the cats were given away in the early stage, the cat’s nest and other things were also given away. I had to find two boxes, one large and one small, and opened a circle of “small windows” together to serve as the hedgehog’s dwelling during the day and night. When he learned that I had adopted a new pet, my cat-raising friend downstairs immediately found an unused cat litter box and brought it up along with two bags of cat litter.
  I quickly searched Baidu for hedgehog recipes—from insects and bird eggs to snails and earthworms, there were so many and so many. He’s so young, I’m afraid he needs milk, right? I don’t have hedgehog milk either! It happens that we have just finished drinking the milk at home. Can we try some yogurt first? So, I used two small plates and put water and yogurt in them respectively. After a while, Yangyang stepped into the plate with his two front feet and tasted the yogurt. I happily let my husband take a look at it, and at the same time I poured some more, but I saw it shrunk into a thorny ball in the corner of the box and fell asleep. “Always curl up but not to show weakness, occasionally stretch out but not to show strength”, this sentence suddenly came to my mind.
  It dawned on me: this was exactly a baby hedgehog, and just like any other mammal baby, it slept most of the time. My heart was pricked by the thorn of the invisible hedgehog again! This little life is too fragile! Firstly, I am not sure whether I can raise it up; secondly, it will definitely not be happy to be a “little prisoner” if it leaves its mother so early.
  What happened next confirmed my fears. After eating and sleeping, Yang Yang, who had a little strength, began to “escape” in various ways. It used its four short legs, spread its little toes, and climbed up desperately, making sharp protests until it was exhausted again. Go to sleep.
  Early the next morning, I checked hurriedly and found that the box was full of shredded paper and in a mess. I thought about how uneventful last night was. After breakfast, I took it to the place where I found it yesterday, and took it out of the box when it was a little dazed. I saw it froze for a while by the flower bed, then turned and entered the bushes, and gradually moved away, only the rustling of branches and leaves could be heard.
  Throughout the day, I felt lost. In the evening, I came back with the shopping in both hands. Suddenly I heard the rustling of leaves in the green belt, and I was frozen in place as if I was electrocuted. I didn’t dare to put the things down, but my heart suddenly rose to my throat. I bent down and took a closer look. In the gap between the branches and leaves, a hedgehog mother and her baby were wandering around as if no one was around! I held my breath and saw the stupid little Yangyang, imitating the mother hedgehog, sniffing here and there, and before I knew it, I was far away from my mother and closer to me! Do you want to come over and say hello to me? I heard my own heartbeat. “Go back quickly!” As if it could understand my words, it turned back in the direction of its mother.
  As I watched the mother and baby hedgehog return to the depths of the bush, I wondered how the mother hedgehog looked for her baby. Are you searching everywhere, or are you just waiting in one place? I can’t imagine how the baby hedgehog will tell his mother his adventures. But seeing the hedgehog mother so calm and calm, as if she trusts the world controlled by humans who walk upright on two legs!
  I think the love between parents and children in mammals is the same. Nurturing and care are regarded by mothers as their bounden duty. But love requires free space and timely letting go. Just like the hedgehogs in the fable who want to hug together for warmth but are in a dilemma, being too close may hurt each other.
  I remember seeing a poem by Rabindranath Tagore: “Your love is much greater than theirs, you set me free!” Perhaps, this is the reason why I, who have been living in my hometown, respect my daughter’s wishes and let her study abroad away from home. Reason! Isn’t it also my wish when I was young to explore a wider world?

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