Feed the Birds

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A week or so ago (when it was a warmer day) the little blond boy wanted to get the heck out of Dodge and go ride his bike in the driveway. Almost five, I can trust him enough to stick to that large slab of asphalt that is nestled in between our house and our neighbor’s (who are like family). I kept the window open and the side door cracked so I could yell out if I needed to but mostly so I could hear the sounds of a four year old boy racing his growing collection of outdoor toys up and down the way. The little red head was asleep upstairs and I needed to clean up some things in the house before dinner time.

And then it was quiet. I wasn’t alarmed, he sometimes gets into things like the bubbles or his toy gardening tools. After a few minutes I peaked out and saw that his-sized shovel was out, dirt was strewn about and two of my terra cotta pots were now filled with soil. ‘Where did he find the dirt…‘ ah, from the flower bed of emerging daffodils, okay…’and where is my son…?‘ And there he was, with a medium sized bag of bird seed and an old broken plastic feeder I had placed by the trash can in the garage to be thrown out weeks earlier. He had taken both things out to the white rusty crook near our garden and I watched as he very carefully poured the bird seed into the top. He hardly spilled any. I watched silently. My four year old attached the top, and hung it on the crook, so very, very proud of how he helped mommy and daddy, yet more importantly that the birds now had some food to eat.

We had put that feeder out months earlier with bird seed and most of it ended up wet and packed in the tube from some bad weather. I hadn’t seen a bird on it in ages. We were too lazy to clean it out and try again. Lots of other things were on our list to get done and that was not one of them. But this time, within a half hour, I spied about four or five common house sparrows happily feasting on what Miles had set out for them.

It’s so, so, so ordinary. So simple, so uneventful. But for me, in my struggle with fighting wrong battles of parenthood, choosing to stand back and watch a little boy have a helpful and compassionate heart was a big step. Adults are always concerned with doing something. I didn’t want him to make a mess. I didn’t want him to waste bird food and therefore money if he spilled it. That feeder was broken- meant for the dump. I have no idea why I refrained from yelling at him out the window, rushing out and rescuing the bird seed from a pre-schooler’s clutches- avoiding certain disaster…but I’m glad I did nothing. Nothing but choosing to be silent and watch. And I think of it every day now. It makes me joyful and breaks my heart at the same time.

We are broken, yet seen as something worthy to be filled- just as we are. Able to give and nurture with what we’ve been given.

“Mommy- see what I did for you? I filled the pots so you can plant your flowers in them, and I fed the birdies so you and daddy didn’t have to.”

“Look, Miles, the birds are eating the food you gave them, look at them all!”


I Know The Results Of What We Did Last Summer

So I guess all we need now is a little white picket fence. Yesterday morning we had our 20 week ultrasound appointment. I was nervous. We decided to keep Miles’ gender a secret from us and everyone (but the US Tech, apparently) until he was born. I had a “feeling” I would be having a girl. I was obviously wrong- a clear set of testicles and a wiener wrong. We didn’t mind waiting to find out, it had its pros and cons. It was fun to have the surprise. This time we just felt like finding out. I know some people are religious with one way or the other, but we just did what we felt like for each one. This time I thought for sure I’d be given the lot in life of having all boys, as my dad was filled with a house full of girls. I wanted a girl just to have something different, but I felt like it would probably be a boy.

Not that it would be bad to have another boy. A.) I have all the boy clothes I would ever need, with the exception of needed a few more newborn winter outfits, since Miles was a newborn in the summer. B.) I was getting used to boy stuff and my boy’s personality- OCD with a hint of destructiveness. C.) No weddings to pay for. Boys are cheaper. No frills and prom dresses, less moody, petty, etc.

Pros to having a girl? A.) They make incredibly cute clothes for girls. B.) I’d get to bond over prom dresses and help plan a wedding. C.) I can still encourage sports and other things that boys are “supposed” to do. If you couldn’t tell, I’m not the girliest of girls. I don’t like excessive amounts of pink and I was way more into leg wrestling my sisters and playing with the fish eyeballs my dad would cut out of the fish he was cleaning and give me from the days catch on Lake Erie than playing with dolls. I did, however, love to dress up in my 80’s rock wig, ruffled jean skirt, suspenders and leg warmers and dance around the room with a microphone singing along with Whitney Houston and Gloria Estefan, all while my hair was in a side ponytail. Oooh yeah. I was a child of the 80’s.

And so, I was surprised when the tech moved the wand around and (with a little difficulty from a shy baby) said she was almost 100% certain we were having a girl. She just couldn’t capture the proof in a picture since baby was positioned the way it was. What am I going to do with a girl!? Well, I’m sure I will figure it out. I’ve been babysitting one for over a year and most of my friends with kids have at least one girl. But this one will be different, she’ll be her own person just like each of the little gals I know. Maybe more like Jason? Maybe more like me? Well, we’ll see. The important thing is that the doctor said everything looked great and healthy, and that baby was measuring 12 oz.- just where she should be. Wow. Miles will be a big brother. To a little sister-we will now have our little Jason and our little Ali:

Hopefully when little Ali is in 3rd grade, she will steer clear of this look:

I found an 11×14 of this in my mom’s coat closet and I asked her why on God’s green earth is there a picture this big of that. Then I thought, well, it has been in a closet for close to 20 years. Touche, mom, touche. I just have one question for you- who bought geeky Ali’s glasses and permed hair? Hmm? Hmm? Why was I not stopped? I was only 9! Just a child. An innocent, naive and apparently blind child…