Yesterday Jesse and Anders came rushing in from our fenced in/suburban neighborhood backyard and announced, “There’s a baby duck outside!”
“We don’t have ducks,” I told them. “Just chickens.”
But they insisted, so I followed them out and, sure enough, there was a very tiny, too-young-to-fly duckling. It stood there, looking at us, then chirped and dashed for the bushes with the little boys and Summer hot on its trail. For a moment I couldn’t quite make sense of the situation. My mind got a little fuzzy, and I was thinking, “Can chickens have . . . baby ducks? . . . We have no males for fertilizing, did the duck just spontaneously generate? Is this an example of reproduction by ‘budding’? Did a duckling bud off one of our hens?”
It was a speedy little thing and it took a lot of dashing and “over here!”s and “no, wait! It’s over there!”s before Abe managed to catch it for us. We put it in a big cardboard box where it began leaping with all its might trying to get free, and Abe gathered grass and some chicken scratch and cut up grapes and water. We put it under a light (since Mike is always telling me how all those little wounded birds everyone is always trying to save die because they aren’t kept warm enough) and waited for Mike to come home. When he did, he promptly went out and bought two more ducklings. If the fates bless you with one . . . surely you should make it three? I guess?
But really, how? There are no ponds or streams for blocks. I can’t imagine a duckling that small could have made it blocks and blocks to our backyard. There’s a little duck pond by our local grocery store. I started thinking of stories of ships coming to the Americas bringing rats and other small stowaways here, and I decided that the duckling had clung to our bumper the last time we bought groceries. Haha.
However it actually came to be, I blame Mike. I’ve written before about the goat we once found tied to our mailbox. Farm creatures are attracted to Mike like magnets.
Summer loves shoes. Do all toddlers? Here. A departure from this post of cell pics for some Summer/shoe pics.
Also, if anyone wrongs her in any way: Mette gets to close to her toys, Daisy doesn’t give her a cookie, Jesse didn’t hear her ask him to turn on a show, etc. She comes to report to me that her sibling is “a meanie”. “Jesse a meanie, mom!” Everyone is perhaps too fond of it. Being called a meanie by little, angry Summer typically fills the offender with delight.
Mette has pretty much never eaten baby food. She has just always utterly despised any attempts to spoon feed her anything. It’s a great relief that she is finally old enough to feed herself with her little fingers – though she can still only eat the smallest and most easily swallowed things (and she still turns her nose up at many foods including bananas, cooked carrots, and peas). Goldie also seemed to skip the being spoon fed stage. Funny girls. Luckily . . . Mette hasn’t completely wasted away. Though certainly almost. . . .
I’ve been thinking about my mom lately – about all she’s done and all those she’s helped in her life. I feel so . . . proud of her and so anxious to do as well.
When I was young, I often recall her telling me about the drive she felt to have our large family. She felt, even without maybe fully realizing it, that it was part of her specific mission and life plan here. She’d come from a very small family and hadn’t had much experience with loads of babies and wild houses full of children, but she always had this vision in her mind of being in a lifeboat in the midst of tossing waves and a stormy sea. She felt compelled to pull as many of us out of the waves and into her little boat as possible.
Now, looking back over her life, I can see far greater symbolism in that image of my mom in the lifeboat – of her purpose being one of rescue. Not only the eleven children she brought into mortality to a home where they were loved and taught eternal truths, but the many friends who came to our home – some to live, and others just to be there – for rescuing and healing of some sort. Also, the large refugee families that she took in to live, some for years, in her already crowded and full house. Her many grandkids who have lived (and still live) – finding love and security -- in her home. And the countless ancestors and relatives whose names she has found and temple work she has had done.
Her entire life she has pulled one valuable soul after another from the relentless, and terrifying ocean waves – never hesitating because her lifeboat was small and likely a bit low on air and threatening to sink from the extra weight of each new addition.
But what strikes me the most about all of this is: never was it done or accomplished from a place of peace, quiet and ease, or even utterly clear sense of purpose. Most of the time she felt overwhelmed and wholly inadequate and unworthy and even failing. She had financial stresses, crying children, never-ending mess, heavy and time consuming church callings. Life was hectic – there were constant, necessary, and ordinary demands. I feel like this is the miracle of it, and why it is actually so beautiful. Her miracles and mission, her life lessons and gifts to others were accomplished while living messy, muddled, day-to-day life!
I have been pondering on this more and more frequently since Mette’s birth. Our living and learning and fulfilling our missions; our connecting and serving and helping and growing . . . they don’t get to happen very often in a quiet, sacred “time out” from mundane and stressful demands. They are simply happening. Right now. Always. With dirty dishes and crying babies, with allergies and illnesses. It’s so . . . hopeful to me. My mom didn’t see all the miraculousness of her life – all that she was truly doing – very often from day to day, but looking back? It’s astounding! It’s so beautiful. She has done what she came here on earth to do. The spirit has lead her and helped her and taught her – and helped so many through her – even while she was changing diapers and worrying about the family station wagon breaking down and trying to keep track of a bunch of wild girls at girls’ camp. I love that this is where our miracles happen and missions are accomplished – in the drudgery and work or everyday living.